March 12, 2011

For Better or Worse…….

“In prosperity our friends know us; in adversity we know our friends.”
   - John Churton Collins (1848-1908), English literary critic.

Read the above quote carefully. How do you interpret the meaning of what Mr. Collins is expressing? If you were to ask me, I would say that he was saying be faithful to those who are faithful to you in good times and bad times.

We have always said “It’s good business to do business with a member.” I believe it’s much better to do business with active members, and in this case, active associates

Our industry is just starting to ascend from the depths of the "Great Recession" and we have witnessed quite a bit of change. Unfortunately, that change was for the worse. The local and state HBAs that are making it through these extremely difficult times are doing so because of the passion from their active volunteers, the majority of which are associate members. Most builder members, who were active, have stepped back to attend to their businesses and rightfully so. Our associate members recognize this and, even though construction is limited, they are remain actively engaged with their HBA.

Other associates have stopped volunteering, stopped attending events, stopped sponsoring or simply cancelled their memberships because the building industry business opportunities has been "slim pickings." These associates will be back of course when times are better and expect to jump right back into the process of obtaining the builders' business once those opportunities to sell reappear.

And then there are the "other" associates within the National Association of Home Builders, who have remained active, have not abandoned their local or state associations because of the harsh reality of our economy. These ACTIVE associates are continuously attending committee meetings, fundraising and volunteering their time to make sure each association event is a success because they believe in the importance of the HBA.

“In prosperity our friends know us; in adversity we know our friends.”

Now you’re asking “what point is Mike trying to make by writing this post?” That’s easy to answer; I'm writing this post as a message in the hope that  all the builders, who believe in our federation, view our active associates, who remained faithful to our building industry, as true trade partners who did not abandon the builders association in our time of adversity.  Sometimes the need to highlight a certain viewpoint is needed and in this case, MAGNIFIED.

The builders association has to remain vibrant so when homes are needed to be built again we have the strength of the Federation to continue protecting our livelihoods from the next wave of housing industry obstacles and enemies. The only way it can remain vibrant, or close to vibrant as possible, is for our volunteers to remain engaged because they believe in the power of the HBA.

A great way for the builder members to say thank you to all the active associates, when the building industry starts to recover and homes are once again built or improved, is to give those active associates the opportunity to have the builders' business.

There may be some who are offended by this post. If that's the case, did I strike a nerve? Staying involved could be as little as two hours a month attending a committee. Or spending two hours a month calling for investments in the HBA. There really is no excuse not to have some involvement other than the lack of builder business opportunity. If that's what you're all about than I ask all those who value the HBA to consider this;

“In prosperity our associate members know us; in adversity we know our 'true' and active associate members.”

It's great business to do business with an ACTIVE member.

Submitted by: Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP
2011 NAHB Associate Members Committee Chair

1 comment:

Lenny said...

Mike I understand where you are coming from but I look at it a little different. If everyone used just active associates, we would lose more membership then we have lost now. It has been my experience that no matter what organization I belonged to only about 10% are active. Some are active in other things, some just do not see the value, others may not understand . Besides who decides who is active? We all know individuals who sign up on committees and may or may not show up, and it they do, never do any of the work. Some of these people take credit for what has been accomplished and are perceived to be active. I would much rather see everyone, builder and associate alike, get everyone they do business with to join, knowing that if we get 1000 new members using the 10% factor we have added an another 100 active members. We also have added the revenue we need to survive. In addition, we have added the numbers we need when we go to congress to discuss our issues.

I believe we all should be mentoring someone and explaining why they should become active. I know you have done this but I wondering how many others think about the whole or only look at it from their getting business. Having said that I must say that the truly active members I know, and respect, understand it is not just about doing business it is about surviving. They realize as bad as things are now they would be much worst if it was not for the association.

We all hate the free riders, but there will always be the givers and takers in life. The givers understand they are just another grain of sand on the beach but it takes ALL the grains to make a beach. So my question to everyone would be who are you mentoring and how many members have you brought in?