Associations did not originate in America, but they have come to play a unique and critical role in our democracy. Virtually every profession and industry in the U.S. is represented by one or more associations. Associations provide invaluable services, including continuing professional education, advocacy, development of standards, research and public safety. Associations exemplify the importance of unity and collaboration, especially during challenging times. Moreover, associations are a strong force in our economy, employing approximately 1.6 million people nationwide. And that’s not all – association members are noted for their charity. Almost 45 percent of association members reported volunteering their time in the past year.

Because of their important roles in our society, most associations have been recognized by Congress and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for more than a century as tax-exempt organizations.

My columns usually focus on ASA, particularly strides we are making in developing programs and services. This...

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