The International Franchise Association − We Are Being Heard
The franchise industry is slowly and steadily coming out of what many economists and political commentators consider to be one of the most challenging economic and public policy climates our country has experienced since the Great Depression. When I came on board June 1, 2010, the association was committed to the priorities set forth in its well-crafted, Strategic Plan: government relations and public policy, media and public relations, and education and professional development. Those priorities are still driving us today, as they should. I believed at the time, as I do now, that a key way to achieve these goals is to become even more aggressive in reminding policymakers at both the federal and state levels, as well as our colleagues in the lending community and the media, that the franchise industry is, and will continue to be, an economic force and proven job creator in the United States and global economy. That commitment will never, ever, waiver on my watch.
Our members can be assured that their association will continue to work tirelessly toward the goal of implementing pro-growth, business-related priorities to help each and every one of them succeed during this still uneven, fragile, economic recovery. Whether its urging lawmakers to change the definition in the Affordable Care Act for a full-time worker from 30 to the more traditional, 40-hours-per week, supporting immigration reform proposals for low-skilled workers and enhanced employer safeguards for employment verification, or fighting franchise legislation in California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania, IFA members are rightfully realizing the return on their investment in their association on a daily basis.
I used to say that IFA fought above its weight class. We are now champions in that weight class. We’ve moved into the upper-echelon of business trade associations, without question. Our success as leaders in the franchise and small-business community is due in large part to the growing membership campaign we have executed over the past several years. This effort has been led by IFA’s Senior Vice President of U.S. & International Development, Scott Lehr, CFE, his dedicated team and the IFA Membership Committee. Of special note, the new IFA Membership Recruitment Award, most recently given to Dave Hood of iFranchise Group, has inspired our steadfastly-committed volunteer leadership to communicate with their industry peers about the true meaning and value of IFA membership.
The power of IFA’s advocacy efforts on behalf of the industry is based on a strong, consistent and collective voice across all three major segments of our membership − franchisees, franchisors and suppliers. As our membership ranks continue to grow, so too does our influence on the issues of importance to the members we represent. The numbers speak for themselves. Since 2010, IFA has realized a 22 percent increase in franchisor membership, a 21 percent increase in supplier membership, and a 4 percent increase in franchisee membership. At the end of 2013, IFA’s membership numbers are at the highest level in the association’s history: 1,272 franchisor, 12,524 franchisee and 659 supplier members!
With committed volunteer leaders serving on our membership committee effectively getting out the word to the franchise community about the benefits awarded to our members, IFA remains poised to continue to grow year after year. Thank you for your continued support of IFA and our great industry. It is so appreciated.