Numbers are not everything, but when it comes to delivering more services and value to our members and having a stronger voice to represent them on key issues, they are important. With that thought in mind, the PLANET board has formed a task force to study the feasibility of extending PLANET membership to members of state associations.
This thought is not new. In fact, we have recently conducted trials with a couple of state associations, the results of which prompted the formation of the five-person task force made up of PLANET members. The task force will determine what it would take to form a confederation of PLANET members, composed of state association members and current PLANET members. Depending on its progress, we anticipate an initial report by the end of October during our Green Industry Conference (GIC) in Louisville, Ky.
Expanding membership to state groups is something other national associations have done successfully. So, it’s not unreasonable to think we can accomplish the feat if our state partners and our members are all in agreement.
No doubt, there will be political and financial obstacles to overcome, but already, state associations are among our strongest partners, and the task force will help determine if we can work together to strengthen an already great working relationship. Joint membership represents tremendous benefits and accessibility to all of PLANET’s resources.
Our membership numbers are up, which reflect optimism about the economy. Yet, when asked what their biggest challenge is today, new and veteran PLANET members alike will put government regulation and public relations with strong consumer messaging right up there with a weak housing market and Mother Nature.
As an association, we cannot control the economy and certainly have no say in what Mother Nature conjures up. But, we can have an impact on what policymakers are doing. It takes numbers, though, to effectively get our message across to them. If PLANET were to represent 30,000 to 40,000 landscape professionals instead of 3,500 to 4,000, policymakers would have to be more respectful of our concerns. That alone is reason enough to form a task force and consider expanding our partnership with state associations.
PLANET President Norman Goldenberg, Landscape Industry Certified Technician