How Associations Power America

More than 1.9 million U.S.-based organizations were recognized in 2009. Of these organizations, 90,908 were classified as 501(c)(6) trade or professional associations, and 1,238,201 were classified as 501(c)(3) charities, foundations or religious organizations.

Keeping America Competitive

  • Associations employed more than 1.6 million people in all 50 states in 2009; 1.2% of the private sector workforce in the U.S. works for an association.
  • Associations create jobs in every state, with employment highest in California, New York, Illinois, Florida and Pennsylvania.
  • Nearly 1 in 10 workers in Washington, DC is employed by an association.

Impacting the Economy

  • Associations generate a payroll of over $47 billion.
  • The average 2007 wage nationally for associations was $40,250. The average wage for trade and professional associations was $58,500.
  • Associations provide insurance and benefits coverage to employees.  Over 76% of associations provide insurance coverage to their employees, according to the ASAE Compensation & Benefits survey.
  • For associations offering a PPO, they pay an average of 90% of their employees’ health care premiums, and 53% of dependents health care premiums.
  • For associations offering an HMO, they pay an average of 88% of their employee’s health care premiums and 51% of dependents health care premiums.
  • Over the next year, almost 94% of surveyed association members anticipate their employment situation will remain the same (70.2%) or be better (23.5%).
  • Associations are major contributors to the meetings industry, holding meetings and seminars across the country.  The meetings industry accounts for 1.7 million jobs nationwide and generates $263 billion in spending, money that funds local and national economies. (“The Economic Impact of Meetings, Conventions, Exhibitions, and Incentive Travel,” Convention Industry Council, 2011)
  • Association executives anticipate member spending on meeting attendance and purchasing will increase in the next year, driving more money into the economy.
  • The likelihood of association members attending a meeting more than 50 miles from their office is anticipated to increase next year: almost 44% of surveyed professionals anticipate an increase in miles traveled to meetings and more than a quarter are reporting they will travel the same number of miles.

Enriching Lives

  • Association members contribute their time: Over 90% of association members in ASAE’s Decision to Volunteer study reported having volunteered within their organization in the past year.
  • Associations are seeing an increase in the number of members volunteering, going from 31.9% to 44.8% over the past year.
  • Thirty percent of the people who volunteer their time do so through an association.
  • Associations members are more likely to volunteer for organizations in which they are involved than non-association members: half of association respondents to an ASAE survey volunteer for one or two organizations, and the other half volunteer for three or more.
  • Association members contribute money: Association members are more likely than the general public to give to charities every year – 84% of the respondents in ASAE’s Decision to Give study reported charitable giving compared to 70% of the general public.
  • Associations were responsible for $50 billion worth of volunteer time, using the Independent Sector number that an hour of volunteer time is worth $20.85 to the economy.

Preparing for the Future

  • Associations conduct research the helps members keep pace with the global marketplace and equip the next generation of leaders with the skills to manage into the future.
  • Associations create industry certifications and standards of quality, ethics, sustainability and safety.
  • Through forums (face-to-face and digital), association members discuss problems and develop solutions.
  • Association executives plan to offer more online education in the future, according to ASAE research.  ASAE member CEOs have seen an increase from 39.3% to 56.8% in the number of members participating in BOTH in-person and online education.

Greater Washington Impact

  • Almost one in 10 private sector employees in DC work for an association.
  • Of the over 3,000 nonprofit organizations within city limits, over one-fourth are a trade, membership, or professional associations.
  • Associations help the local economy through meetings and conventions.  In 2010, nine of the 10 largest meetings in the city (as judged by number of hotel rooms used) are nonprofit meetings; these nine nonprofits were expected to use 443,313 room nights in the city.  Within the next twenty years, nine of the ten largest private meetings to be held in DC will also be held by nonprofits, according to Destination DC. Destination DC 2009 Visitors Statistics
  • On a state-by-state basis, Washington, DC-based associations paid the highest annual average wage in 2007, at $77,500. Virginia was second at $56,400 and New York third, at $51,500.
  • DC trade and professional association wages were also ranked first, paying an average of $90,400 in 2007, compared to a private sector average wage of $65,423.

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