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COMMENT: Dwindling Industry Organization Participation

Posted: November 13, 2007

I’ve just learned that, in all likelihood, a struggling Midwestern F&F industry organization* will fold after more than a century of service. The news highlights what is a trend across all professions: dwindling membership and participation in industry/professional organizations.

At a recent Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association meeting, attendance in committee meetings at times broke all-time attendance records. In addition, the group boasts a growing membership base. The increase can in part be attributed to the rising importance of regulatory issues, though a professionalized staff is likely a factor as well. Still, volunteer organizations also are managing very successful events by addressing hot topics: for instance, last week’s Women in Flavor and Fragrance Commerce summit focusing on the greening of F&F was heavily attended.

Many volunteer F&F organizations have suffered shrinking or stagnant industry attendance, though new groups and affiliates do spring up from time to time. Industry gatherings consistently compete with ever-busier schedules and (at times) a lack of a coherent mission. In short, the value of organizational participation (peer-to-peer interaction, education, etc.) is either not being consistently communicated or, possibly, not being delivered.

We want to hear from you. Send us your thoughts about the value of industry organizations:

  • Do you attend more or fewer events than you did in previous years?
  • What is the value in participation?
  • Is your geographic region sufficiently represented by an industry organization?

*which shall remain nameless until final confirmation