Yesterday was Election Day, so that begs an important question: should your association (or you as an association leader) endorse a candidate? It may seem like a question that’s a little out of bounds for some associations, but think about it. Associations look out for the best interests for the businesses they represent. That often involves political issues.
Obviously it's a little late to endorse a candidate today. But you know that the news cycle will reset in 24 hours and it'll be all about the big 2016 election (hopefully we'll have a little reprieve from the ads, though.) That gives you two years to think this through.
So should your association officially endorse a candidate? Here are some things to consider:
- Has your association endorsed political candidates in the past?
- If so, why?
- If not, why not or why did it stop?
- How do your members feel about politics?
- What does your national chapter (if any) do?
- What are the pros and cons?
It’s this last question that’s going to be a major deciding factor and help you find the ultimate answer. Although each association is different, here are some general pros and cons to endorsing a candidate for everyone!
Your endorsement today may lead to support from the candidate in the future of his or her career
May attract politically motivated and active members
Automatic networking with other supporters
May alienate some dissenting members
Your association may appear aligned with one party
Political candidates may make requests of members like time or money
Either way, elections are a great talking point for members if your association is so inclined to discuss such things. Your association may not even touch politics, though. That’s okay too! You are under no obligation to express any political leanings either way. But keep in mind that many associations do at least engage with the political process as candidates often touch on points that are of interest to members.
At the very least, politics are an interesting and timely discussion point and simply watching candidates debate an issue can be extremely stimulating conversation for your members. Keep in mind, though, that politics are dividing. You may have to agree to disagree!
Need help with other ways to engage members? Download our free guide to member engagement! It’s chock full of ideas to keep your members interested in your association and coming back for more. Click below today and start engaging!