Your association’s name is so much more than a business card. Many of you already are in, and are leading, established associations with titles that are years, sometimes decades, old. This blog is still for you. You never know when your association will go through a rebranding, which could go a long way in upping membership numbers (standby for a blog about that in the future.)
So here are some things to consider when naming your association!
Location, location, location.
Many associations choose to include their region as part of their association title, and this is particularly true for chapters that are off-shoots from a larger, national group. For example, are you a member of the Oregon Mung Bean Growers Alliance, a state group representing the National Mung Bean Growers Alliance?
Even if you aren’t a state or local chapter, perhaps a large part of your association’s mission focuses on your geographic area. Neighborhood watches, for example, are established to protect the safety of one specific area. The Conservation Effort to Protect Virginia’s Swamps cares about and sympathizes for Louisiana’s swamps, I’m sure, but the main focus and mission is Virginia’s swamps.
But one thing to consider: would including a region in your title ever inhibit you? Would it limit your membership or exclude some interested parties? What about expanding one day?
Alliance, association, circle, council, federation, foundation, fraternity, institute, league, society, group, club and all of those other thesaurus words.
Really, there’s a million words for an assembly (there’s another one) of people with something in common, which basically defines “association.” What defines your group? Keep in mind gender assumptions, too. Even though “fraternity” could technically refer to a group of women as well, would people assume you mean a group of men?
How do you describe yourself?
Bee keepers. Bee nurturers. Apiculture Enthusiast. Honey and wax cultivator. How would your members describe themselves, and how would you describe your association’s members to the rest of the world? This is a BIG decision, because it essentially gives your members an identity. “I am a bee keeper, therefore I belong to the Bee Keepers Society of North Podunk” says one thing, and “I am a Apiculture Enthusiast, therefore I am a member of the Apiculture Appreciation Federation” says the same thing, but SOUNDS different.
Watch the acronym!
Remember that the association world is a bowl of Alphabits. If you are the American Society of Specialized Egg Specialists (I know, it’s repetitive, bear with me for the example) you might want to think about reordering your acronym. Think about it.
Although you might not be at a point where your association is considering a rebranding or a name change, this is always great information to keep on the back burner of your brain. Offshoots, rebranding, and new associations pop up all the time! Good luck designing that letterhead!