(Note: Most states have a state HBA with only a handful being the exception. This post will concentrate on the three level membership but understand the benefits of NAHB will work with the two level membership.)

Last week’s post focused on the simple structure and lead purpose of the local HBA. This post will focus how your state HBA and NAHB interact with your local’s membership bringing the “voice of one, power of three” concept into reality.

Your state HBA’s lead purpose is advocacy. Advocacy is a description I have used for the local and now the state. I will use it again when we discuss NAHB because successful advocacy comes when members, builders AND associates, are united in the protection and growth of the building industry. The state HBA is similar in structure to the local HBA; officers lead by a builder member in the role of president and a board of directors made up primarily of builder members. This group of volunteers are individuals from each of the local HBAs throughout the state which gives the entire state’s perspective on initiatives designed for the benefit of the majority of all members. A take on the old saying “you can please some of the people some of the time, but you can`t please all the people all of the time” is very appropriate here. In some cases, members at the state level will disagree on certain steps or direction. It’s OK to disagree but if you do, have a valid argument! The idea is that once a vote on a course of action has taken place the board members should now unite behind the cause and bring unity to the local HBAs.

The reason for a state HBA? I described it as advocacy but advocacy only works with the power of one voice. Individually, members can visit their state legislators but they are viewed as individuals. But the collective working as one brings attention and the passionate collective brings change. Some locals opt to work separately from their state when it comes to lobbying but, as right as they think they are, they are wrong by not working as one for the entire building industry. Coalitions only work if all parties agree to work together. The state HBA is, in a way, a coalition of local HBAs.

The state HBA also offers a great way to expand your social capital and business contacts. Through state HBA involvement you will also learn about the building industry from an entire state’s perspective with that perspective including, but not limited to, possible trends either legislatively and/or regulatory, that could be found in different sections of the state. “That’s a northern territory issue has no impact on the coast” would be an example of one part of the state being under “attack” while other sections don’t view it as a threat. One day your area will be under “attack;” wouldn’t it be fantastic to have the whole state in corner? You see, the voice of one brings the awareness, the passion of that one brings the awareness into a victory for all. I can’t stress this enough; advocacy + unity = success.

The National Association is similar in structure to the local and state HBAs. They have officers, all of which are builders, and a board of directors made up primarily of builders. This group of volunteers, just like the make up of state utilizing local members, is made up of leaders from all the United States and Puerto Rico. These leaders are from your very local. NAHB has, as do some state HBAs and local HBAs, an executive board which is much smaller than the actual national board. A lot of work is done through the executive board delivering a more streamlined “product” to the national board for guidance and direction then action. The purpose of NAHB? Unity, which brings the power of one voice through out the country, more importantly and with pinpoint accuracy, within the halls of congress. Meaning……… ADVOCACY.

One more time; advocacy + unity = success.

As you can see from last week through today, your membership brings you the most important action which safeguards your career, your business, your family and your employees families; the ability to work with and help educate the legislators, at the local, state and national levels, that could derail your chosen profession. By your self you couldn’t even begin to make a progress let alone an impact. It would be like trying to raise the ocean levels with an occasional drop of water.

The “Voice of One, Power of Three” mechanism, if embraced by you, is an exciting ride and the cost of a membership should be viewed as the cost of doing business in the most regulated industry in America. That cost becomes an investment for you personally due to the efforts, on your behalf, of the actively engaged leaders and professional staff, at all three levels,

I left out, in these first two posts, committees which are a necessary and a vital part of the structure of all three levels of your HBA membership. Next week’s posts will we will talk about starting your involvement and committees will be included with what their purpose(s) mean to you and the HBA.

Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP
2011 NAHB Associate Members Committee Chair
Director of Trade Association Relations, ProBuild