Association Maximization Part 3: “Define Your Objectives”

Association Maximization Part 3: “Define Your Objectives”

Let’s start this post by defining your objectives within the HBA. You start by incorporating what you learned in the first two posts about the true purpose of any level of the HBA and that is that the HBA is a watchdog association that speaks with one voice. That one voice is needed for the HBA’s true purpose; advocacy. You may ask yourself the question “why should I care about advocacy?” If your career depends on the home building and remodeling industry for any or all of your income the question I would have for you is “why don’t you care.” This first paragraph is extremely important as you define your objectives and maximizing your HBA investment.

Getting involved will help you with getting connected. This should absolutely be your first objective. Your first time to an HBA event will most likely be a general membership (GM) meeting. GM meetings are networking events. People come together to listen to a speaker or panel. There generally is a stated purpose to each GM meeting but the unspoken, but “make no mistake about it,” reason is for members to network with members. Your objective at any of these GM meetings is to market, NOT SELL. Yes, you are in sales and if you understand sales you know that cold calling is no fun. That’s how you will be perceived if you try to “push product;” as that sales guy or women. You will most certainly alienate yourself from those at the meeting and your chance to have opportunities to sell later will be harder or non existent. The only time it’s acceptable to sell at a GM meeting is if it’s a “Meet the Builder Night” type of event or an Associate Expo. I would advise your objective at these two types of events to be professional, know your audience and be prepared to gain the builders attention in 60 seconds or less.

Regardless of the GM’s purpose your next objective is to market yourself and your company and that’s starts with dressing professionally (or for the stated dress for the event), limit the alcohol consumption and be respectful of others engaged in conversation and never monopolize others’ time.

Let’s discuss more of the structure of the HBA. We have explained that there is a board of directors and officers at all three levels of the HBA. Other structured groups would include committees and councils which are designed for three areas of HBA need:

  1. Fund raising
  2. Legal and legislative
  3. Planning

Fundraising could include, but not limited to, golf outings, fishing tournaments, boxing nights or any other event that is fun, brings out members and guests and is designed to foster networking and camaraderie. Special events committee, such as trade shows, are also considered fundraising. When you look closely at the real need for these types of events the reason becomes clearer from an HBA perspective. The net profit generated from these events goes towards the operating expense of the HBA. Factor in the reason for the HBA you can now see that these events are needed to help protect the industry while offering more ways to engage your fellow members.

A great way to be involved, for the right reasons, is to join a committee designed for fundraising. Be actively engaged as a volunteer give you three things you wouldn’t get otherwise;

  1. a chance to develop friendships that can help you with introductions
  2. be highlighted as a volunteer for the HBA
  3. have builders notice you for your dedication

Another objective; join a committee to start your HBA involvement.

Legislative and legal committees are fantastic schools for industry education. Think about it for a moment……… you are in committee meetings that are discussing situations that could impact the building industry. There is no better place to find out how your career could be affected and if you’re a business owner it can only help you with your own company’s business planning. Political action committees (PACs) are the lifeblood, if you believe that advocacy is the true purpose of the HBA, of any level of HBA. These PACs, along with the one voice of the passionate HBA, go along way in deciding the building industry’s future based on what is happening legislatively. Another objective would be to get involved legislatively. In places you in the heart of the HBA’s purpose and its engaged members.

At this point your objectives should be a bit clearer as you navigate the HBA. This may be all you want from your HBA investment and believe me when I say this, the information in this chapter, if utilized properly, will bring you an amazing return on your investment. If you’d like to go further, having leadership as an objective, then you have to incorporate the information here into your HBA plan.

Planning committees that are designed for leaders within the association to deal with strategic plans or any other type of planning designed for long term growth of the HBA. Leaders in the association come from, in most cases, committee chairs, board members and/or officers. It is here, at these levels within the HBA, that the course of the HBA is charted. Being involved here brings you different perspectives, from different members, that can/should help you with your own long term planning.

All three levels of the HBA have committees and depending at which level you’ll notice the emphasis will change. Broad stroke overview of the state and NAHB you will find a higher concentration of legal, land use, environmental and public relations just to name a few. The state’s focus is on the over all membership of that particular state’s issues while national will take the country as a whole.

When all is said and done, the member who has utilized the HBA, not used, has had many returns on the yearly investment. Your overall objective should be “association first, my business second.” If you follow that one objective, the other objectives will fall in to place.

The next blog article will focus on practical strategies in developing relationships with builders AND associates.

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

Association Maximization Part 2:  “Voice of One, Power of Three”

Association Maximization Part 2: “Voice of One, Power of Three”

(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

Association Maximization Part 1: Why Are You a Member of the Home Builders Association?

Association Maximization Part 1: Why Are You a Member of the Home Builders Association?

(Note: The most important thing to remember over the next several weeks is that the information I’m sharing with you is not mine. It belongs to the countless members I have watched over the years be very successful with their own HBA involvement. Association Maximization will only help you if you understand and believe in what I’’m sharing with you in these series of posts. In the beginning my reasons for joining were different from what I’m asking you to have faith in now. Know that I’m speaking with you from the collected knowledge that 25 plus years as a member has given me. That is an extreme advantage if we were having a debate. In this case it is you who will have an extreme advantage because you will learn to maximize your investment in the HBA and this will help you with business opportunities that you would not normally have if you weren’t a member. The first part to Association Maximization is really a refresher. Most members tend to forget the real reason for being a member. While there are other reasons that might seem more important to different individuals, and those other reasons have benefits as well, the core mission of the home builders association is the following in Part 1.)

To understand why you’re a member of the Home Builders Association (HBA) I first have to begin with the question “what is the HBA and why is it important?” In the simplest of statements the HBA is an organization that has two types of memberships; builder and associate. The builder member is made up of multiple disciplines; Single family home builder, multi-family home builder (i.e. apartments), mixed use builder, commercial builder and remodeler. The associate member likewise has many disciplines that fall under three categories; Supplier, service provider and trade contractor. The staff of the HBA is an executive officer (possibly one or more staff members as well) with the volunteer leadership consisting of a board of directors and a group of officers, with a president as the lead, all of whom are members of the HBA. There are bylaws that dictate the make up of the board of directors and officers with the majority of both groups consisting of builder members. The president, and the officer positions that form the leadership ladder, are builders. What is the reason for the majority being builders? This is a builders association. The builders are the ones who are actually building. Builders are the ones who are dealing with all the “red tape” that comes with construction projects. Associates are individuals or companies that take part in the construction or renovation process.

The leading purpose of any HBA is for the organization to protect the interests of the building industry through the efforts of staff and engaged members. What are the threats that the HBA is protecting us from? The list is too long and too confusing (government is involved after all) but, through legislation and regulatory mandates, the efforts of the HBA help keep the members’ business doors open. Ask your executive officer for a list of HBA led initiatives and how each could impact building. Builders have a great understanding of the regulations and legislation that could impact their business. Associates understand to a certain degree but the most important point for an associate to understand; if ‘it’ affects builders ‘it’ will affect associates.

That is the “what and why.” It’s very important for all to understand that, while there are other reasons for joining the HBA, the pure benefit is for the opportunity to keep working as a builder which provides the associate opportunities to sell. “If ‘it’ affects builders ‘it’ will affect associates” is just not a catch phrase it is reality. That is why, when you write your check or have it charged to a credit card, the money you spend for a membership should be viewed as an investment. If you plan on continuing your career in the building industry, or if any of part of your business is connected to the building industry, you need the support of an HBA.

When you join the HBA you gain access to your state home builders association and The National Association of Home Builders. Your membership investment is a three-in-one investment. The state HBA and NAHB both have the same core mission as the local HBA. The power of state and NAHB comes from the local HBAs because all memberships are local. You can’t be just a member of NAHB and you can’t go solo outside NAHB and the local HBA with a direct state membership. You join a local HBA first, the rest are part of your membership investment.

Next week we will talk about the local HBA and its interaction with the state HBA and NAHB. Most states have a state association, but for those of you who might not have one, don’t worry; this doesn’t affect your membership with NAHB.

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

Editor’s Note: reprinted with the author’s permission

HBA President’s Holiday Reception is December 14

HBA President’s Holiday Reception is December 14

Your HBA of Greenville will host its annual President’s Holiday Reception Tuesday, December 14.

What: President’s Holiday Reception
When: Tuesday, December 14, 5:30 p.m.
Where: Dillard-Jones/Southern Living House, Claremont

Each year our association members gather to enjoy the season together. This event is a remake of the old Year-End Party. The event is no charge to members thanks to our generous sponsors. Members will be able to socialize and network together, enjoy heavy hors d’oeuvres, beverages (adult and otherwise), and celebrate the season together.

Don’t miss this opportunity to tour the Dillard-Jones/Southern Living House, decorated for the holiday season. And don’t miss this opportunity to thank outgoing President Tom Dillard, CGP, and the rest of the 2010 Board of Directors, for their service to the Home Builders Association of Greenville.

To register, please click on this link.

Please also thank our sponsors:

If “it” affects a builder “it” will affect an Associate

My name is Michael Kurpiel and I am currently serving as NAHB’s National Associate Chairman. I am writing to for a specific reason; I need the help of associate members of the HBA throughout the Federation.

I am requesting for any and all associates, who are experiencing loss of builder business due to the Acquisition, Development, and Construction Lending crisis or appraisals, to share with me any stories you may have that demonstrate the effect that restrictions on lending to Home Builders have had on your businesses. We need to demonstrate to those in power in Washington, DC, that it is not just the builders who are affected, it is the ENTIRE building industry.

Please email me, or the Executive Director of your local HBA, with all information you can share about how the downturn in Home Building has affected your business. I will take all stories you share to NAHB staff in Government Affairs and Public Affairs.

I know how much stress you are all under and that stress is directly tied to lack of building. With the strength of two thirds of our Federation’s members fully behind our builder members, we can move towards a better tomorrow.


Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP
Director of Trade Association Relations

National Associate Chairman
National Association of Home Builders