Remembering what NAID is all about

August 9, 2012

By Bob Johnson, NAID CEO

NAID has one mission: to promote the proper destruction of discarded information by outsourcing to a qualified service provider. That’s it. In service of that mission, NAID engages in a wide range of activities such as producing publications, holding conferences, commissioning research, speaking at industry events and advocating for regulations.

The concept is anything but new or unique. Every industry worth its salt has a trade association made up of organized industry professionals and companies. There are things that need improving in the industry that can only be done by pooling resources and concentrating expertise.

Of course, nothing happens without economic resources and the source of those resources fall into two major categories: membership dues and programs. Usually, only about 30 percent of trade associations’ revenue comes from membership dues and NAID is no exception. The rest comes from initiatives and programs like certification, conferences, sales tools and advertising sales.

Often there are for-profit organizations within an industry that offer these same things. The difference, however, is that those companies put the profits in their pocket. NAID gives them back to the industry and the IRS makes sure of it. And, in a very legal sense, members must be solely in charge of determining the association’s goals and how that money is spent.

Here are three principles I would like members to keep in mind:

  1. It is simply inaccurate to think of NAID as anything other than a collection of your colleagues. For the most part, the board is made of companies just like yours and they want the same things you do. You might not agree with every decision these 13 colleagues make but nevertheless they are your representatives. Often, they even disagree with each other. But that’s just how things work in the real world.
  2. Whether you are a service provider or a vendor, every penny you have given to NAID went toward activities and projects to promote the industry. Only about 30 percent goes to pay NAID’s 12 full-time staff members – an acceptable association norm. But even then, everyone one of those people come to work every day to execute the directives of the board of directors, who themselves are simply acting under the authority of the membership who elected them.
  3. Since NAID is just a collection of destruction service providers, industry vendors who support NAID are actually supporting the service providers’ customers. There are several other, very good, for-profit promotional outlets, none of which turn their profits to the betterment of your business. Please keep this in mind, and whenever you get the chance, thank those vendors who continue to support your trade association and your business.