As I See It...
By James E. Lee
(From Newsletter No. 52)

 

Since I have been elected president of our national trade association, the American Stamp Dealers Association, I will be giving up my “The Dealer’s Viewpoint” column in our monthly magazine, “The American Stamp Dealer and Collector.” Instead, I will be writing the “The View from Here” (Presidents column) which is found at the beginning of the magazine. However, I was able to negotiate with our editor one last column which will appear in the September issue.

The Value of Membership in the ASDA

While I say goodbye to this page in the magazine you will now find my thoughts and ideas under the heading of “The View from Here (Presidents column) on page five. However I was able to negotiate one last hooray from our editor. My last column sets the stage for the future of this page. In the coming months this page will feature the writing of members of our Association. The focus will be on the importance of membership and the value of the Association to the hobby.

This magazine is published 10 times each year and is sent to nearly 500 ASDA members and roughly 4,500 subscribers. In three short years it has become the standard for commercial philatelic publications in the hobby. The name has evolved from the American Stamp Dealer to the American Stamp Dealer & Collector. The name change reflects the basic component of our hobby, the dealer and the collector. One cannot exist without the other. On the pages of this magazine you find articles written by dealers and collectors alike. The tremendous acceptance of our magazine by the collecting public provides a foundation and unique opportunity upon which to build our Association.

The challenge before the new Board of Directors will be to develop tangible benefits for our members. We must provide benefits that will help us to become better and more successful as dealers, increased opportunities to reach the collecting public, and hopefully ways to improve our bottom line. Our magazine is a springboard to these benefits. There have been articles both on stamp dealing and understanding the complexities of some of the more difficult U.S. stamp issues. We reach the serious collector. That is our bread and butter. Our advertisers are limited to ASDA members. These three alone should be worth the cost of your annual membership.

Strengthening our national trade association will come about as a result of growing and strengthening our membership. To achieve this goal we will be looking to develop programs that will provide our members with the opportunity to grow their bottom-line.

Improving our existing shows and bringing back regional shows will put us on the path to that goal but this will only affect about 10 percent of our membership. Providing an Internet presence with “virtual ecommerce stores” has the potential to impact about 75 percent of our members. Together they provide a real dollar payback on one’s membership.

However, let’s also look at an intangible reason for membership. This one you can’t spend, touch or feel. It is a reason we often overlook and it is the one we must continue to pound home day in and day out in order to build the brand. The ethics statement that you signed when you became a member is the backbone of our association. It is a set of principles by which each of us conducts our business. We must continually reaffirm to the collecting public the importance and value of doing business with an ASDA member. As members we are held accountable for our actions. The association has in place a process for handling and resolving disputes. This process has worked effectively over the years. In fact I have asked our legal consul, Christopher Houlihan to write about it for the October issue.

In the coming months you will see articles on benefits that you already receive but have either taken for granted or have just plain forgotten about. Your comments and ideas are always welcome. Better yet, if you want to get involved in building and growing the ASDA, please contact me at: jim@jameslee.com or call: 847-462-9130.


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