“ADVOCATE” It is just a word, but oh does it have such important meaning.
I’ll come back to that in a few moments. Last month at the State Convention in Richland I was elected your President for the 2013/2014 NAIFA year. I am happy to serve in this capacity and I plan to have a very successful year in several areas but today I am going to speak about advocacy. You might be thinking that has to do with calling, emailing, writing and visiting our state and national legislators. You would be correct most of the time but now I am going to broaden the scope of the word and its significance to our profession, our association and our clients.
NAIFA’s mission statement reads: The mission of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors is to advocate for a positive legislative and regulatory environment, enhance business and professional skills, and promote the ethical conduct of our members.
NAIFA is using the word advocate as a verb which according to Webster means “to plead in favor of.” Of course we are in favor of and plead for the benefit of our industry and our clients in encouraging positive action from our legislators. But I think it is equally or more important to view the word in its definition as a noun. Webster says: 1. One that pleads the cause of another, specifically one that pleads the cause of another before a tribunal or judicial court. 2. One that defends or maintains a case or proposal. 3. One that supports or promotes the trust of another.
I see a remarkable correlation between the mission statement and these definitions. NAIFA leadership is smart. As NAIFA members we are professionals that pay our dues, which is critical to the organization’s existence, and aspire to the code of ethics in everything we do. Please take a few moments and read the Code of Ethics if you have it proudly framed and displayed in your office, or go online to NAIFA.org to read them and or order a copy suitable for framing.
I submit to you that we all become “Advocates.” We all, and I mean “all” need to advocate for our profession through contacts with legislators when asked or even when not asked. Advocate for our profession in the general public to bring about a greater appreciation for what we do to help people and the community at large. We need to advocate for our association through education such as LUTC to promote the skills needed to adequately support our clients, and our own families as well. We need to advocate for our association by increasing membership numbers. We should all be aware of the struggles membership organizations have been facing for many years now. Some have gone by the wayside and some are hanging by a thread. Ours is solvent and strong, and as you should also know, the most significant force in Washington DC. We all, not just the 20% of us, need to bring in at least one new member this year. It seems like an easy thing to accomplish but I and you know how it goes. We think, “I’ll call on so and so this week about NAIFA” and then a month later say the same thing and before we know it a year has gone by. Please carry a membership app with you or when stopping by to see someone about NAIFA go online right in their office to get them to join on the spot. We know human nature in that the person saying “ I’ll get to it later” means well but doesn’t get to it. I have an app with me so if we can’t go online I’ll have them fill it out right then and fax it in when back in my office.
I thank you “NAIFA Member Advocates” in advance for your commitment to building your profession and your association. Let’s work together for the common good and remember, “IT PAYS TO BE A MEMBER”
Kevin Gleim, LUTCF, FICF