On Capitol Hill, numbers are significant, from the number of cosponsors for a particular piece of legislation; to the cost of a proposal; to the number of letters, emails, and calls received on a specific subject. Congress also responds to numbers when it comes to the number of votes needed to be re-elected, and to the magnitude of the excitement in their states and districts on an issue that has come to the fore. In fact, members of Congress often ask our AFSA Headquarters legislative team how many members we represent. Why?
Without question, those associations/organizations with larger membership bases get more attention. They have greater access and influence, more readily get appointments to speak to key officials, receive more testimony opportunities, and are more sought out by Senators and Representatives to clarify important issues. Perhaps this is because members of Congress feel the larger associations more fully reflect the sentiment of the voters. Maybe it is because greater membership indicates that more people think the way they do. It could be that elected officials gauge that the larger associations more accurately mirror the needs of the military and veteran communities. Whatever the reason, without question, the larger an association, the more impact it will have.
AFSA currently has a little over 100,000 members. Considering who can be an AFSA member, we have only tapped about one-tenth of the pool of possible members. We need the help of every AFSA member to help us grow, to have greater influence, and to be better able to persuade Congress to support those matters that translate into a better quality of life for our members, their families, and their survivors. Please make a personal commitment to help us get that done.
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