PAC bucks trend, reports membership highs

WASHINGTON: While other PR industry associations are publicly hemorrhaging money and members, the Public Affairs Council (PAC) has announced record-breaking enrollment numbers, meaning that it is now enjoying its highest membership levels ever.

WASHINGTON: While other PR industry associations are publicly hemorrhaging money and members, the Public Affairs Council (PAC) has announced record-breaking enrollment numbers, meaning that it is now enjoying its highest membership levels ever.

WASHINGTON: While other PR industry associations are publicly hemorrhaging money and members, the Public Affairs Council (PAC) has announced record-breaking enrollment numbers, meaning that it is now enjoying its highest membership levels ever.

As of February 21, the council reported its total members at 631. Last year, it recruited its highest number of members ever, 114, and despite losing 75 organizations, still ended up with the highest net gain in PAC history at 39.

President Doug Pinkham attributes the growth to both internal and environmental factors. 'We're very feedback-oriented,' he said. 'Instead of creating programs and trying to sell them to members, we ask what they want and aren't afraid to axe old programs and add new ones.'

As for outside influences, Pinkham said, 'With the 50/50 Congress right now, everything is right on the fence and public affairs is more important than ever.' He also believes that more companies are discovering the value of a 'comprehensive approach' to PR and government relations: 'You can have a great sales project and a great product, but if you're marketing in a hostile environment, you're going to have a hard time.'

An unprecedented number of mergers, acquisitions and restructurings, however, has led to the loss of many members due to overlap. But that loss has been offset by large numbers of new trade associations coming on board. 'Trade associations are a growing percentage of our membership,' said Pinkham. 'They're also struggling a bit because of mergers, and they need to know about state-of-the-art public affairs techniques.'

See Letters, page 12.



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