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Association Forum

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The Association Forum is a government sector lobbying association in Illinois. The organization's mission is to "advance the professional practice of association management." The organization considers itself an innovator in Web 2.0 and social media and is composed of 47,000 association professionals in the Chicagoland area whose collective efforts serve more than 37 million members worldwide and generate $22 billion in global annual expenditures.[1]

Taxpayer-funded lobbying

Main article: Illinois government sector lobbying

The Association Forum has a registered lobbyist with the Illinois Secretary of State, in order to lobby the Illinois state legislature. Local governments, like Jo Daviess County, pay membership dues to the organization.[2]

Income and expenses

Association Forum
Year Total expenses Total income Membership dues
(included in Total income)
2007[3] $3,963,207 $4,252,664 $619,120
2006[4] $3,523,804 $4,085,715 $641,719
2005[5] $3,538,454 $3,770,989 $652,471

Note: Tax years begin April 1 and end March 31.


The Association Forum has stances on policy issues. The Association Forum of Chicagoland focuses action on legislative or regulatory matters that directly affect or may directly affect a majority of Chicagoland associations based on the principles mentioned on its website.[6]


There are four levels of membership. These are:[7]

  • Chief Executive Officer - $325.00
  • Association Professional - $245.00
  • Supplier Partner - $395.00
  • Student - $38.00


The Association Forum gives three awards annually. The Samuel B. Shapiro Award for Chief Executive Officer Achievement is the highest honor the Association Forum bestows on an association professional and is presented to a Chief Executive Officer for outstanding service and accomplishments in association/nonprofit management. The John C. Thiel Distinguished Service Award is presented for outstanding service to the Association Forum by an individual association or supplier partner member. This award has been presented for exceptional, long-term volunteer service to the Association Forum. The Association Professional Achievement Award is presented to an association professional member (not a Chief Executive Officer) for exemplary service and outstanding accomplishments in association management. Lastly, the Exemplary Staff Leadership Award is presented to an association professional in recognition of the individual’s dedication to the development and professional enhancement of his or her staff.[8]

External links