LAS VEGAS — Members of the National Grocers Association believe the organization does a top-notch job in its lobbying activities and government relations work but would like it to do even more, Peter Larkin, president and chief executive officer, said here last week at the opening general session of the association's 29th annual convention.
In a survey of member opinions, NGA's government-relations work was ranked No. 1, Larkin said. But when members were asked what the association can do in the future, one of the responses was to expand government relations, along with collaborating more with other trade associations.
The member opinions were based primarily on preliminary results of a “member value project” NGA launched in September, which included soliciting opinions online. The project provides “a glimpse into the minds of NGA members and potential members to provide information we will use to improve or strengthen what we do now and what we will offer in the future.”
He said NGA plans to publish a full report in a few weeks, after it has finished reviewing the data.
In addition to its lobbying work, the things NGA does right, the survey indicated, include communicating information to the membership; providing networking opportunities at conferences; providing a measurable return on investment for being an NGA member; and sponsoring share groups, “which we should probably have more of,” Larkin noted.
Areas cited for improvement, he said, include communicating the wealth of information NGA provides even more efficiently and effectively; offering a more aggressive outreach program; making members more aware of NGA programs and services; and eliminating duplication of efforts among various trade associations by promoting more collaborative efforts.
In the future, Larkin said, NGA hopes to create new opportunities for members to share best practices so they can be more competitive; expand government relations efforts and collaborate more with other associations; offer more next-generation training; and expand research programs targeted at independents.