Volume 8, Issue 3, May-June 2004
The President's Corner
IWFA Code of Secrecy Broken
by Scott Haddock
When I hear some of the reasons people give for not belonging to their industry’s only trade association, the International Window Film Association (IWFA), I am filled with mixed emotions. From my view or that of others who have become actively involved by working on a committee, serving on the board, or attending IWFA events such as the seminars and networking evening offered at the International Window Film Expo 2004 in Fort Lauderdale two months ago, it is disturbing that some of these comments could even be made in the first place–they are so far removed from the facts.
For example, comments have been made about the “secrecy” surrounding how the IWFA spends its money, and the steps taken to keep industry members from finding out. There have been calls for disclosure of the “salaries” and “benefits” of the officers. Others complain about how the organization is only “manufacturer-controlled.” Still others claim they could do a better job handling state law situations for the “money we’re spending” than the IWFA currently does.
The purpose of this article is to address these negative opinions in a positive way. So I will attempt to address these concerns specifically to give you a better understanding of the way the IWFA functions, and perhaps to let you know a little bit more about what the IWFA is doing for the industry.
Several years ago, in response to requests from dealers and distributors for more input into the actual workings of the IWFA, the entire structure of the board of directors was changed. Today there are 11 board members and five of those are distributors, four are dealers, and a grand total of 2 are manufacturer representatives. Each year the IWFA sends out to its entire membership a request for nominations to fill upcoming vacancies on the board (usually three or four each year). From these nominations, a nominating committee sends a
recommended slate of directors first to the board for approval, and then to the entire membership for them to vote and return their ballots prior to the annual business meeting of the membership. Just as in any election, ballots are counted, recorded, and election results announced. NO MEMBER OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OR ANY OFFICER OF THE IWFA RECEIVES ANY COMPENSATION FOR HIS/HER PARTICIPATION.
There is nothing secret about how the IWFA spends its money. The IWFA is a non-profit trade association and is registered with the Internal Revenue Service as such. This means that our tax return each year, as prepared by a CPA firm for the IWFA central office, is a public record available for anyone (including non-members) to obtain from the IRS (the tax return for a non-profit is called a Form 990).
In addition, the entire financial statements are prepared each month by the IWFA central office with copies sent to the IWFA treasurer and board of directors for their review and approval. All item totals for the month and year-to-date are shown and compared to the budget which was approved prior to the end of the previous year. Once a year, at the IWFA annual meeting (which is open to all members, although few ever attend) the entire financial statement for the whole prior year is presented for approval by the membership in attendance. In addition, at the “IWFA Update 2004” seminar presented at the recent IWFE 2004 conference, Darrell Smith reviewed the income for the past 2 years compared with that of this year ($300K this year versus $313K last year) and showed what portions are expected from manufacturers, distributors, dealers, and sales of services ($60K, $88K, $102K, and $50K, respectively). Of that, half will be spent for office rent, storage, telephone, printing and copying, office staff, legal & accounting, website costs, director, and travel costs. The other half will be for development and printing of new educational materials, costs of educational meetings and seminars, and all member services.
It might be useful to note that there are no outside consultants listed in the $300K of budgeted expenses for 2004. The state legislative consultants (two this year since Bob Suthard will be retiring and both he and his replacement, Lynwood Butner, are working for the industry) are paid for entirely by the manufacturer members of the AIMCAL-Window Film Committee (WFC), as are all the energy consultants, building code consultants, and NHTSA consultants. In fact, the WFC will spend $373K this year for the benefit of the industry. Therefore, dealers or distributors get this benefit without spending any part of our dues money. There will be over $100K spent this year on legislative issues with another $100K budgeted for energy code issues.
It is difficult to imagine that the IWFA could be doing more in this area, especially considering the amount spent ($0). If others have suggestions in this area, however, please get involved in the IWFA and let us know your thoughts.
Where does all this information lead us? It leads us to the fact that what a dealer member of the IWFA gets for his/her dues (only $175) is all the member services they wish to use and the benefit of first-hand planning, involvement, and knowledge of the efforts that the other $673K ($300K IWFA & $373K WFC) will be accomplishing. There may be those that do not see the value in the IWFA, but it is important that the decision on whether to belong to the IWFA is based on fact and not fiction. Hopefully, this article will help clarify some misstatements currently being made, and give undecided persons more real information on which to make their own membership decisions. If you have any questions about the IWFA, please contact the central office at (276) 666-4932 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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