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The Trade Association of Paddlesports (TAPS) today announced that it has stopped the previously announced unification efforts between itself and the Paddlesports Industry Association (PIA).
As you may be aware, the unification process became public knowledge during the Outdoor Retailer (OR) Summer Market show in August 2008. At that time, PIA and TAPS sent a joint news release to their members and the media announcing that the two associations had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), a non-binding legal document, to investigate the process of forming a unified trade association.
The MOU outlined a series of steps designed to analyze if creating a unified trade association was in the best interest of PIA, TAPS, their memberships and the industry.
An independent Certified Public Accountant (CPA) was engaged to assist in determining the relative book values of the two associations, assist with calculating the future cash flow of the organizations, and then report his findings in a written report.
After the third-party financial review was complete, the CPA recommended that if TAPS and PIA chose to proceed forward with the proposed unification, that the new entity, “exercise. . .conservative financial management and increased financial oversight by the Board of Directors.” In addition, he stated that should the unification be approved, “extreme caution is advised.” He also cited the current state of the economy and the very little positive cash flow of the combined entity as two reasons to proceed with care.
As a result of the third party review, it was the opinion of the TAPS board that without additional funding, the unified association (with its proposed structure and budget) would be weak financially.
Attempts by both boards to secure necessary funding from various industry members and advocacy groups have been unsuccessful so far.
After reviewing the report, PIA board members and its association members voted in the affirmative to continue the unification process. However, TAPS board members voted against continuing the unification efforts, negating the need to seek the approval of the TAPS membership.
Naturally, both associations recognize the potential value of one unified trade association that can speak for and serve the needs of the paddlesports industry. However, without a unified consensus between the two associations, the process moving forward has been dissolved.
The two associations will continue to direct and fund the joint “Let’s Go Paddle” campaign, an online marketing effort designed to grow and support the paddlesports market. The individual associations will also continue to operate their own events and programs as usual.
Industry members who would like to weigh in on this issue may contact Joe Matuska at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TAPS Director of Communications on Unification