There’s an old adage in leadership to deliver good news as soon as possible. I’m hoping that tells you everything about the timing of PPAI’s recent announcement of a refreshed membership structure.

This change has rolled out right at the beginning of my term as your board chair. And it is good news.

It’s a simplification of a needlessly complicated system, with 16 tiers for members of every type. That outdated membership model taxed businesses as they grew their revenues without actually granting any additional benefits. The simplified new system allows every member a choice of how you want to engage with PPAI, the benefits you’ll receive and the amount you’ll pay for them.

The new structure is the result of three years of intense study and debate by volunteers on PPAI committees and the board. Too many people worked too hard on this change, and for too long, for it to not be a positive step. It’s also a long overdue one: Previous efforts date back to at least 2012. Until now, change proved too difficult. It wasn’t easy to find a model that was simpler and fair to everyone.

It’s true that some members will experience a modest cost increase, and the PPAI Board did not take that decision lightly. However, this structure preserves affordability and key value for every business. All members continue to benefit from the ongoing PPAI-SAGE relationship. As our official technology partner, SAGE has significantly expanded and improved its offerings since the last membership price increase, adding project management, CRM capabilities and more. Individually, these are worth far more than the added cost for our industry’s smallest businesses.

As those businesses grow, they can choose to take advantage of additional benefits offered by PPAI, such as premium research and education credits, to name a couple. These are two areas of particular focus for PPAI as the Association seeks to enhance and update its offerings for the members who need these resources. PPAI is bringing its Professional members access to macroeconomic tools vital to strategic foresight. The revitalized TAS program will make new hires to the industry better prepared than ever thanks to more digestible content, completely based on member input.

In so many areas, we are investing to meet and exceed expectations so that we truly live up to the mission to be the voice and force to advance the promotional marketplace for the benefit of our community.

That last part is important to understand: All of this is done with the best interests of the industry, namely our members, in mind.

The changes are in line with an important pillar of the organization’s strategic plan: Ensure PPAI’s economic sustainability and scalability. The hard alternative, which we saw in 2021, when the pandemic forced the cancellation of The PPAI Expo, was that the industry’s largest and longest-running trade association might not exist at all. A second year without the show could have bankrupted PPAI.

Your board was committed to ensuring the organization could withstand a future catastrophe so that we continue to serve as an asset for the industry. PPAI is a nonprofit, and all the money coming into the Association is reinvested into the industry. Our members are our shareholders.

PPAI exists to serve its members. That’s as true now as it was before. In concert with the PPAI staff, your board is committed to delivering more value than ever.

Spellman is chair of the PPAI Board of Directors and vice president of corporate markets at supplier Therabody.