Whether you are a franchisee or a prospective franchisee, you’d be wise to take advantage of the information, education and assistance that franchise associations provide. Here’s a closer look at the two major franchise associations and what they do.
In operation since 1960, the International Franchise Association, or IFA, is a worldwide membership organization of franchisors, franchisees, and suppliers. Its primary goal is to better connect these three groups in order to improve the franchise industry.
Describing its mission as “to protect, enhance, and promote franchising,” the IFA has established a Code of Ethics that helps its members implement best practices in franchisee-franchisor relationships.
The IFA’s Government Relations Department works to enhance the legislative and regulatory climate for franchising worldwide by monitoring legislative and regulatory activity, conducting lobbying and grassroots campaigns, participating in national and local coalitions, and promoting positive relations between franchisors, franchisees, and government officials.
The IFA also promotes educational and networking opportunities among the franchise community by hosting a plethora of events, including its annual convention and programs that focus on topics such as franchise law, international expansion, franchise development techniques, public advocacy, technology, franchise relationships, finance, operations, and more.
Women and the IFA: The IFA is dedicated to increasing the number of women in franchising. In 1996, the IFA formed the Women’s Franchise Committee (WFC) to encourage women in franchising. The WFC offers lots of programs and resources for women, ranging from “how to” guides to conferences and local networking chapters (the Women’s Franchise Network, or WFN). The WFN has chapters in Chicago, Denver, San Diego, the Twin Cities, Southern California, New York/New Jersey, Washington, DC/Baltimore, Seattle, Toronto, Miami, Connecticut, Richmond, and Dallas.
Minorities and the IFA: The IFA is committed to expanding opportunities for minorities in franchising, including franchisors, franchisees, suppliers, and employees. Its Minorities in Franchising (MIF) Committee works toward this goal by providing educational information and programs for IFA members and prospective minority franchisees and participating in outreach activities to increase the awareness of franchising in minority communities.
Veterans and the IFA: The IFA developed the Veterans Transition Franchise Initiative (VetFran) to help honorably discharged military veterans get into franchising by offering them financial incentives. So far, more than 1,200 veterans have bought franchises using VetFran, and some 350 franchisors participate in the VetFran program.
The IFA’s Web site offers plenty of resources, information and links to help franchisors and franchisees. The IFA’s monthly magazine, Franchising World, is available digitally at the site.
The American Association of Franchisees & Dealers (AAFD) is a national nonprofit trade association that represents the interests, rights, and concerns of franchisees and independent dealers in the United States. The AAFD’s mission is to promote fair and equitable franchising practices and to provide members with services, programs and products to help them run better businesses.
In 1996, the AAFD’s Committee on Standards and Accreditation, which is made up of franchisors, franchisees, and franchise legal counsel, introduced its Fair Franchising Standards, “the first ever comprehensive guidelines for balanced franchise relationships.” Franchise systems whose franchisees determine that the system adheres to the AAFD’s Standards can receive the Fair Franchising Seal.
The AAFD also works to strengthen franchisees’ economic and purchasing power, advocates for legislation that benefits the franchise industry and provides legal support for members, provides educational and professional development opportunities, and promotes ethical behavior among franchisors and franchisees. The organization’s ultimate goal is for every franchise system in America to have an independent franchisee organization that is an AAFD chapter.
The AAFD’s Web site features franchise-related news and events, current and archived editions of industry publications and resources, discussion forums, and more.