Industry

ATA Partnerships: We Work Hard, So You Can Keep Working

ATA staff build relationships to create access and provide opportunities for consumers, who generate business for ATA members.
Photo Credit: ATA

Author: Cassie Gasaway

You wake up, eat breakfast, and head to work. Your day is filled with taking calls, greeting customers, working on equipment, and ensuring your business stays afloat. It’s a great strategy and a necessary approach to making money, but what if there were no customers to make money from?

The ATA works to ensure that doesn’t happen. We know you’re busy, so we stay busy working on your behalf.

How? We collaborate with different people, groups and organizations to build a sustainable customer base by recruiting participants, creating involvement opportunities, and removing barriers to entry.

The ATA works with:

–  conservation organizations (like the National Deer Alliance and the Council to Advance Hunting and the Shooting Sports),
–  industry groups (like the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable and National Shooting Sports Foundation),
–  species conservation groups (like the Quality Deer Management Association and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation),
–  state agencies (like the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies and Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation),
–  federal agencies (like the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Forest Service),
–  and others like USA Archery, the National Field Archery Association, the Archery Shooters Association and Scholastic 3-D Archery.

Each partnership and relationship is powerful and is uniquely leveraged. What we give to, and get from, each entity varies based on the situation, and our combined goals, motivations and expectations. We have formalized agreements with some partners and simplistic verbal agreements with others. We also work with partners at all scales including local, state and national levels. We maintain and evolve our strategic and collaborative relationships to help grow archery and bowhunting.

No matter who we partner with, or what the relationship looks like, our allies strengthen our efforts to grow archery sports in two primary ways.

We work with partners on every level to guarantee the best support for our members. Photo Credit: NFAA

We work with industry leaders in a government relations role. For example, Dan Forster, ATA’s vice president and chief conservation officer, works with partners in a variety of venues to influence favorable policy decisions regarding tax issues, land access, bowhunting regulations, chronic wasting disease, Pittman-Robertson modernization, resource allocation, program development and other hunting or conservation topics.

“The ATA has no direct authority over conservation policy issues that are important to the archery industry,” said Forster. “Natural resource policy and resource decisions are generally reserved for state or federal governmental organizations. As such, if we’re going to affect any positive change from state or national policies, we must leverage our influence by working with others through collaborative partnerships. By working in tandem with like-minded partners, we’ll have a much bigger voice and greater influence on state and national policy issues than any single entity can have by working independently.”

We work with program leaders and educators on a grassroots level. For example, Jennifer Mazur, ATA’s senior director of outreach and education, works with her team to develop and implement programs with our partners that recruit, retain and reactivate archers and bowhunters. Her team also creates resources for – and provides training and education to – partners.

“Working with partners helps us reach audiences we wouldn’t have otherwise,” Mazur said. “Our team is small, so it’s unrealistic to think we can introduce everyone across the nation to archery. By training our partners to teach ATA programs successfully, we give them the tools and education they need to recruit participants.”

Josh Gold, ATA’s senior manager of R3 and state relations, said you need both partnership aspects to create real change.

“You can get rid of every bowhunting regulation out there, but if no one wants to bowhunt, it won’t matter,” Gold said. “And at the same time, if you have 1,000 people that want to bowhunt, but they can’t figure out the regulations, then they’ll find something else to do with their time. You need all the pieces to fit together to ensure ATA members have paying customers.”

Gold said some bowhunting regulations are an example of a participation barrier. A barrier is something that makes hunting difficult, confusing or complicated. They often deter new hunters from enjoying the sport. Newcomers must overcome multiple participation barriers, including finding a hunting location, obtaining proper equipment, and identifying how to process an animal once it’s harvested. By working on the state, federal and grassroots level with partners, ATA staff can help decrease participation barriers and create more hunters.

The ATA helps connect retailers with manufacturers and state agencies. Photo Credit: ATA

Making Introductions

Partnerships also help the ATA stay in tune with industry happenings. These insights help ATA staff members introduce groups that could mutually benefit from working together.

Samantha Seaton, ATA’s outreach and education program manager, explains it this way:

Think of the archery industry as a gated housing community. Each company or organization represents a house inside the community. The residents of each house symbolize company staff members. Within the house, the residents are working on ways to grow archery participation.

In this analogy, the ATA is the community’s social butterfly. They’re familiar with each household’s work. They believe certain residents would work well together, so they host dinner parties to make introductions. As the ATA connects more residents and households, the entire housing community grows more unified. The archery industry is no different.

“We’re taking steps to unite all our partners and in turn, help our members,” Seaton said. “We’re all focused on the same thing, which is increasing participation –  we’re just approaching it differently. When we work together and band together, we can make a big difference.”

For example, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources developed a “Field to Fork” program as part of a multistate conservation grant to recruit locavores. A few years later, the Quality Deer Management Association adapted the program for their needs. The ATA learned about each program through its individual partner interactions. The ATA decided to create a Field to Fork guide for other organizations and state agencies to use for recruitment purposes. To create the best guide possible, the ATA brought together both partners, who combined their ideas in a new Field to Fork curriculum book, which will be available early in 2020.

ATA staff also work to connect their partners with ATA-member retailers. ATA partners do a great job at recruiting archery newcomers, but those recruits need equipment and supplies to participate. The ATA encourages its partners to develop relationships with ATA-member retailers who can offer products and services to beginners.

 

The End Game

Every ATA relationship helps create customers – or a safe, secure environment for customers – to ensure ATA members have a steady source of revenue today and in the future. We know that, as a business owner, this is important to you.

For an explanation of specific partnership examples, read the ATA article “Partnerships Help Grow Archery Participation.”

If you have questions about ATA’s outreach and education efforts, contact Jennifer Mazur at jennifermazur@archerytrade.org. If you have questions about ATA’s advocacy efforts, contact Dan Forster at danforster@archerytrade.org.

 

Find Your Business Beneficial Partners

Your business can also benefit from creating strategic partnerships. Read ATA’s article “Embrace the Power of Partnerships” to learn how partnerships can boost your business’s profile and attract new customers. For partnership information or tips on collaborating with potential partners, contact Josh Gold at joshgold@archerytrade.org.

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