News About The Forbes Group


May 3, 2011 – Sarasota, FL – The Forbes Group, Sarasota, FL, celebrates its 30th anniversary this month. The Forbes Group specializes in helping professional and trade associations think, plan and act strategically. It has helped more than 300 associations in all economic sectors but specializes in healthcare.

The company was founded in 1981 by Paul S. Forbes as a high-level public relations counseling firm but shifted to focusing on helping associations design their future in the late 1980s. Butterfield joined the company in 1991 and became its owner on Forbes' retirement in 1998.


Vienna, VA – The Forbes Group, association strategic counselors in Vienna, VA and Chicago has formed an association incubation division to create and manage for profit associations. Bruce Butterfield, CAE, APR, Forbes president, said: “We’ve been working on for profit association models for several years and see great potential in creating closely held and shared interest associations. While the for profit model isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, it offers great advantages in meeting the needs of new markets and constituents. With a for profit approach, boards are advisory instead of administrative and can focus on helping in strategy and product development. Employees, and even members, also have the chance to have equity in the enterprise.”

For profit associations are not new. While data on their numbers are imprecise, there appear to be several hundred in the United States covering businesses, professions and avocational activities. Some nonprofit associations have become for profits for a variety of reasons including avoidance of unrelated business income tax (UBIT), the ability to raise capital, freedom from governance issues and politics, and better staff incentive compensation.

"We've been approached by individuals and firms interested in forming for profit associations because of our modeling work," said Butterfield. "It made sense to form a division dedicated to this niche. Our business model is flexible and based either on a traditional consulting arrangement or work for equity. We also will help nonprofit associations become for profits."

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