Call to Action: OIA Needs Your Support

Outdoor Industry Association brings our industry together to tackle big issues and to provide a unified, strong voice. Today, your industry voice is at risk and we need your help.

June 25, 2020

The health of OIA is tied to the health of our industry. We are all experiencing incredible business impacts due to COVID-19. No business is unaffected. And that includes our industry trade association.

For years, royalties from the Outdoor Retailer shows made up a large portion of OIA’s revenue, allowing for the breadth of essential OIA activities, ranging from defending public lands and battling tariffs to providing tools to navigate the threat of climate change. OIA does the work that businesses depend on, but cannot easily tackle alone. Now, we are facing a cancelled summer show and an uncertain funding future. It is time for all businesses to stand up and support OIA directly.

OIA must make every dollar count and maximize its value for members. Since March, when the pandemic took hold, salaries and expenses have been cut by more than 40 percent. Even with these cuts, OIA quickly pivoted to become a vital source of resources, webinars, education and advocacy action to support the industry during a crisis. The analytics and attendance numbers on all these efforts are record-setting.

Thirty years ago, outdoor business leaders formed the association to fight back a tax that threatened the viability of our young industry. It was the beginning of coming together to face a big obstacle. Some of the many wins since then have included:

  • Creating the Outdoor Recreation Economy Report, launched in 2012, that measured our enormous economic impact (more than 2% of GDP) and transformed our relationships in D.C.
  • Leading the introduction and passage of the REC Act, which directed the Bureau of Economic Analysis to measure the impact of outdoor recreation on the U.S. economy, Outdoor recreation is now taken seriously in politics.
  • Leading the movement to oppose and defeat the proposed Backpack Tax which would have levied an additional burden on top of our already disproportionately tariffed specialty goods.
  • In 2019 alone, OIA efforts through tariff bills and exclusions saved the industry $120 million in taxes.
  • Advocating for the protection of millions of acres of public lands and increased investment in outdoor recreation at the federal and state-level. Despite helping collect more than a million signatures, Bears Ears and Escalante suffered unprecedented reductions, but without OIA efforts the damage would likely have been much deeper and broader across our nation’s 117 monuments.
  • Increasing outdoor participation and building long-term community engagement through the Outdoor Foundation and Thrive Outside Communities initiative. Today, there are four flagship communities: San Diego, Oklahoma City, Atlanta and Grand Rapids, engaging thousands of young people.
  • In five years, facilitating the growth and development of 160 of our industry’s emerging leaders through the Skip Yowell Future Leadership Academy, a six-month, immersive education and mentorship program.
  • Creating the Climate Action Corps, one of the boldest industry collaborative efforts fight climate change by making measurable and meaningful carbon reductions by 2030. More than 60 businesses have already joined to ensure their collective business sustainability.

OIA played a major role in shaping our industry. But there is more to do. OIA’s mission is more relevant than ever: thriving businesses, thriving people and a thriving planet. Thriving is in short supply right now. As we come out the other side of this pandemic, we need the unifying power, collective voice and the broad perspective of our trade association.

It is a hard time to make an ask, but in the face of losing almost half of OIA’s revenue in Outdoor Retailer royalties, our trade association needs your direct support. You saved significant travel and exhibiting costs associated with the show cancellation, so please consider committing a small portion of those savings to OIA. We make this request with humility and deep respect for your own challenges right now. The North Face, Smartwool, Hydro Flask, Patagonia, Eagle Creek and W.L. Gore have all pledged money.

We ask that you please join in making a donation to OIA that replaces the royalty fee that you would have paid through your tradeshow exhibiting costs. If you have questions about your royalty payment and what it would have been this year, please reach out to We are here to serve you. Thank you for your consideration.