People start business organizations to provide a service, solve a problem, or enhance an industry image. They can be large formal not-for-profit 501(c)(6) corporations or they can be informal gatherings centered around Internet discussion lists with an occasional meeting at a local restaurant.
One of the most popular roles of a business organization is networking. This is particularly true for those that serve general business such as Chambers of Commerce and Leads Clubs, which provide a venue for service providers to meet potential customers. Interindustry networking is also important for the sharing of information and the development of the industry as a whole. The American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Bar Association (ABA) are examples of industry-specific organizations that provide venues for member networking. Online networking organizations include the World Wide Web Artists' Consortium (WWWAC) and San Francisco Women on the Web (SFWOW).
The AMA and the ABA also work to define and uphold best practices in their industries through member education and certification programs as well as rule making and self-policing. To be expelled from the bar for violations of rules is a career-ending event. Other business organizations that provide best-practices oversight are the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards (CFP Board).
The International Hotel & Restaurant Association is an example of an industry organization that helps to promote the hospitality industry worldwide. Discover America promotes tourism for the United States and sponsors events and education in the tourism industry as well as for potential visitors to the United States.
The ABA and the AICPA both oversee and present educational programs designed to keep their members knowledgeable about new developments in laws affecting their practices as well as in better ways to serve their clients. The Better Business Bureau educates the consumer public in how to spot fraudulent business practices as well as providing a way for consumers to research the reputations of businesses in their areas.
The AMA and the ABA are both well-known lobbying groups along with the American Tobacco Association and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. There are many such lobbying organizations that work to influence lawmaking in favor of their industries.
Rotary Clubs, Elks Club (BPOE), and other such groups gather their members from among leaders in their local business community. They serve as places where businesspeople may meet and network for business development purposes while supporting community charities.
Research & Development
Some business organizations sponsor research and development activities such as the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), which is a nonprofit member-supported organization that sponsors research into products and procedures that improve the economical and safe delivery of electricity for public consumption.