Our Growing Community and Our Bigger Tent


In early January 2020, none of us could have foretold what the year would bring for society and the global community.

DSA set our agenda: one that would continue to build direct selling’s reputation as a consumer protection champion. Events and education sought to uncover new opportunities for driving the direct selling channel’s rejuvenation through the embrace of emerging technologies, a transformed retail landscape, and the new way in which Americans work. Our efforts to fight on behalf of independent contractors in statehouses were primed.

We knew not what we were about to encounter. As we look back, we see a stronger direct selling community and a growing number of companies coming into our Association tent.

Demand to be a part of the DSA family has increased, and DSA has introduced new membership choices tailored to individual direct selling executives, as well as companies from outside the channel.

As careers evolve, we routinely find that individuals who are currently independent agents but were once employed by a DSA member company still wish to participate in DSA activities to remain close to their peers and the channel’s developments. The new Associate engagement category allows these individuals to receive DSA research and publications, as well as register for DSA events and educational initiatives.

Similarly, individuals currently employed by non-DSA member direct selling companies that are otherwise eligible for DSA membership often want to associate with DSA as individuals. The Affiliate engagement category allows these individuals to affiliate with the Association community as their company considers full membership for a year.

DSA’s new participant membership categories also include options for companies.

As a service to those with international operations that are not planning to enter the U.S. market, Global Membership allows companies from across the world the opportunity to tap into the over 100 years of U.S. DSA experience. As a Global Associate, company executives will have access to all of the research services, educational resources, and networking opportunities enjoyed by full-active DSA members, as well as discounted registration for DSA event registration and unlimited access to the members-only section of the DSA website.

As more companies—particularly organizations driving today’s technology—seek to protect an independent contractor’s ability to build a business on her own terms, they look to DSA as a leader. The new Corporate Affiliate membership enables non-direct selling companies to align with the channel’s efforts and benefit from the experience and insights gained after more than a century of work protecting independent contractors.

By broadening our tent of inclusion and reaching beyond the channel to include organizations that, like us, fight to protect independent contractors, DSA gains an even stronger foundation for future growth.

All of this is good news for the direct selling community. To me, it is proof that, even during times of unprecedented difficulties and shapeshifting challenges, our direct selling community’s shared values of community, home, and unity give us the instinctual ability to share our strength. We look forward to welcoming more companies and individuals into our tent to join in shaping the channel’s future and continue the fight to protect independent contractors.


NANCY M. BURKE is the Vice President of Membership

for the Direct Selling Association (DSA).