RDA? RDIA? What's the difference???

RDA? RDIA? What's the difference???

I attended the Real Diaper Industry Association annual meetings last week in Las Vegas. So many great interactions over a single day and a half that I'm buried with follow-ups and motivated such that I can hardly sit still and want to work on all our prospects at the same time. But I'm trying to remember to breathe and prioritize, and I keep coming back to the most surprising thing that I discovered at the meetings...

Some people don't know the difference between the Real Diaper Association (RDA) and the Real Diaper Industry Association (RDIA) *gasp*! It occurs to me that possibly even you readers "in the know" about cloth diapers might not know the difference. So, I'm devoting this blog post to attempting to explain it.

First, a tiny bit of history. The RDA was founded in 2004 with the support of both business and individual members. During discussions about cloth diaper advocacy and education, some business members formed connections and started to discuss industry-specific actions, such as banding together to procure health care for their employees. These kinds of trade activities were prohibited under the 501(c)(3) non-profit status that RDA has. So several businesses formed a separate organization in 2008, called the Real Diaper INDUSTRY Association, which is a 501(c)(6) trade association, to address the needs of the INDUSTRY (cloth diaper manufacturers and retailers and diaper services).

They purposely chose a similar organization name to represent our continuing ties as we work together to promote cloth diapering, both as a public service and to grow business. In fact, we've continued to share a Board member in Lori Taylor, who is also a founder of both organizations. Additionally, we have many members in common, as many business owners choose to participate at the industry level with their peers at the RDIA while continuing to support the grassroots advocacy efforts of the RDA. This makes sense, as messages about the benefits of reusable cloth diapers come more cleanly from a charitable organization than from the industry.

We continue to conduct work together, as some needs overlap. For example, the diaper service members of the RDIA considered cloth diapering in daycare a big priority, which is a need RDA has been hearing from its constituents since we opened our doors. So the two organizations worked together on a joint project to help people find cloth-diaper-friendly daycares and are continuing to work on education and outreach to daycare providers about cloth diapering. Additionally, outreach to hospitals and work with government incentives were both discussed at this year's meetings, with representation from both organizations included in the conversations. Continued work in these areas will occur jointly.

One common misconception is that the RDA is for individuals and the RDIA is for businesses. While it's true that individuals are only eligible for RDA, we need participation from businesses as well. As we embark on some major upcoming research work related to diaper choice, we're going to need all the help we can get, and I hope to be able to depend on RDIA and our industry members for their support!

Still confused? Honestly, the announcement of the formation of the RDIA to RDA members in January 2009 said it best. More questions? Leave a comment, please, and I'll try to address them...

Heather McNamara
Executive Director, Real Diaper Association

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