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What is PPAI?

What is PPAI? Your Questions About the Trade Organization Answered

If you’ve been in the promotional products business for a few years, you’ve likely come across an organization called PPAI. So what is PPAI? As a membership-only nonprofit dedicated to suppliers and distributors, PPAI provides several benefits to its members. But is it right for you? Here are answers to several questions you may have about PPAI.

What is PPAI?

The Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) has over a century of history dedicated to serving those in the promotional products business. It began in 1903 when 12 advertising goods manufacturers agreed to form an industry trade association called the National Association of Advertising Novelty Manufacturers.

Today, the Association has over 14,000 member firms in the U.S., Canada, and worldwide. Each year, it hosts the PPAI Expo, the industry’s largest trade show.

What are the benefits of joining PPAI?

The decision to become a member (or join a member regional association) is totally up to you. However, there are several membership benefits you may want to consider.

Receive discounts from PPAI Affinity Partners

PPAI members get 50 percent off FedEx Express services and 30 percent off FedEx Ground services. Other PPAI Affinity Partners include SAGE, PANTONE®, and Mercer.

Advocate for the promotional products industry

The advocacy programs provide members the chance to get involved and help to “influence favorable perceptions and outcomes with external audiences including buyers, legislators, regulators, and the media.” Advocacy programs include Corporate Responsibility, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, and Legislative Action Watch.

Be part of a passionate community

When you join PPAI, you have the opportunity to serve as a PPAI volunteer. Volunteers serve as subject matter experts and advocates for the Association and the promotional products industry. There are over 16 different volunteer positions, each offering flexibility with time commitments, group size, and more.

Access to educational opportunities

PPAI members have access to several professional development resources. Through online and live learning courses and targeted conference education, members can obtain continuing education credits, earn an industry certification, or simply get more information on a specific topic.

Attend the PPAI Expo

The largest promotional products trade show is open to PPAI members only (unless you are part of a non-member firm and have been placed on the Admittance List). Becoming a member and attending the PPAI Expo is a great way to kick off your business each year.

How much are membership dues?

Dues vary by sales volume and start at $495 per year for distributors with sales volumes under $50,000. To find out how much your membership would cost, you can use the membership dues calculator here.

What is a PPAI number?

All PPAI members receive a PPAI PIN number when they join the organization. This number is used to keep track of continuing education credits. When attending a PPAI educational event, members add PIN numbers to sign-in sheets or their badges scanned in order to receive the credits.

How do I find mine?

To find your PIN number after you join, follow the steps outlined here.

What is the PPAI Expo?

The PPAI Expo is the largest promotional products trade show in the industry. It features thousands of supplies, consultants, and industry experts from around the world. You must be a member of PPAI to attend.

What is the difference between PPAI and SAGE, ASI, and PPPC?

This alphabet soup of industry organizations and resources can be challenging to differentiate. Here is a quick rundown of what each acronym represents and how they tie into the promotional products industry.


In 2011, PPAI partnered with SAGE, a software and services company for distributors and suppliers. SAGE provides several features to manage your business including product searches, sending email campaigns, building digital or print catalogs, preparing for industry shows, and more. PPAI members are eligible to receive a SAGE Total Access subscription.


ASI stands for Advertising Specialty Institute. Like PPAI, ASI is a membership-based organization dedicated to helping those in the promotional products business. They both share similarities, including educational resources, trade shows, and discounts from partners. Many larger distributors and suppliers belong to both organizations.

One of the main differences between the two organizations are the trade shows. The ASI trade shows are smaller and held several times throughout the year in different locations, while the PPAI Expo is the largest and held only once a year.


The Promotional Product Professionals of Canada (PPPC) is a nonprofit organization for distributors and suppliers in Canada. A strategic partnership between PPPC, PPAI, and SAGE exists which offers PPPC members both SAGE Total Access and PPAI membership.

Joining the PPAI can be a great way to take your business to the next level. Between all the networking opportunities, benefits, support, and resources, you may find membership dues quickly pay for themselves. To learn more about joining PPAI, click here.