When they ask “Why should I belong?”
Members, potential members, and lapsed members often ask why? Why they should pay out those hard-earned dollars to belong to the association? It’s easy to explain the value of membership in terms of benefits – the publications, discounts, and continuing education opportunities– but it’s difficult to quantify the intangible value.
As a leader, you know it’s important to maintain the collegiality and camaraderie that regular meetings with peers can bring. Anyone who has ever attended a workshop or conference can testify that what you learn in the hallways and coffee breaks is often as important as what you heard from the talking heads.
The next time someone asks you ‘why,’ pass along some of these benefits:
- Networking. We always intend to get together with colleagues, but it’s very hard. That’s why attendance at committee meetings, membership dinners, and other association events – when you schedule a time away from the day job – brings a huge payoff. You devote yourself for a day or a weekend to professional and career development in a way that simply doesn’t happen on the Internet or on the phone.
- Strength in numbers. It’s the law of physics and politics. Twenty people have 100 times the influence of one. Not that every one isn’t important! But together athletic trainers, speaking with one voice, will be heard in the halls of the state capital and in Congress.
- Knowledge. “I didn’t know that.” It’s probably all there in the magazines and journals piled up on your desk but it’s when a friend asks ‘did you read that article in this month’s issue?’ that you really pay attention. Or, when you learn that there’s a threat in the statehouse or on the regulatory board that you would otherwise have missed.
- Leadership. Organizations offer opportunities for personal growth, and the chance to influence the future of the profession. You can have the greatest ideas in the world, but they won’t do anyone much good if you’re not sharing them. Volunteerism develops critical thinking, public speaking, and strategic planning skills. Not to mention giving you a broader perspective on the world.
- Expertise. Where else are you going to rub elbows with the profession’s visionaries? You might be lucky enough to work with them, but if not you need to go where they are. Gain the wisdom of the old timers and experience cutting edge ideas – at your association meeting.