6 Benefits Of Membership Organizations
I’ll get this one out of the way first. It might be the most cynical of reasons to join, but there’s no doubt that membership of a respected organization is seen as a plus by prospective employers. Your association with the brand sends the message that you are serious about your profession, and you are willing to put your money where your mouth is.
A membership organization typically runs professional development events such as workshops and webinars, and perhaps publishes a periodical, all of which are designed to raise awareness of important issues facing its target audience. Personally I don’t find everything the organization offers informative –sometimes it’s pitched at the wrong level, or I’m a few steps ahead already–, but every now and then I’ll find a gem that makes all the difference.
Sometimes the organization’s offerings are for members only, or else members are offered a substantial discount. A prime example is the Australian Institute of Training and Development‘s (AITD) annual conference, for which registration was offered to members last year at a 25% discount, easily covering the cost of membership.
Social media has injected steroids into the sport of professional networking, but the real power of a membership organization lay in the opportunities it affords for local networking. I follow literally thousands of people around the globe via Twitter, but by attending local events sponsored by my local organization, I meet great people in my hometown whom I wouldn’t have met otherwise.
A membership organization provides you with an avenue to “give something back” to the profession, perhaps by presenting at one of its events or by authoring an article in its magazine. While this in itself is an admirable thing to do, it’s a win-win transaction as it also raises your profile in the professional community.
Membership organizations also sponsor industry awards. These awards are important because they shine a light on outstanding work that should be showcased but might otherwise have remained undiscovered.