Why do you belong? People join associations and organizations for many reasons. Some for the networking, some for the advocacy and some join for access to the member benefits. But are they benefits…or services?
Member benefits offered by most associations range from office supply discounts to insurance programs. Unless you take advantage of the numerous services offered by your association, then that’s all they are…service offerings. Once you sign up or start using the service, it then becomes a benefit. A benefit that saves you money, saves you time, may even save you some headaches! And benefits usually provide a source of non-dues revenue for the association. This additional source of revenue helps every association offset the cost of your membership dues.
So how many of your association service offerings have you turned into actual benefits?
Since I’ve been with the Mid-America Jewelers Association (MAJA) we have partnered with numerous companies to provide resources and services to jewelers throughout the Midwest. MAJA benefits include discounted services for credit card processing, professional email marketing, store lighting solutions, shipping programs, insurance options, and more. And those are only the “tangible” benefits.
If you’re a member of an association, you already have access to numerous services that far outweigh the cost of membership. Not a member of your state/local association? You should reconsider your reasons. What business owner doesn’t want to save money? Not concerned about the financial aspects? Then make the decision based on intangible services. MAJA, for example, monitors legislative activity at the Ohio Statehouse – guarding legislation that could change the way Ohio jewelers do business. Young or old to the profession, associations at the least provide an invaluable network for the exchange of ideas and problem solving.
Can you afford not to support your trade association? Supporting your professional association is a decision that you, your customers, employees and peers will benefit from.
Dixie Russell is CMP, Account Manager at Mid-America Jewelers Association
You can contact Dixie by email at firstname.lastname@example.org