Value your professional membership

An intriguing post showed up in my RSS reader this morning under the ‘public relations’ tracking tag: Ten things to manage in a recession: 1 – memberships.

The writer, Paul Wilkinson, says:

[…] if you are a marketeer, what can you do to help your business survive (and – perhap more importantly – keep your job!)? […] Number one: “Cut association memberships”

That’s a worthwhile thought whatever your profession. I ask the question this way:

What does membership offer me that makes my annual subscription an indispensible investment?

It’s a bit of a selfish view – it certainly doesn’t look at reciprocity as in “what do I offer my professional association?” – but we’re in tough economic times and, in this post, looking only at judging the maximum return from a direct investment in a professional association.

Wilkinson offers six suggestions. Here they are as headlines (visit his post to read the detail):

  1. Get your association to enable and encourage online involvement.
  2. Look at low-cost alternatives to the big associations.
  3. Look at online networking groups and communities of practice.
  4. Establish a new network, or a sub-network.
  5. Build your own informal network.
  6. Several, or all, of the above.

They’re good suggestions, valid to apply to the professional association you belong to, whatever your profession.

I did that for my membership in IABC (the International Association of Business Communicators), the only professional association I belong to and have done continuously for 20 years.

A no brainer – I’m very happy with the return IABC gives me, not only in the obvious things from the suggestion list (eg, items 1 and 3) but also the open framework that lets me do things like items 4 and 5.

And, by the way, IABC just launched the IABC Marketplace last week – if you’re a communication consultant (as I am), it’s a terrific free resource to showcase what you offer to your fellow members.

How does your professional association measure up?

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

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