August 25, 2016

Make the Most Out of Your Membership

Make the Most Out of Your Membership

You did it: You decided to join an association. It was time to expand your horizons - now what? For many members, they are not taking full advantage of their memberships. Either they are ill-informed, or just aren’t aware of what is happening within their association. This is an issue. You are actively paying dues to be a part of an organization, shouldn’t you have the best membership experience possible? Honestly, what is the point if you aren’t using all the resources at your fingertips? Looking to become more active in your association? I have a few tips to get you started.

1. Attend Association Events

This may seem like a no-brainer, but the reality is, some people don’t go to these events! Attending association events is one of the best ways to network with the like-minds that fill your association. If you want to be engaged in your association - you’re going to have to show a little face. To stay up-to-date with association happenings, pay attention to newsletters, get on a mailing list, join an online discussion or just keep your eyes and ears open. Many association leaders will contact you directly with registration steps and updates, so you will be fully informed. If your association utilizes a modern AMS, event registration will be a breeze. These events are geared to benefit one person: you! Associations want to host events to give their members an exclusive experience that they cannot get anywhere else - take advantage!

2. Utilize Networking Opportunities

Attending a formal event isn't the only way to network with your peers. Let’s think events on a smaller scale: happy hours, movie nights, roundtable discussions/panels, committees or events solely for networking. These are great and easy ways to meet new people and expand your social circle (with the perk of some free food). Often times, members create and foster relationships with other members through events, and then go on to see each other outside of the association. This can lead to additional professional opportunities, or just some great friendships.

3. Take Advantage of Exclusive Online Resources

A major perk that comes with joining an association is the valuable online resources that are at your fingertips, at all times. Some of these resources include:

  • Online communities/forums
  • Newsletters
  • Educational content/pamphlets
  • Online videos
  • Webinars
  • Volunteer and career opportunities
  • Training modules

These resources are available to you only through your selected association. They are meant to educate, entertain and engage. They may be overlooked by some members, but the truth is that they are a viable asset to your overall membership experience.

4. Make use of Continuing Education Courses

These are huge. If you want to advance your knowledge of particular topics, see if your association offers continuing education courses. Associations offer members (and sometimes nonmembers) tailored courses specifically for their needs. Most of the time, members will receive CE units upon completion. They are usually offered online, but some associations give in-person options as well. These can be great resume-builders that add value to your membership.

Simply paying dues doesn’t ensure that you will make the most out of your membership experience. If you want to take full advantage, check out everything your association has to offer! Associations want to give you an experience that you can’t get anywhere else, so indulge a little! Whether it’s utilizing online resources or attending social events, pick the perks that mean the most to you.

Want to learn more? Check out our resource library!