In the age where all the information you ever wanted is right at your fingertips, what do we need our associations for anymore? With the cost of living always rising and wages not budging so much, why do I need to pay someone else to find things out for me when I have the internet? Have you ever asked these questions? Do you think, as the year comes to an end, what good was that membership?
I know that I ask that to my gym all the time, hah! But seriously, the end of the year is a great time to evaluate what it was that worked and did not work regarding my hard-earned dollars. It comes down to the fact (including my gym membership) that with associations, you only get out of it what you put into it. I have heard, far too often as a communications person, that people may not have heard about our programs or they were not aware we offered certain tools to our membership. When I ask if they get our Emails, I literally get the response, “yes, but I don’t read them.” Um. . .
Before you cut the cord on your association, I want to you look through your inbox (or even perhaps your junk folder) and go back and see what is being said; read about what programs are being offered. Look on your social media accounts and peruse through the posts that asked for your input, did you answer? Were you actively engaging with people that are working hard just to help your business? I know time is thin and you don’t have the ability to answer every survey, or post pictures of your products or send people out of the shop to attend a class, but associations are so much more than that.
A good association is always working to improve the livelihood of its members’ businesses. From education to standards, from conferences to information sharing, from business intelligence to emerging technology, you should be able to rely on your association to provide you the tools you need to be smarter in your industry. You should also realize that you get more out of it, when you use it. So, one conference isn’t for you, that’s okay, but don’t write off the rest of what is being offered. Get involved, join a committee, get on the board and make a difference with your association which trickles down to making a difference in the lives of your peers.
As we get closer to “resolutions” for the new year, make 2019 the year to think smarter, deeper and more proactively with your association. Innovation is a real thing and the only way you can be a part of it, is to join in.