Association memberships are a vital part of my social life. Some may see this as challenging the “work-life balance,” I see it differently. Aren’t friendships developed by common interests and like-minded people? Aren’t associations formed for the same thing?
I belong to the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, Florida Association of Non-Profits, and several large Chambers of Commerce, which speaks to my different interests both personally and professionally.
Beyond making acquaintances and friendships, associations serve many purposes such as:
- Professional and personal development
- Leadership opportunities
- Subject matter expertise on relevant topics
- Networking opportunities
- Volunteering opportunities
- Volume buying discounts
- Awards and recognition
- Access to industry events and conferences
- A platform to promote yourself and your product(s)
- Enhanced benefits programs
The list is almost endless of the personal benefits of being a part of an association.
From a broader perspective, associations create jobs in every state. They are an indispensable part of our national, state, and local economies. According to the most recent study, their economic benefits include more than 1.3 million jobs for Americans and a total payroll of $51 billion. Business and professional associations even pay their employees well above the average for the private sector.
Associations are beneficial. However, according to the latest edition of McKinley’s Association Viewpoint, titled “Renewal, Reinvention and Responsibility,” like everything in 2020, associations have been hit hard by the pandemic. What lies ahead for them? We know from history that crisis often challenges institutions, communities, and people’s everyday lives and priorities. While associations are facing challenging times, now is an excellent time to start researching associations to join and take advantage of some of their al la carte services without a full-time commitment. Some things to consider when looking for an association are:
- Strong leadership
- Interest in the mission
- Do they have a committed community manager?
- What unique experiences does this organization offer?
- Can joining help me propel my career or benefit me socially?
Beyond their economic impact, associations play an integral role in enriching communities and creating positive change nationwide. Associations possess profound knowledge and experience that enable them to address numerous social concerns and enhance our collective quality of life. For me personally, they have enriched my life.
There are tens of thousands of trades and professional associations in the U.S., representing every industry, profession, and interest that one can name. Whether you are a seasoned professional, new in the city, or looking to change careers, getting involved in an association will benefit you greatly.
Written by Steve Joiner, Benefits Consultant, Sapoznik Insurance, a World Company