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Membership Recruitment & Retention

The Value of Professional Organizations - Overview
By Sarah Hagy, Executive Director
Article by Laura Raines for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Ever heard the phrase, "itís all about who you know?" With job availability stagnant, unemployment rates on the rise, insecurity in the marketplace, and tightening budgets, key relationships are becoming more and more important to professional success. As author Laura Raines notes in her article, The Value of Professional Organizations, associations are often the first place people turn to when seeking employment and/or new business opportunities. So have you made the proper investment within your association or professional society to yield returns in your time of need? Ms. Raines shares the importance and pay off of active involvement within organizations when the time comes to "cash in."

There are likely several ways to get involved within your own organization; Ms. Raines suggests starting out small by taking on a short-term project that will allow you to use your areas of expertise and passion. By working with other members, not only are you establishing relationships with industry colleagues, you are also showing them your skills and knowledge, which might one day pay-off as a referral.

Many non-profit organizations offer professional development opportunities in the form of educational sessions and/or certifications. By participating in these sessions, you are increasing your marketability by staying on top of industry trends and technologies and/or working toward a certification that will help you stand out within your field.

Finally, Ms. Raines notes that associations allow for individuals to make an impact and give back to their industry. Many organizations work hard on behalf of their members to affect industry at the governmental or social level, allowing for members to have a larger influence on their industries. It is much easier for an organization comprised of 200 companies to affect change and leadership than it is for just one. The experience of working on common issues builds even stronger rapport with key players, making valuable deposits in your professional relationships.

Being actively involved in your association or professional society can be valuable on a wide variety of fronts, both personally and professionally. In fact, your annual membership dues may be the safest investment to make in this economy.

Download the article "The Value of Professional Organizations" By Laura Raines for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution