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Why should you belong to an association? For most people considering purchasing a membership, what this question really means is, what will I get out of belonging to an association? Will the money be worth it? What an association gives to its members is carefully coordinated and offered so that members receive the most benefit. These benefits span from saving money to upholding an important piece of legislation.

Be fully informed before non-member competitors.

We are on information overload these days, and information can make it to us in a variety of ways from a variety of sources. An association has curated, dependable content that would be of highest relevance for you. You come to know about legal battles or upcoming changes before your non-member competitors, which enables you to act (if needed) and adapt more quickly. You’re “in the know.”

Affect change at the highest levels.

There is always change. Sometimes for the better. Sometimes for the worse. That change doesn’t just happen. Your association is your advocate in governmental affairs to help preserve or defend legislation that works or doesn’t work to your benefit. Associations work with legislatures all the time. By belonging to an association, you help turn up the volume – and you have the opportunity to voice opinions to people who will listen and bring those concerns to the people who make the policies and laws. If you feel so inclined, you can get even more involved and be a “boot on the ground.”

Save money.

Many associations have relationships with suppliers, which in turn offer discounts simply because you are a member of that partner association. These suppliers could be for goods, such as office supplies or grocery items; or services, such as legal advice. Also, members get discounts on advertising (specialized lower rates) for any large-scale communication by the association, such as magazines and email newsletters. These discounts usually justify the cost of membership.

Boost your reputation.

Membership means something, and frankly, it impresses people when they realize you’re a member of an organization – especially if the organization has a standout reputation. You become affiliated with that reputation and good will. In turn, you make the association brand into something special, too, by how you act and conduct business.

Access membership directories.

Only members are included in association directories, which could come in the form of a printed publication, a digital publication, or both. Sometimes, associations are affiliated with other larger, similar associations, which will publish member directory information at their level, too, which is double the exposure for your business. Printed publications and digital publications spread your brand and gets it in front of consumers who are most likely to be interested and take action.

Access to free marketing material.

Many associations provide marketing materials such as flyers, posters, and scripts that you can download and use in your own business. The content is focused on your industry or a special event, and includes the association logo, showing a member’s affiliation. This material is created to help members save time and resources while also helping them promote the benefits of their business or industry, or to tout a special event.

At the very heart of membership though, is the willingness and desire to connect with others in your industry and affect the future of your industry in a way you can’t do on your own. What you get out of an association depends on what you put in to the association – and that includes taking advantage of the suite of benefits the association provides. Then, joining will definitely be “worth it.”