Like many, I belong to a handful of professional associations. Recently, I attended a meeting where the chapter president said not once, but three times, how important it was for the organization to provide value. It stuck with me not only because he said it three times – but because the comments were genuine, not just some practiced speech about value so I would renew my membership dues.
It wasn’t until after the meeting I realized that I also have to take some responsibility for their value proposition.
I was on a plane traveling somewhere and catching up on my reading. This particular trip my reading included all of those “for members only” magazines you get with your memberships. You know, like AAA has a members’ only publication or Celebrity Cruises Captain’s Club has a cruise magazine.
Anyhoo, as I was thumbing through, it occurred to me that, if I never read this stuff, I would never know about the discounts the organization offers its members (aka me.) And if I don’t attend their meetings or conferences then I don’t get the benefit of what they’re trying to provide. Hmmm…
Being a member of something means the organization needs to provide value. We all get that. But the members of the organization need to be open to receiving it. Think about that. If you sign up as a member and never attend meetings, don’t read the emails, toss the publications in the recycling bin and skip their conferences – I’m not sure it’s totally the associations fault if you aren’t realizing the value they provide.
It’s not that they don’t provide value. The value is right there for the taking.
Before my little epiphany, it was easy to look at a membership renewal invoice and say, “What have they done for me lately?” and toss it. Now I’m going to ask myself, “Have I tried to take advantage of their offerings?” I need to pay a little more attention to get the full benefit they have to offer.
Granted, the outcome might still be to not renew…but at least I’ve done my due diligence to evaluate their value proposition.