Friday, November 20, 2009

The 3 Most Important Benefits I Get For My Membership Dues

I just spent a couple of days in Providence, RI, with ASAE & The Center association leaders and I have come away from it with more connections, knowledge, and motivation to help get me revved up again to live life like I mean it. If anyone wants to know what they get for their membership dollars, I can tell you what my membership dollars pay for:
  • Knowledge - The listservs, section councils, education sessions, publications, and other ongoing communications that add to the overall industry knowledge that is available has helped me from the very beginning of my association career. Much as the platform for the listserv conversation needs to be made more efficient, it was the first ASAE product I was drawn into and it provided the most learning for me in the early days. It also helped acquaint me with some of the big names in the association world.
  • Connections -I love the Annual Meeting, with all of its ups and downs, because I get to learn from the most experienced and interesting minds in the community in the hallways and at the social functions. I back up what Jeff Hurt said recently about challenging conference attendees and speakers to put more effort into making the best of the learning sessions and opportunities available for teaching at the meetings. I have never walked away from a conference or workshop without learning something extremely valuable to help me do better in my career and for the industry. The times when I have learned the least have been when I haven't participated as fully as I should have in one way or another.
  • Experience - ASAE & The Center has afforded me the opportunities to volunteer for councils, task forces, and all kinds of activities which have enabled me to learn detailed data about studies related to my work and have helped me to hone a variety of leadership skills. Through my volunteer efforts I have been able to fully embrace the importance of what all of us do for our organizations' members and in that way I think I will always find myself evangelizing membership. Passion is not too emotional of a word to use.  If a person isn't passionate about their industry, learning, career, community, money, or anything else influenced by the power of an association; then what else? 
While I was at the ASAE & The Center Leadership Retreat I received valuable career advice from friends who make hundreds of dollars per hour for consulting. This isn't the first time that has happened (and I'm fairly certain it won't be the last). But what am I giving back to ASAE as a result of their help in making this exchange possible on an ongoing basis?
  • My energy and time - Because of ASAE & The Center's investment in me, I am going back to my council (I am vice-chair for the Component Relations Section Council) with a new commitment to helping the rest of the group get the most out of their time as possible by leading in a way that will help them and the Society.
  • My money - I recently donated to the Annual Fund for Research & Innovation and I am going to be posting and tweeting occasionally about this on an ongoing basis to see if I can get my friends to do it, too.  [I'd like to check in with ASAE and see if there is a way that I could prove to ASAE that the association blogger and Twitter community can put up some serious dough...maybe get a code and more price points at which to donate online ($100 is the least amount you can donate easily online right now) so that we could show our strength. I'll let you know if anything like that comes together. :)]
  • My attention - I will care about ASAE. I will talk about ASAE. I will share news about ASAE and with that attention others will see how much value I place with my involvement. If people see how much I get from my experience, then maybe they will join or participate more, too. This may seem like the most passive of the three ways I am giving back, but it could be the most valuable in the long run.
What do you get from your memberships? What do you give back?


  1. KiKi, I'm so glad to hear you had a good experience in Providence--it was great to see you there! Just speaking as one of the folks taking notes during the retreat, I'd say that I was blown away by the energy, passion, and ideas I heard throughout the day. ASAE & The Center is extremely lucky to have members like you and the rest of the attendees there.

  2. Hey KiKi, it was great to see you in Providence. I'm glad we got to spend some time catching up and having fun. Thank you for joining me in supporting the foundation - and putting out the challenge for others to do the same! You totally rock! Cyn

  3. Nice post KiKi. Thanks for the shout out too.

    Sounds like Providence was a great event experience. Now, how to translate that experience for all ASAE members?

    Here's another million-dollar rhetorical question that everyone is asking: Can you get your top three top benefits from other sources today free? Do you have to pay for it?

    IMO, everyone will answer that question differently depending upon his or her experiences. I think associations are being forced to find new ways to add value to the membership dollar. This week alone I received six offers from different associations all vying for my membership dollar. Where will I put it?
    a) Where I can get the most value for dollar.
    b) Where I can get exclusive high-level content that is very unique for the price of my membership dollar and without paying another fee (and while the association gives away entry level content free to the general public
    c) And where I can contribute to the profession and cause.


Thanks for your comments!