People join professional associations for various reasons. Some join because they feel it gives them credibility. Others hope to attract new clients through the online directory. For many people, those are the only reasons to join, so they don’t see any benefit in actively participating in their association.
I’ve even heard some people say
Why would I want to go to a meeting? It’s not like I’m going to get any business out of it.
Those people are missing out! Not only can you learn a lot from networking with your colleagues, active participation in a professional association can indeed bring in business.
I became a member of Professional Organizers in Canada (POC) mainly for the reasons mentioned above, and although it was certainly worthwhile in both of these areas, my relationships with other members brought me far greater benefits than I could ever have imagined! Here are just a few examples:
- I received referrals from members in other regions who received inquiries from prospective clients in my area.
- I was hired by a member who specialized in home staging to organize her home office, and by a home organizer to help organize her email and computer files. Professional organizers don’t all have the same skills or offer the same services!
- Several organizers offered me subcontracting opportunities on projects that were too large for one person to manage alone, or where they needed someone with expertise in office organization.
- I was also able to bring in other organizers on my larger projects, or when I needed someone with expertise in home organization.
- One member left the organizing field to pursue other interests. This led to my being interviewed for a local radio show as well as an article in our local newspaper, which directly brought in new business.
Those things didn’t just happen because I paid my membership fee and stuck a logo on my website! I was very active in the association, attending Chapter meetings regularly and even serving on the National Board as Director of Membership for three years. During that time, the organization grew from fewer than 100 members to over 500, so I got to know hundreds of members, even if our only contact was by email. Even though I haven’t been a professional organizer or a POC member for several years now, I attribute much of my business success to the knowledge I gained and the contacts I made during that time.
If you’re new to the industry, I highly recommend you not only join, but actively participate in your professional association.
If you are involved with your professional association, please leave a comment to let others know the benefits you’ve experienced!
If you’ve decided professional association membership is not for you, please leave a comment to explain why.