In regards to membership, President Theodore Roosevelt said, “Every man owes a part of his time and money to the business or industry in which he is engaged. No man has a moral right to withhold his support from an organization that is striving to improve conditions within his sphere.”

This quote is also the answer to,“Why should I belong to my professional association?”

Sometimes it’s difficult to remember why associations were created in the first place or that they are not just one more entity trying to sell you something and competing for your hard earned dollar. When we remember the roots of these organizations, we realize that people form associations within an industry because they see a need to band together to fight for common values and interests. If you are new in business, your professional association can be your best friend. They will help you navigate the bureaucratic and regulatory environment as well as the legal requirements of hiring employees in your particular industry.
In many cases advocacy is the most important service your association provides. A collective voice is the reason many organizations are formed. An organization is only as strong as the number of members represented. More members mean greater representation and bargaining power.In this political environment, it is important that you have a seat at the table or as we in the restaurant industry say, “Be at the table or be on the menu, your choice.”Besides giving back to and being a member of the association that is striving to improve conditions in your industry,many associations offer benefits beyond advocacy and networking for their members.
Don’t forget the added benefit of using greater numbers to negotiate better pricing and discounts from industry vendors. Check with your association to see what kind of benefits they have negotiated on your behalf. Professionalism is paramount to staying on top of the competition. Education is an important benefit most associations offer their members. Many times professionalism is measured by your commitment to continue your education on critical industry topics.
Staying on top of industry regulations and trends only happens through your association and many times important certifications and continuing education credits are issued through your association. Associations also keep you in touch with industry colleagues, both locally, nationally and internationally. Peer-to-peer learning and sharing are an invaluable benefit to belonging to an organization. Networking within your industry is easily accomplished by attending events,conferences and trade shows sponsored by your association.
Membership in your professional association should be a no-brainer. Can you imagine a doctor not being a member of the American Medical Association? This is your association run by folks just like you, with your best interests in mind. Yet so many are willing to let others pay the tab and do the work for them. Don’t be one of those people.
Join your professional association today. If you get involved and make use of the programs provided, I guarantee you won’t regret the decision.