Perhaps you have read about industry associations but wondered if they were worth your time and effort. You probably feel pulled in many directions already, and you may wonder about taking on yet another commitment. To help you decide, here are some of the benefits to joining an industry association.
1. Training and Certification
Industry and professional associations are a great place to access ongoing training and education. Some associations offer specialized training programs while others offer criteria for certification and validation. You can find opportunities to develop, refine, and expand your skills and knowledge or to receive association-backed certification. Associations can leverage resources to bring in expert trainers and offer leading-edge courses. Members can often suggest topics for training.
Networking is vital for the advancement of any industry. Bringing creative minds, ideas, perspectives, and experiences together leads to new breakthroughs. There is no easier or more intentional place for this to happen than within an industry association. The people you will network with in an association are already committed to improving the industry. They share a vision similar to yours. An association is also a place where people can learn and discover what you bring to the table, with your unique skills and experiences.
3. Staying up on Trends
The internet has created so many channels for news and communications. While this is beneficial in reaching more people with more information, it can also be hard to sift through everything. What are the latest trends you need to be aware of in your industry? An industry association can help. You will have access to what is most important. The association can bring you highlights of the latest news that impacts your industry. And you will be able to discuss and respond to these trends with other association members in a timely way.
4. Advocacy and Voice
One of the major strengths of industry associations are their ability to advocate for professionals and companies within the industry. Associations are able to educate consumers, regulators, and leaders of related industries on important aspects of your industry. You can help shape industry standards and policies that impact your industry. By bringing together a committed group of professionals and resources, industry associations are able to solve problems, set standards, and improve conditions within the industry. They are also able to advocate for a better future at the intersection of industry and society. As a member of the association you will benefit from this industry-wide advocacy and also have the opportunity to influence industry standards and developments. You will have a voice to shape the future of your industry.
What better and easier way to connect on collaborative projects than to join an industry association. When you become an active participant, you will have opportunities to interact with others of likeminded interest and focus. People who are attracted to industry associations are actively engaged in leadership, innovation, and implementation. You will find many opportunities to collaborate on cutting-edge projects that can benefit your business and shape the industry. You will be able to contribute to practical innovation and thought leadership in ways you might not find anywhere else.
Being an active member of a leading industry association boosts your professional credentials. Your membership speaks volumes about your commitment to developing your skills and expertise and improving the industry as a whole. Aligning with the right industry associations enhances your professional reputation and helps you stand out in your field. The better known you become by other association members, the more referrals you will have as well.
7. Inside Opportunities
Do you ever wonder how people get in on the best and latest opportunities? And why you always hear about them after the fact? An industry association can help you bridge that gap. Associations often sponsor sub-groups of people who collaborate with each other on specific projects. When people get to know you through an association, you will also be first on their list to contact when they have a new idea and need some help. Because people come to industry associations from a broad range of interests, you might have access to opportunities you wouldn’t otherwise. You might hear of situations you’ve never even thought to explore, and there may be an opening for you to participate.
8. Access to Resources
In the internet economy, many people work in isolated pockets with limited resources. Imagine bringing all of those resources together for collaborative projects. Industry associations are often the best source of information, knowledge, and access to particular skills and expertise. Associations are often able to leverage their membership rosters for special access to resources and other benefits. Because associations represent such a large membership population, they can open doors that individuals cannot.
9. Special Events
When you join an industry association, you will have access to the latest information on industry events. That alone is a convenience – to stay up to date on the best conferences and workshops. Many associations put on or sponsor events as well – from major conferences to smaller specialty workshops. Members often receive substantial discounts or special privileges, such as the ability to showcase products or services. You will be the first to learn about speaking opportunities as well.
10. Making an Impact
It’s always good to give back. An industry association has a collective voice to advocate for the industry, the economy, and society. This doesn’t just benefit the industry. As an association member, you can truly make a difference in how your industry impacts the well-being of people in your community and around the world. Associations open possibilities for innovation that transforms the economy. Many opportunities for investing in lives and communities come with association membership. You will see a tangible, real-world impact from your participation. You might also discover individual opportunities to make a difference. Perhaps you can speak at an association gathering; write an article for an association publication; teach a seminar; or share a case study. Associations often sponsor mentorship opportunities where you can invest in the next generation.
Whatever your reasons are for joining an industry association, you will no doubt discover even more benefits and opportunities than you ever expected. Join a membership association and explore and take advantage of the numerous possibilities.
By Janet Eriksson, BIG Writer