Networking – A Real Value of Membership
At a recent association meeting, I met a first-time attendee whose goal was to bring one really good idea back to his company. Towards the end of the conference, after he had connected with other members, he told me he had five great ideas to bring back! This is the true value of networking, and it will keep your members coming back to your association time and time again.
When we speak to an association client about their organization’s value proposition, invariably we mention networking. Through networking, members broaden their knowledge base and make connections that foster both organizational and personal advancement. In addition, associations benefit from the new ideas that emerge when people involved with the core purpose of the organization come together in dialogue.
So, what should you tell your members about the value of your association’s networking opportunities? It should go something like this: Where else but in our association can you connect with and learn from the thought leaders and best practitioners in the industry? Association meetings are a platform where a vast amount of knowledge and expertise converge, and when these meetings also include networking and the sharing of ideas, everyone gains value and the industry or profession moves forward.
At TMG, we know this key value of networking first hand: in order to help us maintain the highest level of knowledge of association management practices, we belong to our own association. Yes, we belong to an association for association management companies!
Through this association’s many networking opportunities—meetings, workshops, committees, online forums, etc.—we have asked innumerable questions, offered our own expertise and best practices, and have ultimately become deeply involved with the greater association world. In fact, with all of the best practices learned and connections made, membership in this association was crucial as we worked toward and achieved our international accreditation as a certified association management company.
In short, the value of networking and knowledge received has made us a committed member in this association. By creating an environment rich in networking opportunities—and publicizing them accordingly—you too can nurture such commitment in your members. From both the perspectives of member recruitment and retention, opportunities for networking provide a tangible and unique value to your association.