Associations, Chambers and Groups
Associations, chambers of commerce and business groups are formal organizations of people or groups of people who band together for a common purpose to work together to pursue goals and interests.
Put simply, associations are groups of people who find strength in numbers while sharing common interests in industries, professions, charities, hobbies, or philanthropic action.
Associations are founded upon the principles of democracy, volunteerism, and common interest that are the heart of the American experience. By definition, associations exist for the mutual enrichment and advancement of their members.
They call themselves a host of names--associations, organizations, federations, alliances, institutes, guilds, societies, foundations, clubs, congresses, coalitions, centers, networks, unions, chambers, bureaus, fraternities, or sororities. Although they come in many shapes and sizes, they are all associations, sharing the twin goals of helping their members and advancing society.
America is a nation of joiners. Nine out of ten adults belong to at least one association, reveals a 1998 study by AARP. According to figures by Gale Research, today more than 140,000 associations exist in the United States (at the national, international, regional, state, and local levels) representing nearly every industry, profession, charity, hobby, cause, and interest.
Many associations are volunteer-run with no paid staff. While cities may provide office space for big national associations, there are three times as many local associations located outside urban areas.
In virtually every community, associations are going about their business, like local farm bureaus, hobby clubs, chambers of commerce, Rotary clubs, the American Legion, 4-H clubs, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and hundreds more. Depending where you live, dozens of local associations can be found right in your own town or neighborhood.
Associations are a great to meet people in many networking situations. Also associations are perfect for introducting your products, services, practice and ideas to a large group of people at one time. Simply joining you are added to the associations directory of members and many times you can place low cost ads in the associations directory. And, you’ll also be added to the associations online directory give you even greater exposure of your business.
There are some great reasons for joining one:
· Professional associations publish journals and/or newsletters (which often are a benefit of membership) are helpful to:
o Keep you up-to-date on issues and developments in your field. If you are interviewing, this can be invaluable information!
o Show you who the "movers and shakers" are in your field.
o Tell you out about companies--or individuals--with whom you would like to work.
o Offer information about upcoming conferences and professional development opportunities.
· With your membership, you will often have access to other member information. Contacting someone in your field as a fellow member of the association may open many doors.
· Professional associations often have some mechanism for product and service listings. This could be a "classified" section in the journal or newsletter, a section on a web site, or a separate publication available to members only.
o As a member, you will be eligible to attend the group's conferences. Whether at the state, regional, or national level, professional conferences offer excellent opportunities to:
o Build your network of professionals in the field.
o Learn the latest developments in your field.
o Take professional courses and seminars.
Professional membership is an excellent addition to your networking! There are few better ways to show your serious commitment to the group of like minded people.R32;Local chapters of associations often sponsor programs, maintain networking groups, and provide other valuable advantages.
Most associations provide an enormous amount of access to resource information such as: case studies, articles, white papers and books written by experts in your field or area of interest. Also, major journal, magazine and newsletter access is provided as a part of many membership privileges.
A recent national study reveals that membership in a chamber of commerce can significantly boost a business's image among consumers, as well as other businesses.
In a scientific survey of 2,000 U.S. adults, The Schapiro Group, an Atlanta-based strategic consulting firm, found positive perceptions of chamber members in a number of areas, including overall favorability, consumer awareness and reputation, and likelihood of future patronage
The study showed that when respondents were told that a particular business was a member of a chamber, they were 44 percent more likely to rate it favorably than study respondents who were not told of the chamber affiliation. Respondents were also 63 percent more likely to want to purchase goods or services from a small business that is a chamber member.
Join a local, regional or state association or chamber today!
Budget: $50 - 250 per month