Brit Bertino, president of the Wedding Industry Professionals Association, shares tips on making the most of membership in a professional association
Congratulations! You’ve done your research, you’ve networked, you’ve met people and decided to make it official and join an association. So the question now becomes: What do you do with the membership? Here are three smart ideas:
#1 Get involved.
Now that you are a dues-paying member, the last thing you want to do is waste your time and money by not doing anything with it. Attend the regular networking events, volunteer to help out where you can, meet as many people as you can and make friends with other members. Just because you’ve joined the association does not mean your networking days are over! If anything, it’s your chance to really take advantage of networking opportunities that you may not have had access to before.
If networking isn’t enough, consider joining a committee. Committees are a great way to connect you to the organization’s mission and members at a deeper level. Take a look at what committees are available to join and decide where your skills can be best put to use. When you do join, don’t waste everyone’s time by being a fair weather member and contributing nothing. Dedicate time and effort to show others that you want to make the organization better and that you’re committed to the cause.
#2 Become a leader.
Becoming a leader will connect you at a higher level, not only to your local chapter but to the national association as well. After you’ve become comfortable with being on a committee and have gotten to know more people, go ahead and apply for a leadership position in your local chapter that you feel you could excel at. Again, show dedication and commitment to your role. Be innovative with your ideas and take the association to the next level to the best of your ability. These are the skills that will make people see you as an industry leader, and help propel you to the national level.
#3 Consider sponsorships.
If you’re looking for some direct marketing, sponsorships are a great way to get your brand directly in front of the right audience. In addition, you will be helping out the association by contributing financially to put on an event! There are usually several different sponsorship levels to choose from, from sponsoring the entire event (which will get you maximum number of benefits), to having signage posted at certain areas of the event.
If you’re new to the association, it can be a great way to introduce your brand to people, and a great way to kick off your relationship to your local chapter.
Your association membership experience is what you make of it. You have to take the initiative to get involved and get the most out of it you can. Remember why you joined in the first place--it probably wasn’t to sit back and watch but to help grow your business and connect with more people in your community.
Brit Bertino, CSEP, is the president of the Wedding Industry Professionals Association, an organization that brings together top wedding professionals across the U.S. for continuing education, networking and collaboration. She is also the owner of Brit Bertino, Event Excellence as well as Simply Weddings Las Vegas and The Totty Belt, with offices in Las Vegas and Santa Monica, Calif. She was just listed on latest Special Events "25 Young Event Pros to Watch."
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