Selling the value of your organization’s membership can sometimes be tricky. What are potential members looking for? What will retain them? What will keep them actively engaged?

Earlier this month on, Patrick Hull gives professionals four reasons they should join trade and professional associations. Conversely, as one of the associations professionals are considering joining, it is your responsibility to highlight how you meet these needs.

Excerpted from Hull’s article, here are the four benefits professionals should be looking to their associations to provide:

  • Education: Associations offer a variety of educational opportunities from webinars to national/international conferences. I’ve found that the educational resources alone pay for my membership. Educational topics can include trends, best practices, new techniques, etc. Some associations will even provide training programs and materials for employees. I’ve received at least a dozen cost saving tips over the years from association conferences and newsletters, meaning they’ve more than paid for themselves.
  • Research: Many associations conduct market research and analysis on their specific industries. White papers and research reports can offer great insights and have helped me stay ahead of others. By pooling resources from members, these associations can provide materials that benefit everyone in the group.
  • Advocacy: Perhaps one of the most overlooked benefits of a trade association is the advocacy. When you become a member, you have an organization dedicated to protecting and advancing the needs of your industry. I believe that as the fortunes of my industry rise, so does my business. Having a dedicated team to lobby and advocate on your behalf is powerful. Plus, an association membership is a lot less expensive than trying to hire even one lobbyist yourself.
  • Networking: This might seem obvious, but associations offer the chance to connect with others in your industry. I’ve engaged in a number of lucrative business relationships through association memberships. You can learn from others in your industry and could even create alliances or partnerships. I’ve teamed up with similar companies from around the country to expand the reach of some of my businesses. I also believe that the most successful entrepreneurs aren’t afraid to network with competitors. Associations offer a bridge to communicate with competitors in a collaborative environment.