Signing up to a membership body or trade association and paying a fee may be deemed by some companies to be a “nice to have”, rather than an “essential cost”.
However what you can get back from being a member often covers the fee plus a lot more, not only in monetary savings, but in the advice, support and resources you gain access to.
In a time of economic uncertainty, membership bodies will have to ensure they are providing clarity on why they are worth a company parting with its money.
I believe that membership bodies, and becoming a part of one, is more important now than ever and here’s some reasons why.
Whichever membership body or association you’re looking to join, you can guarantee that like-minded individuals will be a part of it. Having a network of people from the same industry that you can reach out to is invaluable. Not only can you learn from each other, but when something as monumental as a pandemic happens, sometimes just having your own thoughts or concerns validated by someone in a similar situation can be reassuring.
At the NAS just a few of our benefits include savings with high street retailers, free unlimited credit checks, and discounts on industry publications as well as on fleet insurance with the AA. Something we are going to be implementing in the near future is an online savings calculator, so members can truly understand what their return on investment is. If you’re looking to sign up to a membership body or association but aren’t too sure what your company would be getting for its money, reach out so someone can talk you through it. Many members aren’t aware of just how much they can save, and cost savings right now are crucial.
Voice of their sector
Being part of an association or membership body provides the opportunity for you to have your say. Many have links with Government and other key stakeholders and are able to help bring about change and reform by lobbying on your behalf and sharing the collective voice of their membership. With the pandemic still looming, as well as Brexit deal uncertainty, now is a critical time for your voice to be heard on the things that will affect your business.
Badge of honour
Many membership bodies and associations have certain criteria that you must fit to become a member. This is to ensure quality of membership and offers a certain level of prestige if you get accepted. In some industries having the badge of honour from an association on your website or tender documents can help you win business, as it provides a level of verification that you are professional and trustworthy.
Promotion of your business
A large percentage of websites for associations and membership bodies include a list of their members, and sometimes this list is also included in a printed directory, both of which promote you and your company to a wider audience. You could also ask your association for ideas on how to extend your reach even further – perhaps they could reshare your social media posts, or you could collaborate with them on a blog or news story.
News and advice
One of the key parts of my role as a marketing and PR manager is to ensure our members receive the latest news pertaining to our sector. The rest of the team is then on hand to offer advice and answer any queries that may come about as a result. I often filter through news and dissect the key information I think our members need to know, saving them the time and effort of doing it themselves. This was particularly key when lockdown had just happened and there was a daily avalanche of announcements and schemes being shared everywhere. As a member of an association or membership body you’ll likely receive regular, relevant updates straight to your inbox as well as having access to a hub of information online.
The lifeblood of many membership bodies and associations – events are another place that you can receive information and insights. They offer the chance to network, hear from keynote speakers and often browse exhibition stands all in one location. Due to the pandemic face to face events aren’t currently happening, but I have no doubt that these will return with a bang at some point in the future. In the meantime many associations have adapted to provide webinars and online courses where members can still continue to learn and engage with others, albeit in a virtual way.
Many membership bodies and associations offer their own qualifications or can provide significant discounts on training with other suppliers, coming back to the key point of saving money wherever possible. The suppliers have normally been vetted first to ensure you are getting access to a quality trainer with all the right insurances and background checks. If you need help working out what qualification is best for you, you should also be able to get helpful advice on this from your membership body or association.
The National Association of Shopfitters are the UK's dedicated professional association for shopfitters, fit-out and interior contractors. Find out more at https://www.shopfitters.org/