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Why Belong to An Association?

Author Unknown – Republished in October 1981 Pea Vine Newsletter

Too many times I’m asked, “What do you get out of joining your association?” Or “What can your association do for me?” Theodore Roosevelt put it very aptly when he said, “Every man owes part of his time and money to the business or the industry in which he is engaged. No man has a moral right to withhold his support from an association that is striving to improve conditions within his sphere.”
“What can an association do for me?” This is a logical question. Frankly the answer for me has never been easy. It’s tough to tell someone that the association can’t do anything for you, nothing… nothing at all. But, with you, (with your support, experience, co-operation, etc.) the association can set the world on fire. Does your business do anything for you? Only if you do something for it. Your investment of time, talent, and money into your business is what makes it pay off for you. Your time and talent are by far the most important factors in making your business realize its potential. You can drop ample amounts of money into a business and never make a dime, or you can start with a wheelbarrow and a shovel and eventually grow to be a multi-millionaire. It all depends on how you apply yourself to your business.
The same holds true for associations. Your dues dollars represent an investment, just as they do in ones business. Certainly your dollars can provide some service without your participation. But, for you to get the most out of the association and for the industry to develop a strong healthy operating climate it takes your investment of energy and talents. Any association needs the support and involvement of its membership to be successful. It needs the involvement of all members to formulate plans and requires the physical effort of its membership to put the plans into operation. The benefits that you receive from your association don’t just happen. They are the results of a total of hard work and effort by the great number of individuals who devote time and energy to get the tasks done.
It is the combined efforts of the membership, taking the many individuals and forming them into a cohesive mass that gives the group power. Only when an industry works as an united front can one expect to find significant results from their association. Definitely there is more to association membership benefits. One, the benefit to your personal business. I contend, that given equal costs and quality, association members will generally prefer to do business with other association members. I am willing to bet that your involvement in an association will more than offset the cost of dues and the costs associated with participating. Every meeting I attend I hear “Do you have…” the answer either yes or no usually leads to some kind of sale. Often I hear, “Sure, I have that” and the standard reply is, “Great, I’ll be over to take a look at them.” The benefits of associations are many and varied. You can even derive something from membership by not participating. But, to get the greatest return on your dollar you have to invest your time and talents.
Associations are your insurance policy for insuring a better future for your industry. Our industry has many potential problems in the areas of production costs, product marketing, quality control, customer relations, etc. If you were to face these alone you wouldn’t last long. But as a part of an association you have a fighting chance. This is the time to check your neighbors and make sure they are members.

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