In Part 1 of “Joining a Professional Trade Association” the benefits we discussed were the Competitive Advantage member’s gain by being part of a national association and Inside Access to Innovations and New Developments within the industry.
In Part 2, we’ll discuss Business Growth, Giving back to the Community and Having your Voice Heard.
Because you care so much about your career, you obviously want to be the very best. Professional associations foster your development by providing you with tons of learning opportunities. Many host webinars, workshops, training and countless other assistance for your business, and sometimes even your personal, growth.
Professional Development – Many associations offer professional development via courses, workshops, publications, and information on their website shared only with members. They also keep members up to date on industry trends and how to deal with them. Some organizations offer newsletters, downloadable files and information, and blogs or forums only accessible to members.
Networking – Most associations host or participate in annual conferences. This is an opportunity for you to mix and mingle with others in your field in both professional and leisure settings. There is also often a job fair where you can make contacts and stay up to date with the very people who hire – even if they’re not hiring right now. Opportunities to get close to manufacturers and see new technology often before it is even released are reason enough to attend trade conferences and conventions.
No One to Ask – If you are self-employed, or a part of a small department at your workplace, there may be times when you would like to know the opinion of others in your position. “Your employer or clients look to you as an expert in your field,” Lamb said, “but there are times when even an expert can use some good advice. Many associations have online message boards where members can ask each other questions or discuss various important topics.”
“As the saying goes, ‘No man is an island.’” he said. “Business people do not thrive when they are isolated from colleagues. Regular interaction leads to learning, personal growth, and career progression.” Stephen L. Lamb, executive vice president of the Mechanical Contractors Association (MCA) of Chicago.
Non-Profit – giving back to the community
Opportunities to give back to the community. Trade associations are a great way to continually learn and grow, but, that is reliant on members also sharing their experiences and expertise. You can use your membership to share your knowledge with other member businesses and promote a stronger sense of community cooperation. A great side benefit to doing this is that it positions you as an authority in your industry and among your peers!
Have your voice heard
Membership in a professional trade association means that you have a voice! Why not use it to make a difference. You can participate in committees that are of interest to you.
It’s amazing how much one piece of legislation can impact a profession. Members of a trade association often are among the first to be updated on changes in policy.
There’s strength in numbers. A national association, particularly one set up as a not-for-profit, can advocate for the profession and give members special pre-notification about how to prepare for any changes.
This blog post is intended to describe general benefits to joining a national trade association. The Certified Remote Pilots Association of America will strive to perfect these goals as well as many others, but we can’t do it alone. Join us now as a Founding Member and help make this possible!
– Eric Pensenstadler