- Professional development
- Information and statistics
- Standards, codes of ethics and/or certification
These benefits, along with others, help every member of an association become - and remain - more competitive. That along should entice current members to renew and non-members to join. Think about it - if I spend three, four or even five hundered bucks to have access to key information that helps me to make a profit and grow my business, I'd consider that a pretty great investment. But I actually think there may be one more reason people continue to join associations.
I believe associations provide a forum for people with similar interests to share their thoughts and ideals. As ASAE mentions, associations provide a community of interest. It's this romantic image of being a part of something bigger - that the collective voices of many can truly make an impact - that motivates a great number of members. Many individuals, particularly younger ones, are hoping to make a difference in their community, their industry and their world. With the vision and the mission and the benefits written in black and white, the gray of "possibilities" is what likely keeps the attraction to associations fresh.
If associations communicate these possibilities - tapping into emotional connections and identifying "what could be" - rather then just framing out the black and white details, I think people would be inclined to remain or become a member. And then "to join or not to join" is no longer the question.