By Kevin Dennis, Fantasy Sound Event Services
Whether you’re new to a market or you’ve been in the area for years, joining a local chapter of an industry association could be the game-changer you’ve been looking for. In addition to regular networking meetings, membership comes with a number of benefits to your business.
Let’s walk through the process of becoming a member of an association.
Membership to a community of like-minded individuals has a lot to offer. First and foremost, a majority of local chapters host quarterly or even monthly get-togethers for industry peers to network and share ideas, stories and thoughts. Oftentimes, these events are paired with education and can be a great chance to learn from renowned speakers.
Keep in mind: Although you’ll be a member of a local chapter, you’ll also hold membership to the national organization as a whole which may bring a tier of additional benefits like discounted tickets to national conferences and the opportunity to visit other chapters.
How To Choose
There are quite a number of options out there and if you’re just starting out, I’d encourage you to begin by choosing the one that suits your brand and business needs the most. You can always become more involved as time goes on, but it’s best not to overwhelm yourself early on.
Start out slow and build upon your participation until you’re happy with the return. As for picking the right association to join, it all depends on who you are, what your company is all about, and what direction you’d like your business to grow. Do your research and first determine what networking groups are available to you. Then, begin breaking down each so you know what your investment is, as well as your return. Each group will offer different concentrations and unique networking opportunities, so judge them on what they can bring to your table.
Maximizing Your Membership
So, you’ve been going to every networking event, and although you’ve met some really great people, you aren’t quite seeing the return you were looking for. It happens! If you’re looking to boost your membership, it may be time to look into committee roles to see if there’s a spot in which you can share your knowledge. Whether you think the membership committee is a great option or the programs committee seems more up your alley, find an ideal fit and reach out to the committee chair to look into openings. Down the line, a role on a committee could turn into a leadership role, so be prepared to invest yourself in your future.
You can also look into sponsorship opportunities. Each event that is held by a chapter is typically put together by its members – venues, photographers, caterers, florists, designers and the like are all welcome! If you’d like to show off your work in front of your peers, get in touch with the programs coordinator to find out more information. In addition to boosting brand recognition, this is also a great way to bring in vendor referrals.
Although it may seem like a big task to take on, joining an association membership can transform your business – as long as you know what you’re doing. Take some time to be diligent in your search and don’t be afraid to ask questions!
Kevin Dennis is the owner of Fantasy Sound Event Services, a full-service event company based in Livermore, California. Dennis is the current chapter president for Silicon Valley NACE, and the immediate past national president for WIPA.