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Massage Today
November, 2002, Vol. 02, Issue 11

Your Association Does More for You Than You Think

By Perry Isenberg

Many people are not keen on joining a professional association. They usually ask themselves, "What can the association do for me?" To those people, I ask you to think about it in reverse: What are you losing by not belonging to a professional association?

For one, you are missing out on a fabulous way to learn about the innovations of your profession and the unique benefits that membership can afford you.

Yes, dues are usually involved, there are qualifying criteria for membership, and meetings can be held at inconvenient times; not to mention the time and energy of traveling to the conventions. But beyond all of that, the support and opportunities professional membership offers outweighs any minor considerations to your schedule.

Associations were created by like-minded professionals who saw that support in numbers was the best way to advance their prospective professions. Associations afford several unique advantages for their members, the most vital being the upholding of industry standards and ethics. Associations also help members with educational and certification opportunities, perform market research, and highlight industry issues. In addition, they lobby on behalf of members on political issues; provide information and industry updates via newsletters and direct mailings; and conduct meetings that create camaraderie and sharing of ideas and issues. Associations also help members build their businesses by offering the educational and networking opportunities.

Do you belong to a trade association? Are you happy, and do you participate on a regular basis -- or do you just go through the motions and complain? Do you address your complaints to the governing board? If you never participate or speak up, you will never know if your complaint could have affected a change for the betterment of all members. I look at an association and its members as a partnership. The members and the governing board need to work together to bring positive change and growth to a profession. What a thrill it is to see an association grow from a handful of people to a large organization! That once-small group now has a voice in government that will voice its opinion when it sees something done that is not its benefit or liking. That group now has lobbying power. The small entrepreneur who did not know how to get information on human resources now may have access to a lawyer or even a good accountant through their association. Members often reach out to each other and provide assistance, creating camaraderie and friendship bound by their mutual respect for their profession.

Associations do their members a far greater benefit than one might think. By being with like-minded individuals, you can only grow and become a better professional. Remember, there is power in numbers. If you're a massage therapist and you do not belong to an association, you are missing a tremendous opportunity to impact yourself, future therapists and your profession.

Until next time, be healthy, be good, and stay focused and motivated.

Click here for previous articles by Perry Isenberg.


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