Mike Gatti, senior vice president for member relations at the National Retail Federation in Washington, D.C., offers this three-step approach.
How can I optimize my affiliation with a business association?
Get engaged. It’s not enough to just sign up and read the newsletters. “Really get involved,” Gatti says. “Join a committee that has something to do with your discipline and your company.”
Get educated. Take advantage of all the information associations provide -- most of it’s online and free. “One of the things trade associations do is conduct research on various issues facing the industry,” Gatti explains. “If you don’t take advantage of that, you’re wasting a lot of your membership dollars.”
Get familiar. Learn who’s who on the association staff. “When you spend money on your membership, you’ve got a team of people working for you and your industry,” Gatti says. “The ones who get the most out of our organization are the ones who know us and interact with us.”