The benefits of joining a professional association are numerous. The specific benefits provided by each trade association may differ, but one that is generally the same across all professional associations is the ability to enhance credibility in the eyes of the consumer. Most trade associations provide their logo for members to use on stationery and, often, commercial vehicles. Due to the fact that professional associations will usually implement strict quality standards and codes of practice for membership, the recognised mark of an association may increase consumers’ confidence.
Most professional associations provide various benefits for members, which are included in the membership fee. These benefits can be numerous, and differ depending on the association. Some common benefits, provided by professional associations, are as follows:
Enhanced exposure to consumers
Various discounts on industry-relevant services and travel
Technical advice and support
Access to industry schemes
Free or discounted membership with related organisations
Industry training courses and certification
Free subscriptions to industry publications
Events, seminars and conferences
Some associations may not offer all of the above benefits, while others may offer far more than those listed. Another factor, which will have bearing on the benefits offered, is the level of membership. Many associations have various categories of membership, all offering different access to services. The category to apply for will usually depend on the professional person’s status in the industry, whether training in preparation for future involvement, currently working in the industry, or now retired.
Many professional associations endeavour to help members in their business productivity and overall success. This means that there is often a wide range of resources and services available to members, which non-members do not have access to. Similarly, many associations work to improve knowledge and technical expertise of members, in order to improve standards of practise throughout the industry. This often means that members can take part in industry-relevant training, or submit employees for training at discounted rates. There are also many associations that have their own certification schemes, which may only be accessible to members.
In many cases, a professional association will base membership fees on the annual turnover of an applicant. This means that membership can be made affordable for most companies or trades people, wishing to apply. Many associations, which have various levels of membership, will also charge different fees for each membership category. This sometimes means that an applicant may choose the category and services that they can afford. Professional associations are usually not-for-profit organisations, and this often means that the benefits and services provided with membership are worth the fee that is paid.