The question of being a member of a Public relations association or society is a heavy one to answer. There are several PR associations, and the choice of which to join can be quite enticing. Being a member of all these associations is an easy but very cost-intensive task as a lot of money goes into their membership subscriptions and all other intricacies involved.
Before deciding which one you want to be a part of, you should consider the benefits of being a member of these professional bodies. The benefits of being a member of a professional body, among others, include the following:
Contributing to the profession: Being a member of these professional bodies gives you the opportunity to give back to the profession and industry at large. You can do this by participating in local and national committees, writing, editing and updating publications, articles and guides. You can also volunteer to speak at local and national events and conferences.
Network: As a member of a professional body, you get to meet notable people in your profession who can recommend and mentor you. These people can become your partners, sponsors, and you also get the privilege to mentor and recommend people. These people can refer you to new opportunities through word of mouth. You get to build constructive and respectful relationships.
Diversity in disciplines: The lines are getting blurry with the saturation of digital and social media trends. Communications, marketing communications, and Public Relations professionals are developing new skills in these intersecting professions. Being a member of a professional body gives you leverage to insights and knowledge from these disciplines.
Learning: There is always room to develop and improve in the profession. Being a member of a professional body aids you with learning, and you acquire certifications as proof. Thus, you get recognised. These associations usually offer their members opportunities to acquire practical experiences and skills which can contribute to their curriculum vitae which they do not have access to on a norm.
Support and advice: You get access to support and advice from your peers and mentors in the industry.
Ethics: As a member of a professional body, you are guided by the ethics, codes of conduct, guide of the professional body, which will guide you in the execution of your profession in the acceptable manner of the body.
Personal branding: Most professional bodies make great efforts to helping their members position themselves as thought-leaders and authorities in the field. They help them develop a digital footprint to improve their personal brand. Through the wide professional network, you can develop and perfect your elevator pitch to grant you access to several opportunities such as guest posting, speaking engagements, mentorship access, among others.
Other Benefits: You get access to discounted services, contract templates, limited free legal advice, discounted business and professional indemnity insurance, support for members who have issues with pay, conditions, and help with reclaiming fees.
If you are considering joining a PR association, here are questions to help decide which association to join:
Which organisation has the best value provision for my money?
What organisation would contribute to my career progression?
If I want to join more than one, which ones are complimentary?
The likelihood of wearing many caps simultaneously increases with the increasing industry changes and rising trends and the need to stay on top of them all. Following these changes can be quite a tough task, hence the need to choose a vibrant and solid PR association to help you stay accountable.
It is better off being a vibrant member of one association with measurable impacts than being an inactive member of more than one association. Being a vibrant member translates to maximising the opportunities available to you in the association. You can commence your association selection process by attending a few association events and researching the opportunities available to the members. This will help you with streamlining until you find the most needed and beneficial associations.

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