Association membership has its benefits

by Kevin Slimp, February 2008

Association membership has its benefits
A funny thing happened to me the other day. Not “ha ha” funny - interesting funny. My wife, who directs a non profit counseling program here in Knoxville, called to say she had just learned that the organization that funds her program is sending several secretaries to an InDesign class being held at a downtown hotel next month.

What struck me as funny, or maybe it was interesting, was the price they were paying to send each person: $650. Yes, $650 per secretary.

She called me because she thought this was an awfully high price to charge for an InDesign class. Then she asked, “Do groups charge that much when you go to teach InDesign?”

I suspect you already know the answer to that one. I asked her how many secretaries they were sending to the training event. She said, “Six that I know of. But there are probably a lot more than that.”

Gang, I’m in the wrong business. A little calculating in my head led me to believe that her group was going to spend a minimum of $3,900 to attend that class. Just so you know, I told her that I’d be happy to take a day off and provide the secretaries a day of InDesign training. And they could keep their $3,900.

The first thing that came to mind after I hung up the phone was all the training that newspaper associations and other groups provide for their members. A while back I tallied up the number of newspaper associations I’ve led training events for over the past few years. It came out to somewhere around 60 associations. Some were national, others regional or statewide. Some were in the United States. Some were in other countries. But it seems to me that all of them had one thing in common: the desire to offer quality, affordable training to members who were hungry to improve their papers.

I hope newspapers never forget the value of their associations. Instead of spending $650 to attend a class that’s not even structured with newspapers in mind, association members find training through various regional and national associations for less than they’d spend taking the family to the movies (with some popcorn and drinks). OK. I got that off my chest.