Many of you who know me are aware I’m pretty sold on the value of membership in the Public Relations Society of America. I’ve had enough questions about it that I thought I’d explain some of the reasons why.
- Friends – the real kind. The kind you’ll do almost anything for and they’ll reciprocate. From Fairbanks to Miami and hundreds of points in between, my real life friends are there for me just like I’m there for them. We help each other learn and grow professionally and personally.
- Learning – Webinars, in-person sessions, conferences, locally and nationally. Ethics and advocacy in areas of concern to the profession. There’s access to information and resources. PRSA’s online directory leads you to other members who can help you answer whatever challenge comes your way. Its search function is amazing.
- Recognition – Accreditation, College of Fellows, Silver Anvils and local award programs that recognize work and personal achievement
- Mentoring – Kind of fits with the friend and learning sections, but the protégés I work with teach me on a regular basis. And, when I offer them advice, I know they appreciate it as well.
- Networks/Communities – More than 100 local chapters and nearly 20 sections as well as PRSA’s JobCenter can link you to resources you need in your market or another
You can see from this list that I’ve done more than pay my annual dues to PRSA. And, that’s critical because by actually joining and participating I’ve gained benefits that last a lifetime. The Wall Street Journal had an article this week about successful solo professionals. I attribute a lot of my success to the professional network I already established before going out on my own.
The argument against PRSA normally reverts to cost. If you break it down, your PRSA membership is less than $.60/day – less than $5/week. You probably spend $5 coffee every day so why not invest in your career instead? It will certainly reap more rewards.
Obviously, I’m a fan of PRSA but you may have another organization that’s stronger in your market or fits better with your career goals. It really doesn’t matter as long as you join and then participate. I’m confident you won’t regret it.
Disclaimer: Mary is currently a member of the PRSA Alaska Chapter Board of Directors and an officer in PRSA’s College of Fellows. She is also a past member/officer of the PRSA nationally.
Photo Credit: Albert Chau