As do many of you, I belong to a number of membership organizations. I belong because each of these organizations provides me services and benefits that, in my estimation, exceed the cost of dues.
One of these organizations—one that I’ve been a member of for a couple of decades or more—recently announced a dues increase. When I read the announcement, it reminded me of a recent discussion about membership organizations and the value proposition. In short, if I perceive the value of the benefits that I enjoy from being a part of an organization meet or exceed what it costs me to join, then that’s a good value. If not, then the opposite is true.
The key in making this determination is the benefits of which I am taking advantage. When looking at this particular organization that just announced a dues increase, I take advantage of very few of the benefits that it offers.
I enjoy its publication and look forward to receiving it each month. I’m appreciative of the work the organization does to advocate for me in helping to ensure that I can continue to enjoy an activity without fear of some rule or regulation that would limit my ability to enjoy that activity.
These two benefits alone, out of the dozens that are offered, are worth the price of dues, but I also know that if I ever needed to take advantage of any of those other benefits that they’re there for me. That’s worth something.
The majority of AMA’s members can be broken down into two categories. Many have been modelers for decades and AMA members for nearly as long. They know the organization and believe in it because they’ve lived it. They know how their AMA membership has enhanced their ability to enjoy model aviation.
The second group is generally willing to join an organization if they believe that the value they receive from membership is equal to or greater than the cost of dues. They are typically younger, have busy lives, and their available recreation time is limited. They see membership as an investment and want to see a return on that investment.
AMA offers dozens of membership benefits. Not every member takes advantage of each, yet all benefit from some.
Make a list of all of AMA’s benefits. Some of the most recognizable include:
• AMA’s work to allow model aviation to remain free of onerous government regulation
• AMA acts as a liaison to government agencies
• The Disaster Relief Program that helps clubs faced with loss or damage to their flying sites as the result of natural disasters
• The Flying Site Assistance Grant Program that has helped clubs improve their facilities or purchase a permanent flying site
• The TAG Program that provides financial assistance to help clubs introduce model aviation to others in their communities
• The Legal Defense Fund that provides financial assistance to help clubs overcome the threat of losing flying sites
• Subscriptions to AMA’s Model Aviation and/or Park Pilot magazines
• The Charles H. Grant Scholarships
• AMA’s Education Outreach
• A structured system of competition rules and a sanctioning process that helps manage more than 2,400 club events each year
• The only organization in the country that represents model aviation at the international level through the NAA and FAI.
Then add a significant benefit, the one most members think of first when asked about AMA: the liability insurance protection AMA provides to each member. This excess coverage is well above what most of us individually carry and provides peace of mind.
Possibly more important is the primary protection each of our chartered clubs can offer site owners. This benefit has allowed hundreds of clubs access to flying sites that they might not otherwise have. To complete the list, add the dozens of other benefits too numerous to mention, that are also included with membership.
Now that you’ve compiled a list, place a dollar value next to each item that would represent the value of this benefit to you. Values will be different for every member. Some members feel certain benefits have no value to them while others may place a high value on that same benefit.
After you’ve assigned values, go back and add them up. If the number is greater than the cost of your dues membership, then AMA is a good value for you. I truly believe most will find that AMA membership is a great value.
See you next time.[dingbat]