Ali Schwanke, Immediate Past President

Like well-priced stock with a growing company, a membership in a professional association is sure to pay dividends, right? After all, it promises excellent networking opportunities and access to high-level professionals that will send your career soaring to new heights.

Except, this isn’t necessarily true.

Consider what happens the first week of each year. Thousands of optimistic individuals pour into gyms and health clubs, eager to resemble the well-toned aerobics instructor or the personal trainer with the rock hard biceps.  They quickly sign on the dotted line and begin dreaming about six-pack abs and buns of steel.

But you and I both know that a gym membership doesn’t guarantee weight loss or a supernatural level of fitness. It takes effort and intentionality to see results.  The same is true for memberships within professional organizations.  The return is directly proportional to your level of effort.

So, because we love our members (and guests who are contemplating membership!), we want to offer you three strategies that will increase the return on your membership investment:

  1. Volunteer.  The Lincoln AMA is an organization that hosts regular events – you can volunteer once or multiple times throughout the year.  Helping with the monthly program check-in, for example, provides you with the opportunity to review the list of individuals who are attending the program, and speak with them as they are completing the check-in process. If you have mad organization skills and would like to build your repertoire of marketing topics, volunteer to lead a special interest group. This offers the opportunity to meet speakers, research content, build leadership skills and stay on the edge of new and exciting trends within the industry. Visit the Lincoln AMA website to learn more about how you can volunteer and experience givers’ gain.
  2. Connect with other members.  Once you join the Lincoln AMA, ask the membership director for introductions to other members within the organization. Schedule lunch or coffee with each of these people to learn more about their company, marketing experience, and how they leverage the AMA to achieve success.  Then ask these people to introduce you to others (and offer to introduce them to others as well.  Give – don’t just take)!  Join the Lincoln AMA LinkedIn Group and extend a greeting to those involved. Be intentional about building relationships within the AMA and soon you’ll be the “I gotta meet that guy” guy.
  3. Leverage national resources. Truth be told, this is often the most overlooked portion of Lincoln AMA membership.  The Lincoln chapter is merely an extension of a national organization with resources available for a variety of marketing disciplines.  By logging into the national website ( using your membership login and password (which you should have received upon joining), you’ll gain access to case studies, whitepapers, webcasts, podcasts, marketing plan outlines, marketing toolkits, social media trackers, and more.  It’s your one-stop shop to increase credibility and build wrinkles in your gray matter.  If you’re not sure how to access these resources, please let us know and we’ll connect you with someone who can help.

While these strategies will maximize the return on your investment, the list is far from complete!  Do you have additional suggestions for how members can get more out of the AMA?  We’d love to hear your feedback! Leave a comment and let us know what you suggest.