A professional association is an organization composed of people who have chosen to pursue the same career or occupation or have a common goal. Many professional associations are organized around a specific profession, such as medicine or law, but others are general in nature and open to any individual with the required qualifications. As per a report, as of 2022, there are 11,078 Professional Organizations in the United States alone.
Most professional associations offer some combination of networking opportunities, educational resources, and advocacy on behalf of their members. Many also provide certifications or licenses that are required to practice in a particular field.
Joining a professional association can be beneficial for both individuals and businesses. For individuals, it can provide access to job openings, collaboration opportunities, and educational resources. For businesses, membership in a professional association can lend credibility and help them to connect with potential customers or partners.
Even if the cause of professional associations seem for the best interest, they face their own set of challenges. One of the challenges faced by professional associations is maintaining membership levels. As careers change and people move into different phases of their lives, they may no longer have the time or interest in staying active in an association.
You can read expansively about it, the challenges faced by associations, role of mentoring in associations, and even the secret sauce which will help associations maintain or welcome aboard new members. Let’s get going!
Also Read: How mentoring helps organizations flourish?
Challenges faced by professional associations
Maintaining a professional association often gets challenging. Let’s study those challenges briefly to learn more about it:
- Readily available information: Over the past few years, professional associations have been under high pressure to increase business and members. However, increasing business and members become difficult when certain sections of people have access to the information and services they need through the internet or other technological advances, without necessarily being members of a professional association.
- Revenue generation: Another biggest challenge facing professional associations is how to generate enough revenue to maintain their operations and support their programs. In many cases, this has meant looking for new sources of income outside of traditional membership plans.
- Membership retention: It can be difficult to keep members engaged and encourage them to renew their membership each year. This is especially true if the association does not offer many benefits or value-added services. As of 2019, more than half (57%) of the association professionals surveyed by GrowthZone identified member engagement or finding and retaining membership as their top concern.
- Recruiting new members: In order to grow, associations need to continually recruit new members. This can be challenging, especially if the industry is not growing or if there is a lot of competition. According to a study published in Harvard Business Review, recruiting existing clients is a tough task and getting fresh clients is 5 to 25 times more costly than retaining current ones.
- Meeting attendance: It can be difficult to get members to attend meetings; especially, if members are spread out geographically or have busy schedules.
- Online services: Professional associations are now competing against a wide range of online services and products that can offer similar benefits at a fraction of the cost. This is forcing many associations to re-evaluate their value proposition and find ways to stand out in the marketplace.
- Keeping pace with the technology: Professional associations are failing to keep pace with the ever-changing landscape of technology. Many associations are struggling to keep up with the latest trends and best practices. As a result, members are not getting the most out of their membership. Thus, associations need to do a better job to stay ahead of the curve and provide members with the resources they need to stay relevant in their field.
Why is mentoring essential for professional associations?
Mentoring is a process whereby an experienced individual helps a less experienced person to develop the new competence, skills, and behaviors necessary to achieve success in their chosen profession. As per a report, mentoring has long been recognized as a crucial aspect of enhancing professional competence.
Mentoring is essential for professional associations because it provides members with an opportunity to develop personal connections with experienced professionals who can advise them on their professional advancement.
Additionally, mentoring can help new members learn the ropes of the association and get involved in its activities. According to a survey, 70% of the 200 respondents agreed that mentoring positively influences their careers.
Furthermore, mentoring can help members of professional associations identify potential leaders and foster a sense of community within the organization.
Besides these, mentoring is essential for professional associations because it helps association members to:
- Develop an understanding of the expectations of those in higher levels of authority
- Develop self-confidence and a positive attitude toward career advancement
- Create a network of supportive peers and mentors
Also Read: How Important Mentoring Is in the Workplace?
How does mentoring align well with professional associations?
Mentoring can be extremely beneficial to professional associations in many ways as explained below.
Keeping financial problems at bay
Mentoring can help professional associations from financial problems in several ways. In fact, a mentor can be a valuable asset in helping professional associations to overcome financial difficulties and achieve stability. For example, a mentor can provide guidance on how to effectively manage finances and budgeting.
A mentor can also share their own experiences and wisdom on financial matters, helping the association to make more informed decisions. Furthermore, a mentor can help connect the association with other professionals and organizations who may be able to offer financial assistance or resources.
Mentoring can help association members to develop their careers as more seasoned professionals would provide deep insights into their respective professions. This can include tricks and tips on how to find new opportunities, progress within the association and become adept at work. Mentoring can also help members to build connections with other professionals, which can be beneficial for networking purposes.
Also Read: Benefits Of Implementing Employee Career Development Program
Helping members to stay relevant and up-to-date
The exchange of vital information and ideas between experienced and inexperienced professionals can be extremely useful for professional associations.
Experienced professionals can share their expertise with younger members, while younger members can bring fresh perspectives and ideas to the table. This exchange of information can help members to stay relevant and up-to-date.
Furthermore, by communicating with someone in their own field, members also get a thorough grasp of various business cultures, and they develop fresh perspectives to address an issue. This is corroborated by a report which emphasizes the advantages of mentoring to mentees, such as professional growth (36%), a greater grasp of business culture (30%), and the development of fresh viewpoints (27%).
Increase meeting attendance
Mentoring can help professional associations to increase meeting attendance in several ways:
- Tailored or personalized counseling: Professional associations offer a more personal way to connect with potential attendees. You'll get the chance to meet and interact with other like-minded individuals who have knowledge about your field and can help you grow. This way attendees can get tailored counseling that can help them navigate their careers. This can lead to increased communication and collaboration, which can ultimately result in more people attending meetings.
- Creating a sense of community: Mentoring can create a sense of community within a professional association. When members feel connected to one another, they are more likely to be engaged and participate in meeting activities. This sense of community can ultimately lead to increased meeting attendance.
Overcoming technology barriers
Mentoring can help professional associations to overcome technology barriers in several ways. For example, mentors can provide guidance on how to use new technologies, how to implement them effectively, and how to troubleshoot problems that arise.
Another instance is that a mentor could help an association develop a website or use social media to reach new members.
Mentoring can also help associations identify which technologies are best suited for their needs and how to implement them in a way that will benefit their members. By having access to mentorship and support, professional associations can make the most of technology and better serve their members.
Mentoring is an indispensable factor for professional associations because it helps transfer knowledge between generations, keeps the members’ outlook positive, attracts new members, scales the number of renewals and strengthens the relationships between existing members. Therefore, without further ado, now is the time to get started and develop a mentoring program for your association, as it offers a ton of benefits.
Mentoring Complete is one such platform that can ease up your responsibility of matching mentors to mentees within your association. Thus, consider integrating a mentorship program into your membership offerings if you’re hoping to bring a positive change in the lives of your members.. So, sign up today and let Mentoring Complete help you to build a more engaged and successful membership community in your association.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What are the benefits of mentoring for professional associations?
Mentoring can provide members with the opportunity to learn from experienced professionals and enhance members' skills and knowledge.
Q. How can professional associations find mentors?
Professional associations can find mentors by seeking out individuals who have experience in the area that the association focuses on, or by searching for individuals within their staff who are experienced. .
Q. How long does it take to develop a mentoring relationship?
Mentoring relationships typically develop over time and can take a few months or even years. It is important for both parties to be willing to invest in the relationship, and to be willing to give and receive feedback.