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What do people get when they sign up for an association, a union, a club, or any kind of membership organization? We know the benefits, the actual services they'll get for being a member, but what do they receive?

In other words, how is a group tangible?

Here's why this is important: when meeting another person, humans make eleven judgments about them in the first seven seconds, according to a study at NYU. Before you've even finished saying hello, the person opposite you has already judged your education level, trustworthiness, professional desirability, perceived credibility and more.

Customers are doing the same thing every time they make a purchase or join a group. When they commit to an association, they're looking for validation, some sort of return on the "What's in it for you" they were promised when being recruited.

Being an association representative isn't easy. You can talk yourself blue about all the great things the organization does - lobbying, insurance, collective bargaining - and inevitably, the potential member's eyes start wandering off, or they pull out their phone to catch up on the latest Facebook has to offer.

This is why someone invented member benefits. No matter what the core function of the association is, members are always going to need something a little bit more tangible. More often than not, these benefits are what make the difference in convincing someone to join, then convincing them to stay on as the years go by.

Discount programs are extremely popular for this reason. They make the "why you should join" conversation very simple.

It's after the holidays. We're all tired of finding little bits of wrapping paper stuffed in between the couch cushions. The kids are already bored with their presents. We just found Uncle Leo's spare set of dentures behind the toilet. On top of it all, we're broke.

Like a bad hangover, we're emerging from the holidays vowing to change our ways and never do that again.

The first step: find more money.

People are cutting costs wherever they can. Nearly 700,000 people cancelled cable in Q4/2013. Pay as you go phones are replacing expensive wireless contracts and seldom-used landlines. Memes like the "52 Week Double Money Challenge" have spread like wildfire through social media. And the public's demand for deals caused massive waves through the 2013 holiday shopping season.

Basically, if it doesn't have some sort of return, or isn't seen as a vital expense, then it's on the chopping block.member benefits

Today is February 29, and in case you've been hiding under a rock or are the Jodie Foster character "Nell," you're probably aware that today is a Leap Year day. In a perfect world, you'd be able to choose what you did with this day and it'd be a true free day. We asked marketing assistant Ashley Autry to help us poll some of our hardest working members, educators, to find out what they would do with a free, no-strings-attached 24 hours.

Educator Access Director Emily Hayes works with dozens of educator's associations and literally millions of teachers looking to save with Access discount programs. Occasionally an issue comes up that impacts both education and business. Social media definitely qualifies, and Emily has taken a look at the issue of social media in schools.

Posted by Brandon Carter on Aug 2, 2011 4:40:11 AM

Emily Hayes, Director of Educator Access, just got back from her trip to Gettysburg, PA for the PSEA (Pennsylvania State Education Association) Conference. During her visit, she was able to talk to educators about some new and exciting things coming their way. We asked her to do a quick recap.