What’s In It For Me?
I paid $7,000 for my 2005 Dodge Stratus 11 years ago. It had 3,000 miles on it, and the salesman told me that every one of those 3,000 miles were put there by a kindly gentleman who transported the elderly back and forth from a senior care facility to the grocery store.
When I went to borrow the money to buy the car the bank did not believe me when I told them the asking price. They made me provide extra documentation about the car’s background. I would tell you where I bought it but that car now has 140,000 miles on it and I am in the market for a new car. I plan on contacting the same guy, if he is still in business, and I do not want you buying my next car before I buy it.
I liked this car guy. I liked his approach to selling cars. Selling cars was not his main business. It was a side business. He told me he would only sell a car if he came across a quality vehicle that he could make a little money on while at the same time helping someone out. He did not believe in huge markups. He wanted to treat people fairly. He was not only always on the lookout for a good car; he was also always on the lookout for good people who needed cars. He wasn’t going to sell junk, and he wasn’t going to sell to someone he didn’t like. He was in the business of connecting good people with good cars.
I could never be a salesman but if I was, I would try to be a salesman like that. Who would not buy a car from someone like that for the rest of their lives every time they needed a car? People like that are hard to find.
As a car buyer, I am very selfish. I want something great looking that is fun to drive. I want a specific color, low mileage, and easy maintenance. I do not want a high monthly car payment. If I was a salesman, I would not want me as a customer. I expect a lot and I expect to pay very little for it.
That is me. That is how I buy cars. That is how I buy a lot of things.
However, that is NOT how I buy professional association memberships for our in-plant. Being part of a professional association like the Association of College and University Printers (ACUP) or the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association (IPMA) is not an endeavor that can be approached selfishly. The very definition of the word association implies community and selflessness. We join associations like ACUP and IPMA not just because we get something back but because we have something to give to others. We share our knowledge, our experience and our common objectives.
If you are a member of a professional association, I truly hope you are actively participating in that association’s activities. If you are not, you are not just hurting yourself, you are hurting others. We are not benefitting from your membership if you are not contributing. We need to hear from you. We need to learn from you. We can all be stronger if we are working together.
IPMA has recently employed a part time sales person to assist with growing our membership base. Her name is Amy Banker and you may get a call or an email from her. (Or maybe she will hear from you? Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org) She will do her best to sell you on the benefits of joining IPMA. There are many. There are also benefits to joining associations like ACUP and NACUMS. But the biggest benefit to being part of an association — the most important benefit — is that you are actively participating in that membership because that makes us all better at what we do.
Rates for association memberships vary and are sometimes negotiable. For more information be sure to look carefully at each association’s respective website. Here are a few I recommend looking into:
Check them all out. Call them. Ask for references. Above all else, join an association that provides you with real opportunities for you to contribute.
Dwayne Magee is now in his 15th year as director of Messiah College Press and Postal Services. His department was recipient of the 2018 IPMA Organizational Impact Award, the 2015 IPMA Innovation Award, the 2017 ACUP Green Service Award, and the 2015 ACUP Collaborative Service Award. Prior to joining Messiah, he worked for 17 years at Alphagraphics as an assistant manager and ISO coordinator. He is president of the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association. He is currently an English major (part-time) with a concentration in writing at the college where he works. Outside of work, Dwayne enjoys exploring spiritual, environmental and social concerns through creative writing and the arts. He can often be found speaking on the topic of diversity in bookstores, public libraries and elementary schools, where he makes use of his award-winning children’s book “A Blue-Footed Booby Named Solly McBoo.” His travel writing and fictional essays have made appearances in various publications including the Northern Colorado Writers Anthology and the Goose River Anthology published by Goose River Press. Dwayne is the father of two boys (age 24 and 20) and he resides in Mechanicsburg, Pa., with his wife Sue and their two dogs. Contact him at: DMagee@Messiah.edu