By: Karen Nelson
Professional organizations have had some rough years. Their international enrollment is on the decline and even domestic membership is not increasing, so are they archaic, not worth their enrollment fees or are they a key to success? I am not addressing the Chamber of Commerce enrollment as we can all attest to its advantages but rather profession specific organizations. The answer is not simple. What it takes is due diligence on the part of the subscriber.
You can network through professional organizations, but social media has provided a growing tool for that so if you see networking as the only or even the most important advantage to professional organization membership you may be wary. Some professions require accredited courses on an ongoing basis to keep their license current, or need specific classes that enhance their skill set to open the doors to earning more. Pick professional organizations that offer these courses at reasonable rates and have made the effort to get them accredited. These organizations often offer resources of current materials, journals, marketing materials and the ability to have a voice in legislature that may affect your profession. Some offer discounts that may be relevant to your business. Carefully weigh whether the fees, time requirements (to attend meetings, etc.) are justified by the net gains. Again, due diligence and make sure your needs, and expectations are met by the professional organization you are joining. Note, you may not be able to foresee all your needs.
For Myers Mortuaries there was one more benefit to joining a professional organization, namely the National Funeral Directors Association that emerged after Myers had joined. Thirty-five years ago, the NFDA began a program called Pursuit of Excellence. The National Funeral Directors Association is the leading funeral service organization in the United States involving ten thousand funeral homes, established more than 120 years ago. It was a natural fit and the introduction of the Pursuit of Excellence program answered a need we did not realize we had and has helped shape Myers Mortuaries.
Your involvement in a professional organization may do that for your business or what you bring to the association may prove one day to shape another’s business. That is a characteristic that you should look for in an organization, but I caution you that it may be more intangible. You may need to speak with current members to understand if this organization is constantly evolving to meet the ever-changing needs of your industry and profession.
To achieve recognition in the Pursuit of Excellence Program, a funeral home must meet at least 31 criteria in nine categories of achievement: education, compassionate service, technical skills, community and professional service, library or media resources, professional development, in-house staff training and public and community relations. That means you are forced to assess yourselves on other levels than just “the bottom line” in a financial sense on an ongoing basis, weigh what is important and that is motivating.
If you decide a professional organization is right for you, pick one that is motivating, provides educational opportunities, is respected by your peers, gives you the tools to excel, helps you have a voice in your industry as well as needed legislature, urges you out of your comfort zone, expands your horizons, and speaking for Myers it should also show you the value of giving back to your community.
In 2017, Myers Mortuaries received the Pursuit of Excellence Award: Honored for Excellence in Service to Families and Communities. All four locations of Myers Mortuaries received this award in 2017. Myers Ogden Mortuary, Myers Brigham City Mortuary, Myers Layton Mortuary, Myers Roy Mortuary. There was only one other mortuary in the state of Utah to receive this award in 2017.
NFDA (National Funeral Directors Association)