As Washington area communicators we can choose among several professional societies – and we should. The benefits of joining are numerous.
- Opportunity to stay current with technology, tools and strategies at monthly programs.
- Relationship building with colleagues across the field (PR agencies, independents, associations and nonprofits, businesses large or small, government agencies). You’ll know whom to call when job changing or help with a new aspect of your job.
- Visibility. Get active, even on a limited basis, and more people will know about you, possibly leading to job leads, speaking opportunities, skill building activities, and more.
- Trends watching. Being among a larger group of communicators you’ll hear about segments of the industry thriving or struggling, what kinds of projects and strategies have worked for your competitors and what kinds of skills you should be acquiring to stay relevant.
Membership can be costly, so go to several interesting programs paying the non-member rate to see which group is for you. If your employer will pay for your membership, great. If not, you can still go to the programs of most interest to you as a non-member and save the dues.
And check out reciprocal arrangements. Members of Washington Women in Public Relations (which does accept men as members) can attend programs of the Public Relations Society’s National Capital Chapter at their member prices, though WWPR dues are less than half that of PRSA’s.