All organizations offer membership benefits - a newsletter, and perhaps a magazine, devoted to that group's activities and interests; discounted costs for activities and publications; and local meetings and educational opportunities. In addition to these tangible benefits, some organizations offer benefits that affect a much larger group. For example, CSI created MasterFormat, SectionFormat, and PageFormat, which are used not only by members, but by most of the building construction industry.
"That's all fine," you say, "but what's in it for me?"
If I can access anyone, anywhere, anytime, what benefit does an organization offer? Why would I limit my contacts to a small group of people?
While organizations do many things and offer many benefits, I believe most people join simply to associate with others who share common interests, so they can learn more about what they do from people who are familiar with what they do. In turn, as they develop, they become sources of knowledge for others. Certainly, that can be done by searching for help on the Internet, but doesn’t it make more sense to start with a smaller group of known experts?
In September 2010, I posted an article titled Go-To Guys. In that post, I talked about how easy it is for me to tap the knowledge of experts throughout the industry. Any architect or engineer can try to contact any manufacturer, but being a member of the same organization helps complete the contact. Human nature makes us more receptive to those who are in the same family, clan, or club, and a call or e-mail from someone in the same organization will likely get faster and better response than one from an unknown person. We're in the same club, we know the secret handshake, we know we can trust each other, and we do what we can to help each other do our jobs better. If only for selfish reasons, join the group!
To make your decision easier, CSI is offering a special membership rate for one week. Join CSI online between Wednesday, June 13, and Wednesday, June 20, and pay only $192 -- a 20% savings -- for your membership. This promotion is available only to new members joining at the professional level. Chapter dues are not included in this promotion. To join:
- Visit www.csinet.org/joincsi
- Select "Join Now", and then click "Sign Up as a New Member"
- Enter Promotion Code 12spring20 when prompted
- Click the "Add Discount" button
Like so many things in life, the more you are involved, the more you will gain. So join CSI, but don't stop there. Start using your primary member benefit - association with other members. If you're a specifier, an architect, or an engineer, and you have a question about a product, call a member who works for that company, and call another member who does what you do. If you're a manufacturer's representative, call on the architects and engineers who need what you have and help them do their jobs; then call other members who offer similar products and talk about what you do. If you're an owner with a question about a project or product, ask members for advice.
In the construction industry, CSI credentials have impact. When new sales representatives visit my office, I look for CSI and CDT on their business. If they have either, they automatically get more respect and credibility. I know I am not alone in this; virtually every specifier I know feels the same.
The more we work together, the better off we all will be, and the better our buildings will be.