The Value of Membership

March 13th 2018

by Vicki Reich, Executive Director

Since I took the job of Executive Director just over a year ago, I have been looking for ways to increase the value you get from your membership in Provender Alliance.  I’m not implying that there wasn’t already a great deal of value in membership, I just feel that there is more that this small but scrappy organization can offer.

Figuring out what members might value has been a lot harder to do than I first thought; what a retailer member might find valuable, our manufacturer members might ignore and vice versa.  What I’ve come to realize is one of the greatest values of Provender membership is just being plugged in to the network of like-minded people.  Learning and communicating with folks who are fighting the same battles and working towards the same ends, being inspired by the work that they do, and being able to call on them for help is what makes Provender great.  My job, as I see it now, is just to offer members more ways to learn and network and collaborate together.

One of the first things I did to offer members more access to other members is to move our membership information to a membership management platform called Wild Apricot.  Members can log in to the membership website and look up other members in the directory.  You can even send messages right from the directory.  Wild Apricot has also recently released an app for members (unfortunately, it’s only available for iPhones at the moment) which offers the same directory in the palm of your hand.

The directory is all well and good but you have to log in to a special website to get to it or have another app on your phone.  Then I thought, why not allow members to connect in a place that many of you are already looking at everyday.  Thus was born the Members Only Facebook Group.  It’s brand new and not much has happened there yet, but to spur you on to join in on the fun, I’ll be posting information about the 2018 Conference line-up there first.  I hope we can have rousing conversations there and help each other to success.

I have a few more ideas in the hopper and will be rolling them out this year.  The survey committee is currently going over all the information members provided us in this year’s survey (thank you to everyone who participated and congrats to Susan Place and Andrea Wilson on winning some Provender swag).  I am sure we will find even more ways to create value for your membership in your thoughtful responses.  In the meantime, if you have any thoughts or suggestions about what Provender can do to help strengthen our network, please let me know.