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Joining Organizations

April 24th, 2013
organizations  [html]

Lots of organizations have a membership system where you can "join" them (ACLU, NAACP, Exploratorium), and this is very common among dance organizations (CDSS, CDS:BC, NEFFA, RSCDS, ...). As far as I can tell, "membership" is almost entirely about supporting the organization financially. While there are usually "member benefits," they are not cost-effective and aren't trying to be. This works, but it feels like there used to be more to it, like "membership" used to be important to people.

For advocacy organizations I kind of see the point of membership as a way of reminding people to donate, but for organizations like museums and dance organizations that charge admission it seems like a weird way of funding yourself. (This is related to why BIDA doesn't ask people to become members. Instead money is just admission to dances.)

One possibility is that before the internet things like organization newsletters and catalogs were much more valuable and were members-only. Without becoming a member and joining the mailing list, how would you find out about interesting events to go to?

Talking to people of my generation, membership doesn't seem important anymore. What changed? Was it ever important?

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