The Value of Membership

by Sara Jane Delmonte, Senior Manager of Member Services, OKCNP

I am a Fiestaware collector and recently someone asked me what the value of my collection was worth. To be honest, I had never thought about it. This question made me start to ponder what the definition of “value” is, and I realized that it is a subjective word. For some, the word attaches a quantitative or monetary assignment. For others, it can translate as something that holds importance or meaning. So I started to analyze my collection.

I have a bowl I bought at an estate sale for $15, however, I later found out it has a market value of $400 – the quantitative angle. But I have pieces family members have given me that I would never sell because I value the sentiment attached to each item. Obviously, the estate sale company didn’t have much sentiment tied to the bowl or knowledge of its worth.

I see value in my collection being displayed for others to enjoy and hold value in the elation that results in the unity of the grouping. I value being a part of the Fiesta community, where I share a common passion with others. I value that keeping connected to a collective allows me to stay ahead of design changes and to know when the annual color is being released. In case you are wondering, this year’s color is Meadow. There is even a club for Fiesta collectors. Being a member allows access to the Association’s annual conference, help with classifying shape/pattern identification and other bells and whistles that only a collector would value.

This made me start to think, how does the nonprofit community see value in being a member of the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits? At OKCNP, we often use the phrase Membership Means More – but what does “more” actually mean? Many organizations join to access classes at the discounted member rate or to be eligible for scholarships – they see the monetary value. The discount from a training can easily cover the cost of membership. But there are other benefits a price tag cannot be attached to.

Some join for the convening aspect and the ability to make connections with others. Networking is a way to grow as a professional and link to community resources that can be of assistance to those you serve. The togetherness aspect allows you to understand that you are not alone in your journey as a nonprofit professional and that you share a similar passion with others in the sector. And it allows members to stay ahead of trends in the nonprofit world and to be innovative in their work. Wow! This sounds a lot like the value I see in Fiestaware.

During this time of ambiguity, when nonprofits are worried about their doors possibly closing, I have seen members sharing another value of membership they haven’t expressed in the past – advocacy. From the day it opened its doors in 1981, the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits has always been involved in nonprofit advocacy, however, this hasn’t always been front and center at our organization.

But as COVID-19 became a part of operational concerns, nonprofits began to reach out to OKCNP for resources and guidance as uncertainty came their way. As we listened to your needs, we knew it was imperative that we get behind the work on the CARES Act and SBA Payroll Protection Program. We also developed resources such as the Disaster Preparedness Manual for Nonprofits and Going Forward: Best Practices and Consideration for Nonprofit Reengagement guidelines. This is what makes the value of membership with the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits unique. Advocacy is not something that always comes with being a member of an association, and it definitely doesn’t come with membership to the Homer Laughlin China Collectors Association. Advocacy is what makes the value of OKCNP membership priceless.

During this challenging time, another angle of value emerged, but this time the value became evident to our staff. Through our lens, the value of the hard work you do for those you serve was magnified in our eyes. Our team values the passion you have displayed for successfully sustaining your organization, while still carrying out your mission. And the OKCNP staff values you as a change maker, helping our great state solve and circumvent future problems and strengthening our economy. Saying this, I toast your organization with a Fiestaware goblet containing the beverage of your choice.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for being a valued supporter of the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits. Membership means more, and you mean so much to us.

Sara Jane would like to hear what you value about your membership with the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits. Email her at sdelmonte@okcnp.org and share your thoughts!

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