We have previously written about networking groups and considered how to choose a networking group and what questions you should ask when researching a networking group and using this to help you to decide what groups are worth joining.
One of the key considerations can be the cost.
Money Maker or Time Waster?
Professional networking groups and professional memberships and associations will usually have membership fees. These membership fees may be no more than an admin fee and a contribution towards running costs. This is not unusual. It might be to cover the cost of the events and speakers. Membership fees may also mean a discount rate for paid for events (e.g. members get 25% off what non-members pay). If you attend events regularly this one is a no-brainer.
However, there will be some networking groups where the fees that are being charged are simply for the privilege of being a member.
So, when considering joining a networking group check out their membership fees and ask what the membership fees are for if it is not clear.
If cost is a cruicial factor for you make sure you determne all the costs associated with becoming a member. Take into account the membership fees, more event costs and travel expenses. You may also want to factor in any losses you may incur while not being in the office.
Compare the figure your reach to your expectations for the return on your investment (ROI). Are you making a loss, breaking even or is there potential for growth?
Are the membership fees for networking groups worth it?
However, it is important to consider that the total cost is not the only reason – just one of many factors.
For example, there may be a high fee but actually you get access to some really good contacts and referrals so the ROI and potential is high. On the other side of the coin it may be that it is the main networking group for your specialist area and it would be damaging not to be member.
Once you have done your research and decided on a networking group to join, it is important to keep an eye on how you are doing so that you can measure the ROI,
The Networking Planner
The Networking Planner includes a section to help you with networking groups.
It includes a Budget Planner to help you keep track of how much you are spending so that you can easily tally it up to make sure your don’t go over budget. If you can claim for expenses there is also space to keep track of whether you have submitted your expenses form. As mentioned above, it is important to keep an eye on where you are spending you money and considering whether your are getting a return on your investment. Keeping a clear budget can also help you analyse this further.
The Networking Planner also includes Networking Groups pages. These are to keep the details of your networking groups all in one handy place as well as keeping track of what events you have attended and people you have met and build relationships with linked with a particular membership.