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Know Your AFCEA Benefits: Corporate Associate Membership

January 17, 2012
By Diane Dellen, SIGNAL Connections

Now comprising more than 2,000 organizations, AFCEA’s corporate membership program is growing both in the United States and internationally. Many corporate members find their block of corporate associate memberships to be the most valuable corporate member benefit. These company-owned individual memberships allow member organizations to develop relationships throughout the worldwide AFCEA International network of more than 120 chapters. And, the participation of individual corporate associate members in the events and activities at local chapters strengthen these relationships.

Companies that enjoy the greatest return on their membership investment are those that employ a three-step strategy. First, they place their associates into chapters where clients, partners and/or prospects are located. AFCEA corporate membership offers flexibility to its corporate members by allowing them to tailor the member list to suit their business development needs. Chapter affiliations for corporate associate members should be determined not necessarily by geographic location but rather should be based on the chapter’s focus, chapter members and the technologies of interest.

For example, if a company works with—or would like to work with—Army program managers, one chapter it should affiliate with is the Belvoir Chapter in Alexandria, Virginia. If intelligence is the company’s forte, it should have a corporate associate affiliated with the Central Maryland Chapter in the vicinity of Fort Meade, Maryland

Additional information on specific chapters can be found in the AFCEA Chapter Search Directory. This keyword search directory identifies chapters by military command, government agency, technology, event or geographic location.

According to Tony Hrbek, president and chief operating officer, AllCom Global Services Incorporated, members of his company’s corporate list attended several AFCEA events around the world in 2011. “Our membership with AFCEA and participation in AFCEA events has provided powerful collaboration opportunities and a positive conduit of communication with stakeholders in our industry,” he states.

The second strategy is to use all of the available corporate associate memberships to maximize the ROI on membership dues. Frequently, companies join AFCEA but do not completely identify enough employees to fill their available corporate associate membership allotment. To encourage full utilization of this associate member benefit, AFCEA allows one person to fill multiple associate membership slots. For example, if a corporate member with 10 corporate associate memberships has only two participating associate members, the additional eight members would multiply the opportunity for developing relationships with customers, partners and prospects, including in several different chapters.

Third, invest the time required to ensure your corporate AFCEA membership pays off. Once a company has determined which of its staff members will be involved in AFCEA as well as the most advantageous chapter or chapters they will join, the company should encourage those employees to volunteer at chapter events and activities, get to know the other members and develop relationships.

According to Russell Baker, vice president of AFCEA corporate member Path Technologies Incorporated, engaging in chapter activities increases opportunities to make business contacts. “With AFCEA, I’ve learned you get out of it what you put into it. Once I decided to volunteer at the local chapter, I started making much better use of my time. Now I get the satisfaction of helping a worthy organization plus a tremendous increase in exposure to business contacts that can really make a big impact on a small business like ours,” he relates.

For additional information and assistance please contact Diane Dellen, manager, corporate member programs, or call (703) 631-6150, or Barbara Norkus, corporate member outreach, or call (703) 631-6198.