Of all the different choices you face as a nonprofit leader, I think the most important one is where you spend your time. Time is always limited. I’ve never heard a nonprofit leader say, “I wish I had more things to do.”
So of all the things to do, why would one join a nonprofit state association?
1.) You connect with other nonprofit leaders and resources. Truth of the matter is you’ll never know all there is to know. We’re always learning. We might as well take advantage of people who have gone before us and learn what our predecessors deem is necessary. Plus who knows whether you’ll meet your next hire, boss, funder, business partner or drinking buddy.
2.) You get the sense that you are in it together, and the emails that come to you let you know of all the other opportunities out there. I remember when I first started I felt so alone. I didn’t know anyone else running a nonprofit, and it was lonely. Getting informed about all the opportunities and events, and then taking advantage of them is really helpful on an otherwise lonely journey.
3.) You have more power as a group. A lot of nonprofit leaders don’t get the impact of when nonprofits come together and mobilize on particular issues. What I learned in political science was that elected politicians seek re-election. So if you can mobilize what appears to be multiple large constituencies, you can often influence the legal and operational environment.