The More You Give the More You Get: Creating the Network Effect Through Your Association

The internet is the perfect example of the network effect — how a good or service increases in value when more people use it. As increasing numbers of users gain access to the internet, more websites come into being, more people are online to communicate with, and today the internet is now valuable, even indispensable.

Associations work in a similar fashion. The value of an association membership increases as more members come to events, access services, and make connections. The more you contribute, learn, and develop your career, the more in-demand you become as an attendee, speaker, or employee. Suddenly your association membership is highly valuable… even indispensable.

But it can take some time and effort before you feel the full power of the network effect. And, depending on your situation, networking can be difficult. New members with no industry contacts might find it awkward, even painful, to attend meet-ups or events where they don’t know anyone. Members with big projects feel that they don’t have time to do anything other than work. Finally, traveling to networking or professional development events if you live outside a major metropolitan area can pose a challenge.

One solution is to get the ball rolling and let the network effect do the rest of the work for you. Make that first connection at a regional event and watch your network grow one contact at a time. Step away from your desk for a one-hour webinar where you learn something new about the industry that helps with project completion. Organize a meet-up in your area and find a small but valuable local network you didn’t even know existed. COACH offers a wide variety of opportunities for you to start building a network effect of your own.

The network effect can also come into being via situational instead of reception-style networking. For example, COACH Communities of Action offer opportunities for members to contribute to any one of a variety of digital health- focused projects as part of a virtual team. Phone meetings keep everyone on track and working toward a final deliverable – no travel or receptions, but plenty of opportunity to interact with peers and work on something new and challenging. You can build your network while working toward a paper or report that will make a great addition to your resume.

Currently active Communities of Action include: Virtual Care; Home and Community Care; e-Safety; and Academic. Visit the COACH website to find out more about Communities of Action and how you can contribute. Community of Action deliverables are shared with the COACH member and partner community – making your network that much wider.

The COACH mission is to foster network growth and connection; to bring together ideas from multiple segments for incubation and advocacy; and to support members through professional development at the individual and organizational level. Put your COACH membership to work for you and your career. The more people you meet and help, the better it works for you.

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