A new year can be tough…awash in resolutions, the warm glow of the holidays simmering down, and the long, dark road of winter ahead. With everything going on (and the ghost 2020 seeming to refuse to end), there seems to be 3 common reasons why you might be dragging your heels on renewing your membership. True confessions: I let mine lapse and needed to renew! And so I thought I would share my 4 reasons to renew.

“I can renew later.”

STC loves their Fall promotions, such as “get the last 3 months free when you become a member today,” or general “act now!” discounts around the holidays. If you’re like me, you missed those deadlines and might need a bit of a push to renew. So here are a few things I’ve told myself to quit procrastinating.

  • All the benefits of membership, today.
  • You need to be a member in order to vote in the STC elections. And I definitely want to support my fellow Carolinas-chapter nominees! We usually are well-represented, and I expect this year to be no exception. Plus, if 2020 taught us anything, it’s the importance of the vote.
  • In a similar vein, you need to be a member by August 31st in order for the Carolinas chapter to count you in our end-of-year tallies for things like platinum award recognition and budgetary funding for the next annual year. I definitely want to make sure that our chapter gets credit, since to me, the chapter is the most immediate and valuable expression of STC that I have.
  • And of course, many singers have cautioned, “Tomorrow may never come.”

“What do I get for the cost?”

Okay, so you want to renew soon, but then you might get to the renewal page, see the cost, and wonder, what do I get for this? I’ve already linked you to the benefits, but I think there are a number of cost-specific arguments in favor of membership.

  • The membership value calculator is all over this one…I had no idea of the “sticker price” for many of the benefits we get, with basic membership unlocking $1600+ in value.
  • Free stuff. Membership unlocks a lot of free online content and past webinars, as well as helps the Carolinas chapter provide a mix of free programs like mentorship or professional development meetings.
  • Discounts. Besides discounts on STC-level webinars and resources like the Certified Professional Technical Communicator (CPTC), you also get discounts on premium events that the Carolinas chapter sponsors, such as our upcoming, 3-part series on Structured Authoring that we’re launching in January.
  • Reimbursements. Oftentimes, you can get your company to cover the cost. This is part of why I am late renewing; I am investigating how to get my company into the Corporate Value Program. I’ve also heard of people successfully arguing for dues to be reimbursed this year of all years, because with remote work the “new norm,” it’s more important than ever to have on-demand resources and a virtual network to continue with your professional development. 
  • Do you work for yourself? Deduct your dues.

“I’ve been a member before, but can’t really remember what all I got from membership.”

I will have to admit, as a chapter president, this reason is harder for me to connect with since the fabulous admin council that I work with wouldn’t let me forget STC, even if I could! However, I’ve heard this reason from quite a few folks over the years, and it makes sense, especially if you feel left out or forgotten by an organization you had high hopes for. So here is what I would say if you’ve had a lackluster experience before.

  • Tell us about it. I am always eager to talk with members and non-members alike about the chapter, STC, tech comm, good books, hopes and fears, prayers and praises, why your cat is the cutest, etc. Even if membership isn’t right for you now, I would love for you to feel that there is a vibrant, active community that is here for you to help in your professional and technical communication goals down the road. Shoot me an email, and I’ll get back to you.
  • Follow us online so you stay in the know. We have weekly announcements, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn social media accounts, plus a YouTube channel for recorded videos (this is new, so might be a bit sparse as of now). For more direct conversations, water cooler talk, and everything in between, join the new STC Communities Slack, and the #carolinas channel. The invite link expires in about 30 days, but just ask me for another if you need it!
  • Find a benefit that’s right for you. Then, schedule time to actually use the benefit. My personal favorite is the monthly Intercom practitioner-focused magazine. Always fun to see what content excellencies my friends and new faces alike around the world are cooking up!
  • Reap all the joys that you sow. Why not throw a viewing party with some coworkers for the next STC virtual event? Or see if there’s a short-term volunteer opportunity that you could get involved with, like being a mentor or mentee as we head into our Spring cohort? I know it can be easier said than done, but I have found it to be true, that the more you give, the more you get.


Original post published 16 February 2021, updated and republished 25 October 2021.