What Is the Value of AWE Membership? Survey Results Say...
Thanks to all who responded to the AWE Survey in August with your valuable feedback. Now that it's Fall when many member renewals are due, and as we hit the networking circuit again following a nice summer break, we've gotten a few questions about AWE membership, about what we do with dues and meeting fees -- in short, about what is the value of AWE membership? And we are so very glad you asked!
Based on our recent survey, previous surveys and regular member feedback, a top benefit of being a member of AWE is the incredible network of fellow local women business owners you meet who truly want to support and encourage you. Our members report they get the highest number of referrals and opportunities to collaborate of all of their networking activities; many also hire and sub-contract with each other. One AWE Arlington member counts $200,000 in new business that she directly attributes to her membership in AWE!
Yet while these facts are impressive, our recent survey also showed the number one benefit AWEsome women experience is the spirit of fun and camaraderie at our events, and the sense that a squad of women who know exactly what it's like to run a business always have their back. As one member told us after a meeting, "Every time I come to an AWE meeting, I leave feeling on top of the world, with fellow members cheering me on and empowering me - it's the best!"
As a Back-to-School refresher, other benefits of membership include:
- The opportunity to be a guest on the AWE Radio Show and Podcast, which in addition to our own website appears on iTunes, Spotify, iHeart Radio and Libsyn. We promote our members' appearances to thousands of followers on social media, and we share the link to the episode so members can display it on their own websites as well;
- Our six-month Mastermind Program, in which five or six women meet monthly with an expert facilitator to set goals, grow their business and address common sticking points to working smarter, not harder. New this year the AWE Mastermind will be virtual, via Zoom, so participants don't lose time battling traffic to get to the monthly meetings and so women from all AWE chapters can join any group. We're currently formulating the creation of niche groups for certain industries, such as Health & Wellness, again based on survey feedback;
- Excellent speakers offering actionable tips and advice for business owners at each meeting, along with delicious snacks, wine and fun raffle prizes. Members are welcome and encouraged to host meetings where they can promote their own business as well;
- The opportunity to speak and share expertise at our many local chapter meetings, write guest blog posts for the AWE website – and also new this year– offer webinars that we co-sponsor and promote;
- Special events like the upcoming Fall Women's Market at Ballston Quarter and the annual AWE Summit in March with more opportunities to promote your business and be a speaker, as well as learn, grow and support fellow women business owners;
- Our online member directory where members can showcase their services, find and work together;
- Knowing that your membership helps us support all the women business owners in our community. We truly are all stronger together!
So what do we do with member dues and other revenue?
Member dues (which we share with our local chapter leaders) support a variety of things that might not be visible. Evelyn, Karen and our dedicated chapter leaders provide all of our leadership, management, recruitment, technical and marketing expertise pro bono. Dues and meeting fees support:
- The AWE website (which includes chapter pages, member lists, and Active Campaign for all of our email marketing communications) has monthly maintenance fees and requires regular updating and customization;
- Our marketing and social media coordinator Olga Kovtun who edits and sends the AWE Alert, monthly meeting evites, and our active social media presence (based on a steady stream of detailed information chapter leaders send to her daily, weekly and monthly);
- Our podcast editor Emily Krause who reformats the AWE Radio Show into each weekly podcast episode with links and resources that further promote each guest;
- WERA 96.7 FM annual dues and weekly studio fees;
- Meeting supplies such as paper goods, name tags, raffle prizes and all the many extras that go into making each AWE event special, even if/when food and wine are sponsored;
- Software such as website plug-ins, apps, equipment and yearly fees to manage our digital activity: Gmail for Business accounts for each chapter, Zoom, Photoshop, InDesign, Canva, Buffer, Audition (for podcast editing), camera and video equipment and supplies
And the list goes on...
We share this information in the spirit of full transparency. We joyfully do all we do for AWE because we believe so strongly in the power and magic of women-only networking.
We also share it as we announce that we will be lowering member monthly meeting prices. We hope this will promote yearly membership to strengthen our community of women business owners and encourage more attendance at our monthly meetings.
From now on, meeting fees will be:
If your renewal date is coming up, please renew your AWE membership now. If you've been on the fence about joining, we hope you agree that the value of AWE membership is well worth the cost. We hope you remain part of – or join – this wonderful community supporting awesome women entrepreneurs throughout the DC area in the best, most fun and beneficial way.