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Maintaining the close association

WHILE the role of industry based and service-oriented associations has not discernibly changed in the past decade, there has been a marked increase in the range of services and benefits provided for members of these associations.

In order to maintain membership levels and attract new members, many associations have adopted membership-based incentive and loyalty programs.

The associations use the combined buying power of their large membership base to negotiate strategic alliances with outside organisations to provide members with access to discount products and services.

According to RAC (WA) membership manager Karen Carriero, the RAC Attractions membership reward program has been highly successful as a means of enticing people to renew their membership with the organisation by providing access to discount products and services for loyal customers.

The RAC’s program partners include companies such as Bridgestone, Automotive Holdings Group, Cellarmasters, Deering Autronics and LaubMan and Pank.

The RAC Attractions program is based on the number of years’ membership with the RAC and operates using blue, bronze, silver and gold cards that indicate three to five years’ membership, five to nine years, 10 years or more and 25 years or more respectively.

“Since its inception in December 1999, 74,975 members have utilised the RAC Attractions program and it has generated just over $24 million for our 100 program partners,” she said.

“Forty one per cent of RAC members have also taken out insurance with RAC and 22 per cent of these members have taken up the gold and silver RAC member discounts for insurance, which offer discounts to members of 10 and 7.5 per cent respectively.”

CPA Australia director Justin Walawski believes that one of the most important services the association offers its members is the marketing of the CPA Australia designation.

Mr Walawski believes the reputation of the association as a leading authority in the field of finance will benefit all CPA Australia members, as they will be known as the best professional accounting group in Australasia.

“Up to 80 per cent of the general public know of the CPA Australia designation,” he said. “There was a survey done by TMP Worldwide towards the end of last year with senior finance managers and they asked them which brand, or which designation, did they recognise or value higher … and 60 per cent of those finance managers said CPA Australia was better.”

CPA Australia also offers its members access to cheaper credit cards through an affinity program with American Express, access to the best business library in Australia and an agreement with Curtin University for advanced standing of five units for the CPA MBA.

But as an industry based association, CPA Australia is still responsible for the interests of its members and those that it represents.

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