"I am unemployed and paying 125.00 for a membership that really does nothing for me is out of the question.
Second, I have never appreciated the way that NASW will add on certain fees to the basic membership. I am sure that most people just go ahead and pay the extra 30-40 dollars that is regularly added on.
Liability insurance is available elsewhere. So, just what is it that you really do for us?"
Here were some of my initial thoughts:
The membership price does seem steep. Of the $125 that you pay only 47.5% goes to the Michigan Chapter. 47.5% goes to the national chapter and the remaining 5% goes towards supporting developing chapters and areas where social workers need additional resources. NASW does offer an economic hardship membership that anyone can use (for up to two years) that would reduce your dues from $125 to $51 for those years. We know that many people are going through financial struggle and hope this might be one way to help them out. I’m not sure of what extra fees you are referring to, but the membership prices haven’t changed over the last few years. There are options if you would like to join specific special interest groups or get particular credentials, but there should be no fees or additional charges once you renew.
In terms of benefits offered, liability insurance is just one of the thousands of benefits and perks of being a member of the largest professional association of social workers on the planet. NASW-MI offers a comprehensive social work job posting board, where only members have access to see new social work jobs posted every day. The national website also has a job bank where you can find open social work positions all across the country.
NASW-MI offers great opportunities for networking at our bi-monthly regional meetings all across the state, numerous work groups, and annual conferences. Each of these brings social workers together to talk about issue impacting the profession, develop resources needed in the field, gain CEs and to network about various job opportunities and openings throughout the state.
As an association we are continually traveling around the state presenting on licensure, legislation impacting the profession and on other needs that members bring up. NASW offers FREE continuing education courses on a range of topics throughout the year to help reduce social workers cost on fulfilling their requirements.
Personally, I think the biggest benefit of being an NASW member is the professional development and advocacy. NASW lobbies on both state and federal levels for and against legislation that would impact the profession, testifies on behalf of social workers on important issues and trains and endorses candidates each year that will legislate in line with our code of ethics. NASW was instrumental on getting licensure passed in the state and getting the “conscientious objection” bills defeated the past week.
-Duane Breijak, LLMSW
Director of Member Services & Development