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How to Get Your Employer to Pay for SSWAA Membership

Updated: Sep 6, 2023

By Capella Hauer, Membership Coordinator, SSWAA


The research is clear – when employers pay their employees’ membership dues, the company and it’s workers benefit (Stephen Miller, 2019). It is an investment for the employer or district, but it helps create a loyal workforce while ensuring up-to-date continued education. Research shows small organizations of 100 or fewer employees are more likely to cover items such as membership dues. There could be a few reasons for this. Smaller organizations may have less capacity for large organization-wide trainings and may even provide less benefits for their employees overall (such as insurance and retirement), so a small membership fee is much more manageable for them to cover. Interestingly, large organizations are less likely to cover membership fees, though not by a significant percentage. Large organizations typically have more funds to provide in-house trainings for all of their staff, so paying membership fees may seem unnecessary (Stephen Miller, 2019).

This is where it becomes interesting for School Social Workers. Our profession, and even experiences across the country, are very unique. A School Social Worker in rural Nebraska will have a very different career, district, and professional needs then a School Social Worker in Miami. So while our professional experiences are vastly different, we have found that many of our members have one particular issue in common.


I would say the top two typical issues we hear from our members are:

  1. Lack of professional development specific to School Social Work within their district and

  2. Feeling like they are on their own professional island


So how can we remediate that? Membership to a professional organization, like SSWAA! We know that SSWAA provides great benefits (click here to see them all!), but we didn’t get into this profession for the checks that fill our houses with gold. Many may struggle with paying memberships dues, and monthly installments may work for them! But there is another avenue to try as well.


Unfortunately, as Social Workers, we tend to be really good at advocating for others, but not so much for ourselves. So we created a template for you to use to ask your district to pay for SSWAA membership. You can simply edit the bold sections to suit your needs, and send it to your supervisor.

 

Dear {supervisor’s name},


I’m requesting your approval to {become a member / renew my membership} with the School Social Work Association of America (SSWAA). As you may know, SSWAA is one of the leading associations for the School Social Workers with more than 2,000 members from around the Nation. SSWAA continues to be a leading force by educating fellow professionals about School Social Work via online resources, professional conferences, and monthly webinars.


{This section can be adjusted to reflect a different membership level} A Premiere individual membership fee costs just $150 per year and grants me immediate access to the following:

  • Practice Liability Insurance

  • Bi-weekly Newsletters

  • Members only access to website resources

  • Discounts to webinars and conferences

  • Resources and Tools to enhance my practice

  • School Social Work Resource Library

I genuinely believe that this membership would be a wise investment into our {school/district} and would positively impact our district and my own professional development. I look forward to hearing from you soon to discuss!


Best,


{your signature here}

 

You can use this template for yourself, or you can create your own with various membership levels that SSWAA offers. When requesting funding for membership dues, we suggest you include the why, what, and how this membership will benefit the district or school (Walker, 2019). Including why you want to be a part of SSWAA can help make an effective case. You can share that you are particularly interested in continuing education specific to your field, or that you want access to a library full of tools and resources for your role – something most likely not readily available in your school or district.


Once you have shared what you need to be an effective school social worker, share what SSWAA can do to help you achieve this – and even more! If you need more SSW specific professional development, be sure to highlight the benefit of monthly webinars on timely topics, as well as he opportunity for annual conferences. Lastly, be sure to share how this membership will not only effect you, but the school or district. How will this positively benefit the students and staff you work with? The district as a whole? Be sure to consider and share how this membership will create a ripple effect, and not only be a benefit just for you!


References


Stephen Miller. (2019, September 19). When Employers Pay Association Dues, Workers and

Company Benefit. Retrieved from Better Workplaces Better World:


Walker, C. (2019, February 20). Employer-Paid Membership Dues: Tips to Help Your

Members Out. Retrieved from Member Clicks:


 

Capella Hauer is the Membership Coordinator for the School Social Work Association of America. She graduated from New Mexico Highlands University in 2015 with her Master’s in Clinical Social Work. She is a practicing School Social Worker in Tucson, Arizona where she also obtained her certificate in Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics.

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