As a long time digital marketing and PR practitioner, I’ve had the opportunity to be involved with a diverse mix of marketing and communications industry associations: DMA, PRSA, AMA, MIMA, SEMPO, IABC, BMA, MN Search and while not technically an association, SMBMSP.
Most industry associations provide a core set of benefits to members ranging from education to networking to industry advocacy, relying heavily on a combination of volunteers and sponsorships to make things possible.
Sponsoring and volunteering are means for both individuals and companies to contribute to the greater good of the industry and local business community. Doing so provides benefits in the form of exposure and an investment in raising awareness of the particular industry overall. A rising tide lifts all ships and all that.