Seems like it’s that time of year. Every time it rolls around my bank account gets a little bit smaller. If you’re like me, by the time February blows in, so do the membership renewals. The Cattlemen’s Assoc wants their $50. National Cattlemen’s wants another $50. Farm Bureau needs their $35 and the University Alumni folks want their $30. And just as I’ve got a bit of time to catch up on reading all my magazine subscriptions, those folks remind me it’s time to renew as well. Don’t forget the tags on the pickup have to be renewed along with the insurance and taxes that will soon be due. Oh and since I’m in a new state this year, someone wants me to join associations over here too. Does the cycle ever end?

Surely I’m not the only one that feels the pinch from all these memberships. Then again, why the heck do I even bother with these groups and subscriptions? It’s just more junk mail that piles up in the trash, right? Or is there a reason behind all the madness?

I want my voice to be heard. I pay my membership dues to a few choice organizations because I believe in their cause. I don’t have time to lobby on Capitol Hill or even in front of the state legislatures. When regulations and bills come to the table that could impact my future in the cattle business, I want someone there who will be on my side of the issue. Even if we don’t agree on all┬áissues, I’m still better off with someone lobbying as a voice for me on most issues, than leaving it to the masses who don’t have a clue where I come from. True, politics – especially on a national level – have turned into a clout and money fest, but there’s still occasions where a voice of reason can plant a seed for┬áreconsideration.

I want to be involved in the community. There’s something to the saying “It’s not so much what you know as who you know,” and networking within your community can turn into great opportunities. There are some great people to meet if you’ll get out of the house and go attend the local meetings and larger conventions. There’s no telling who you’ll meet or what you’ll learn at these events. There’s nothing more motivating than being surrounded by people who share the same passion, interests, and goals.

Giving back to the community. Since when did it kill someone to give a little back to their community. There are so many organizations today who are involved in community efforts, giving back to those in need, and stepping up to make a difference. Who knows you might even have a little fun along the way.

So whatever your interest, I encourage you to think about what it means when you pay those membership renewals this winter. If you’re not very involved, I encourage you to find an organization that shares your interests and spend some time getting involved. People in this country are leaving behind our sense of community and we’d all be better off to work on that.

What makes you support a particular organization? What prevents you from becoming involved?