By Matt Mastenbrook, SPT Washington University in St. Louis
When I first started creating the APTA Membership Benefit of the Week postings, I was intending for the main audience to be my classmates at school. My program only requires APTA membership our first year. After our first year it is up to us to decide whether we want to renew our memberships or not. As APTA/MPTA co-liaison (with @jconnolly2017) to my class, I wanted to figure out a way for my classmates to see what all of the benefits are of being an active member. While we learn about the APTA our first year, it is often lost in the rearview mirror behind anatomy and neuroscience. My goal was to present to my class a collection of benefits for spring semester before we left for 22 weeks of clinical rotations. To do this, I wrote on our white board (with below average handwriting) in all of our classrooms so it could be visible for everyone to see (students and faculty).
In addition to posting on the white boards at school, I took pictures of the benefits and posted them to Twitter. I decided that what I wrote should not be limited to my classmates and that other students may learn new benefits as well. I always heard at conferences that only 30% of PTs are APTA members. I thought I could improve this number by connecting with current students. If they can see the benefits now while they are in school, then they should continue to be members once they graduate. By posting the Benefit of the Week to Twitter, I began to hope that I could influence the membership numbers not only within my class, but with students across the country.
I began the first couple of weeks by writing tangible benefits. Things such as 40% off ASICs shoes and decreased membership costs after graduation if you are a member at the time of graduation. Then with the advice from Ryan Duncan (@RyanDuncanPT), I wrote a couple posts about the intangible benefits. One in particular was “Career Insurance” because our dues help pay people that assists PTs in keeping our jobs and that our dues also help pay lobbyists to advocate on behalf of the PT industry to our legislators.
At first, I was worried about having enough benefits for the entire semester, and then one of the benefits helped me out. The community and network I had through my APTA membership got me in touch with friends and colleagues around the country who provided more benefits than I could have imagined. I plan on continuing to post as long as I have benefits to post.
Want to Get Involved?
If you are interested in getting involved, here is an easy way. I would love to see more people get involved by either tweeting about experiences they’ve had using these benefits or by posting the benefits at their schools so the benefits reach as many people as possible. Over the past few weeks, I have been including #APTABenefits so it will be easier for people to see a compilation of benefits. Use the hashtag when tweeting about an experience you’ve had and share it with your class. While my first 10 or so do not include this hashtag, I compiled a list of them in June and posted them all up on Twitter. If you ever have any questions, feel free to reach out to me (@)!