Is Your Local User Group Calling?

Joint membership program can be profitable on all sides

By Susan Hoffmann

The UniForum membership department recently sent each affiliate group a complete list of current UniForum members in their area. This was done to encourage all the UniForum affiliate groups to participate in the UniForum joint-membership program.

UniForum joint membership was designed so that individuals could join both UniForum and their local affiliate for a membership fee that is less than the total of both individual groups' dues.

Current members of either a UniForum affiliate group or UniForum are encouraged to join both organizations whether the joint-membership program is in place or not. However, when the joint-membership program is in place, the affiliate group receives the benefit of guaranteed income while UniForum does all billing and tracking work.

UniForum wants to have all its affiliates participate in the program. If you are part of or know of a user group that would like to affiliate, this may be just the reason to join the program.

How It Works.

Under the program, both the affiliate and UniForum agree to discount their fees by the same percentage. The member gets the benefit of being part of both groups for a fee that is lower than the individual fees of both groups. For international groups this may also include a lower overall price for shipping as well.

The member gains by receiving all the standard UniForum benefits while also being truly connected to his or her local peer group through the affiliate membership.

Benefits to both UniForum and the affiliate groups are numerous. Most importantly for affiliates is that UniForum keeps track of the new and renewing members as payments come in and sends the appropriate amount for each member due to the affiliate, with that affiliate's contact information, on a regular basis.

Affiliate groups may recruit members on their own, but don't have to. Either way, they don't have to deal with the paperwork, tracking, or billing process. Upon renewal, the joint member is billed the appropriate amount and the affiliate continues to receive the benefit of more dues on renewal.

Current UniForum members are given the option to become joint members with a participating affiliate in their area upon renewal. Meanwhile, affiliates are regularly given the names of UniForum members in their area for contact and recruitment purposes, whether the joint membership is in place or not. However, affiliates participating in the joint-membership program would probably all agree that having UniForum do the billing work is far easier than doing it themselves.

It pays to be a joint member and it pays to have the joint-membership program in place with your group. If there isn't a group in your area, joint membership may be just the revenue generator your group needs to get started. For more information on the program or how to become a UniForum affiliate group, contact me by phoning (408) 986-8840 ext. 26 or (800) 255-5620 ext. 26, or via e-mail at

Current groups participating in the joint-membership program are: WAUUG, Seattle UNIX Group, Ohio!UniForum, UniForum Brasil, UniForum Trinidad & Tobago, and UniGroup of New York.

Susan Hoffman is membership services manager at UniForum.