Establishing a WAIMH affiliate organization provide several benefits:
- Networking: Join an international community of infant mental health regional affiliate organizations
- Training: Share training programs and experiences
- Policy Practices: Affect WAIMH's policy agenda through membership on the Affiliate Council
- Continuing Education: Support regional and international congresses
- Enhance Diversity: Emphasize the importance of cultural context in early development
Over the years, WAIMH has learned that the likelihood of success of an Infant Mental Health organization is increased if the membership attends to the following:
- An early definition of objectives: To whom should the organization appeal? What are the members' needs? How can the organization most efficiently meet those needs?
- Keeping the membership involved by giving them committee assignments and power to carry them out.
- Offer a reasonable mix of practical benefits, such as:
- Offering high-quality educational conferences and workshops that provide opportunities to exchange ideas informally;
- Publishing an attractive newsletter that makes the member feel part of the group, that highlights the activities of the members, and that offers practical aids;
- Helping members locate resources that make their work easier and more exciting;
- Offering members financial breaks on wanted goods or services (film rentals, conference fees, journals, etc.);
- Regularly and meaningfully asking members what they want and responding in a timely fashion.
The reasons people choose to join an organization, and the satisfaction they derive from being a member, vary widely and probably are very personal. Thus, it is not necessary for the leadership to invent a list of practical benefits in order to entice individuals to join. Simply settle on several key benefits, keeping in mind that many people join professional organizations to satisfy social needs, as much as they join for professional needs. Attending to some fairly simply, but quite important principles, the likelihood of an organization flourishing and of its members testifying to its value increase.