To try to understand this question I thought, as I'm a member of SEEE and as typical as the next, I would ask myself why I join things. As a middle class, "pinko" muso and educationalist, who ran what I came to understand was a social enterprise for 25 years and is old (and mature) enough to reconcile owning a 13 year-old Jag with a belief in social justice I join things - unions, bands, protest marches, SEEE - because I like to be part of groupings of people who care about stuff. These grouping are not only passionate in their interest but are generous and tolerant in their make up; which is why political parties are not on my list! These groupings will tolerate me as a member alongside a whole range of other independently minded people and that does it for me. That is the primary benefit of my membership.
And looking at our records being part of SEEE is what really matters to you too. There are some financial and practical benefits to your membership but our data strongly suggests that what you value most is the relationship with others who care about social enterprise; and people who care about social enterprise is what SEEE is all about.
SEEE was established to promote the environment for social enterprise and it has achieved this through the generation and transfer of information and knowledge' gathered from practitioners, policy makers and informed obsevers. The source of strength and validity for this vital information exchange is SEEE's constituency; that's you, the membership. If the value you bring to achieving social change through your membership isn't a good reason to join then I don't know what is.
Benjamin Franklin said 'an investment in knowledge always pays the best interest' and this eminently sensible observation does sum up my point. But, the muso in me prefers Jimi Hendrix who, succinct as ever with words, said 'knowledge talks, wisdom listens'. Play on Jimi!
Ben Higham 12/3/12