The value of joining a NAPO chapter

21 January 2016

If you’re a professional organizer, I hope you’re lucky enough to live where there’s a local chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers. And if you do live near one, I hope you’ve joined it!

When I started Peace of Mind Organizing® in 2005, the first thing I did was join NAPO. The second thing would have been to join NAPO-St. Louis, except it didn’t yet exist. Thanks to the hard work of others, the chapter was established in 2006 and I was lucky enough to be a founding board member.

Through the last ten years I’ve remained involved with the chapter, serving on the board for the first six years of its existence, then taking three years off before joining the board again for another two-year stint that ends in 2017. So clearly I’m invested in the chapter.

Here’s a photo of the NAPO-St. Louis chapter members taken by Membership Director Sheila DeHart at the January 2016 meeting.

The value of joining a NAPO chapter

Why do I devote so much time and energy to the chapter? Because it gives so much back to me. Here are a few of the benefits of chapter membership:

  1. Camaraderie. For new and veteran organizers alike, the opportunity to spend time with like-minded people sharing advice and experiences is invaluable.
  2. Leadership experience. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be as good at leading my organizing teams if I hadn’t had the experience of being president of the chapter from 2008-2010. It helped form the kind of leader I’ve become.
  3. Education. NAPO-St. Louis meets in person nine times a year and the chapter’s programs are really valuable We uses both outside speakers and have programs presented by chapter members—there’s an amazing wealth of knowledge among our membership! The chapter also makes conference recordings available to its members as a membership benefit. (I’m certain this is a common chapter benefit.)
  4. Visibility. All chapter members are listed on the NAPO-St. Louis website, giving them another exposure to prospective clients.
  5. Referrals. When chapter members receive inquiries from clients they might not be right for, they’ll sometimes send them to me. And vice versa.
  6. Client resources. We have 13 Corporate Associate Members of NAPO-St. Louis and I refer clients to them all the time. I can also look for resource recommendations from fellow members of the chapter on our online forum. The chapter makes me a better resource for my clients.
  7. Business development. These days I focus my business on leading organizing teams. All my team members are NAPO-St. Louis members. I’ve made it a requirement, because I want to use independent contractors who have shown a dedication to their businesses by joining NAPO national and NAPO-St. Louis. I can assure my clients that all my team members abide by NAPO’s Code of Ethics.

I honestly don’t know where my business would be without NAPO-St. Louis, but I’m pretty sure it would not have grown like it has. If you’re a PO or an aspiring PO I urge you to get involved with your chapter. It will reap huge dividends!

If you’re a member of a NAPO chapter, please feel free to comment on what you get out of your chapter!

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Janine, this is wonderfully articulated. The benefits are limitless.

Patsy Bieg 01/22/2016 09:27 AM

I would not still be organizing after 5 years if it wasn’t for NAPO-St. Louis. The support, camaraderie, and mentorship from my fellow POs made it possible for me to sustain, grow, and work through the challenges of being in business. The leadership experience is also invaluable: learning how to lead, collaborate, and follow made it possible for me to grow my own career by shifting from solo entrepreneurship to partnership.

I value my NAPO and ICD memberships so much, but my membership and involvement in NAPO-St. Louis has, by far, been the most important and rewarding for my career. For those POs who do not live near a chapter: consider join the Virtual Chapter.

Shelly Collins 01/22/2016 09:57 AM

Our NAPO-St. Louis chapter has absolutely shaped me to become a better organizer and business owner. In addition to every wonderful benefit Janine has written about, I also think that my chapter peers provide a sort of informal and friendly accountability for my goals. Our chapter peers remember what is important to us and why, and they follow up! That sort of support helps me keep improving.

Denise Lee 01/22/2016 04:30 PM

Patsy, Shelly & Denise, thank you for your comments! They show the world how wonderful and supportive NAPO-St. Louis is. Shelly, thank you for mentioning the Virtual Chapter. It’s a great resource for those without a chapter for others who want easy (and inexpensive) access to continuing education.

Janine Adams 01/22/2016 06:03 PM

i understand to join the organization you have to have 1500 hrs. so until i get going will not have that many hours..Wish had a chapter for new start up

joyce 02/04/2016 11:41 AM

Joyce, that’s not the case. Anyone can join NAPO. I joined before I had a single paid client. (You have to have 1500 hours in order to qualify to sit for the certification exam to become a Certified Professional Organizer.) I encourage you to join NAPO, and your local chapter if you have one, no matter where you are in your career!

Janine Adams 02/04/2016 11:50 AM

Janine, this could be the “poster post” for NAPO to encourage members to join their local chapter! Your chapter sounds as wonderful as my own — NAPO-New England.

Susan Terkanian 02/18/2016 10:22 PM

Thanks, Susan! We really do have wonderful chapter. And I know how great NAPO-New England is! I appreciate your comment.

Janine Adams 02/19/2016 06:45 AM

Thanks Janine for sharing the NAPO love. Each reason you mentioned is the same for me! I started my business because I read about NAPO in the Houston Chroicle. I am a founding member of NAPO Houston to be among my colleague and create connections every day. NAPO adds credibility, lends support and create connections for all of us.

What I love most is that I know NAPO members nationally and internationally! It’s knowing you and so many more colleagues that brighten my day!

Ellen Delap 02/19/2016 08:53 AM

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About Janine

Janine Adams

Hello! I’m Janine Adams — a certified professional organizer based in St. Louis, and the creator of Peace of Mind Organizing®.

I love order, harmony + beauty, but I believe that the way that you feel about yourself and your home is what truly matters.

If you’re ready to de­clutter with a purpose and add more ease to your life, you’ve found the right blog — and you’ve found the right gal.

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