Paying Association Magazine Markets By John K. Borchardt

Magazines published by hundreds of associations and professional organizations offer lucrative freelance markets. The ‘Associations’ section of lists 34 association magazines and there are many more. The ‘Encyclopedia of Associations’ lists over 135,000 nonprofit membership organizations worldwide while the ‘National Organizations of the U.S.’ details over 22,200 national associations. (Both these directories are published by Thomson Gale.) The association listings in these directories indicate whether specific organizations publish magazines or newsletters. Some of these publications target members of a specific profession such as ‘Contract Management’ or people interested in working on various types of civic projects such as Rotary International’s ‘The Rotarian.’ Yet others such as ‘The Elks Magazine’ are published by fraternal organizations. Some are for people sharing a common recreational interest such as The Ramblers Association’s ‘Walk’ and ‘USDF Connection,’ which covers dressage, an equestrian sport. Some target readers interested in self improvement such as Toastmaster’s International’s ‘The Toastmaster.’

Association magazines cover a broad range of other topics as well. For example, ‘The Rotarian’ and ‘The Lion,’ publish articles on their clubs’ community service projects as well as on business, medical concerns, science and many other subjects. These and other association magazines offer freelancers unique opportunities to write for national audiences while covering local stories – outstanding projects of the organization’s chapter in your area. Some such as ‘The Lion’ and ‘The Optimist’ focus primarily on these stories. Local chapters of many associations are happy to add freelance writers to their mailing lists in hopes of receiving national coverage. However, in some publications such as ‘The Elks Magazine,’ all organization news is written in-house.

Many professional organization magazines publish articles on job hunting and career development. Examples include ‘Black MBA Magazine,’ the official magazine of the Black MBA Association and the ‘National Society of Black Engineers Journal.’

It’s not easy getting published in many association magazines. As for all magazines, freelancers have to understand the readership and what sorts of articles they are interested in. Both Rich Kolb, editor-in chief of VFW Magazine, and Suzanne Frey, manager of The Toastmaster emphasize that to get published in their magazines freelancers need to understand what the organization does and what sorts of people are members. For this reason, generalized queries often will not win assignments. For example, many professional association magazines publish articles on evergreen topics such as writing r