Boy, did A Fuse #8 Production hit a nerve with her post about The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. What became really interesting in the comments was the way the discussion moved away from Fuse's original post regarding the organization being for-profit to whether or not published writers get much from being members.
My experience with SCBWI is a little backwards because I didn't join until after I'd published a few books. I've never attended a national conference, and I've only gone to one regional conference. The conferences for my region moved further from me and the offerings seem directed primarily at new writers, so I don't bother making the trip.
However, at the one conference I did attend, I went to a workshop on storytelling that absolutely revolutionized my school presentations and the way I speak in public, period. For the better, by the way. At least, the presentations are a whole lot easier on me.
Some of the posters at A Fuse #8 Production said that all they got for their dues were some publications in the mail. I actually like getting those publications. Yes, I have felt that some of them were a little amateurish. But I don't go out to the office for work. I don't meet colleagues at the water cooler or in the ladies' room. I rarely see or speak to anyone who does what I do. The materials I receive from the SCBWI give me a little feeling of connection with other writers.
I'll probably stay with the SCBWI until something better drops into my lap. (I'm too lazy to actually go looking for something.)
By the way, my regional newsletter arrived while I was on vacation. I haven't read it yet.