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Is EFA membership worth it?

Question mark painted on brick

I just renewed my membership.

Editors new to freelancing often ask if membership in the Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA) is worth it. So this year I tracked the membership benefits that I actually used, and how much money they helped me save.


$180     First-time membership fee (in 2020)


$100     Member discount for ACES two-day conference (Normally $250 for nonmembers, I paid $150)

$26       I saved 19£ on the online course Proofreading 1 through the 10% discount on CIEP courses

This was a great proofreading course! I plan to take the next one.

$21       Member discount on a one-year subscription to PerfectIt

$16       Member discount for EFA course: Proofreading and Copyediting with Chicago Manual of Style

I don’t love the Sakai platform that this course was on, and I have since taken courses I like better on this topic. But I very much appreciated that this course was available at the time I needed it.

$2.50   ACES conference discount on EFA booklet Resumes for Freelancers

At a total savings of around $165, the membership benefits that I used came very close to canceling out the cost of the membership fees.

I also benefited from free, members-only courses.

These on-demand and live webinars for EFA members were helpful to me as a new freelancer:

  • Setting up Your Freelance Editorial Business
  • Creating a Persuasive Website for Your Freelance Business
  • Setting (or Resetting) Your Freelance Rates – And Talking About Them With Clients

It was an unusual year, one in which the EFA discounts on coworking spaces and travel were less appealing. But the membership still felt worth it to me. It wasn’t a hard choice to click renew this year, especially at the lower renewal rate of $145.

Your mileage may vary. When the “worth it” question comes up in editing forums, editors have always been generous about weighing in with their personal experience. Some people get clients from the EFA job board, some don’t. Some editors feel that the EFA is focused on newcomers, and others disagree. One thing I suggest checking out is whether the EFA has a local chapter in your state. My state, Kentucky, doesn’t have an EFA chapter yet, but many other state chapters welcomed me to their events when we were virtual this past year. The discussion archive for the Facebook group Editors’ Association of Earth is full of people weighing in on this question—to find these discussions, search the archive using the hashtag #association.

But membership is about more than money.

To some extent, I kept track of these costs this year for myself. It’s nice to feel like I made a smart financial investment this year. But I don’t plan to keep tracking line items this year. If you’re in the position to, consider the value of membership beyond tallying up line items. I see now that the EFA is working together with organizations like ACES and the CIEP to help editors find the professional development and community we need to be successful. Together, they provide valuable services that I want to continue to support as I’m able.

Photo by Matt Walsh on Unsplash

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