Groupon may be a better deal for some associations than it is for a lot of businesses.

The company recently offered a $20 discount on a $44 annual membership in the Chicago Area Runners Association (CARA), a 7,000 member organization, and the third largest running group in the nation.

The deal snared 1,314 new CARA members.

The advantage for an association is that, unlike a restaurant, movie, or retail store, an organizational membership can be activated within a longer period of time. It doesn't have to be used that day.

So, CARA has one year to satisfy members enough to get them to renew at the regular rate.

For associations with large audiences - there are an estimated 260,000 runners in the Chicago metropolitan area - Groupon could serve as an excellent membership recruitment tool.