The purpose of PAN is to establish within the RWA framework a network of communication and support to effectively promote and protect the interests of published romance authors; to open channels of communication between those romance authors and other publishing industry professionals; and to encourage professionalism on all levels and in all relationships within the publishing industry.
Very vague, isn't it? And, um, shouldn't RWA being doing this for ALL members?
The only thing I've heard about PAN is you get first pick at editors and agents at conferences. Unfortunately, I don't attend conferences. My Clark Kent-job schedule is hectic and even though I have 4 weeks of vacation, I have to schedule them around monthly closes, quarterly closes, and plan time, which stretches from May to September. My local RWA chapter organizes a conference every two years, but I've been snubbed by these people. (I contacted them three times about joining and they never replied. Since their 6 published authors are NY-pubbed, they might not want an e-pubbed author in their midst.)
And...um...I think that's the only benefit.
Oh, wait! I now get a link on the RWA Authors page. Woopee. Somehow, I don't think that's going to bring me the same amount of traffic as an ad on the Smart Bitches site.
Anyone care to correct me?
EDITED TO ADD: Coincidentally, JA Konrath is discussing writing organizations and their relevance.