Monday, June 25, 2007

ISP Associations

ISP associations tend to fade. Many start strong then lose the intensity of the fight. Or the bitter taste of defeat weakens the foundation. Lately, news is coming in that most of the state organizations like NCCISP have faded. Maybe not gone away, but definitely lost steam and focus. Our own II4A that was founded for the political fight in DC faded.

Usually it's because you can't get enough member participation. Volunteers are the engine of the association. Volunteers fill the Board seats and committees. Yes, volunteers may appear to be pushing their own agenda at times, but that usually happens when there aren't many active members volunteering to present and drive a unified agenda.

Also, most associations are not run by professionals. It's all volunteers. When FISPA was building steam, it had a professional association management company running things. Certified Association Executives perform valuable functions:

  • Somebody has to keep the minutes.
  • Make sure that rules, by-laws, and charter are followed.
  • Maintain the Website.
  • Interface with vendors.
  • Solicit vendors - and be a contact point for vendors.
  • Be a contact point for the Media.
  • Pursue a membership drive.
  • Organize and sell a Meeting with interesting content / agenda.
  • Stay on top of what members needs are.
  • Provide training or education to the members.
  • Keep the members active - at least 20% of them any way.
  • Budget.

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