People who work for associations, like NWiR, NRCA, or IIBEC are in the profession of association management. We have professional associations for ourselves too: people like Alison LaValley, Brian Pallasch and myself belong to an association for association executives where we have colleagues who work for associations, we have community bulletin boards where we discuss hundreds of association issues, and we also have professional development and certifiations. One of the hot topics over the past few years in association management forums has been a big shift in the way that members of associations communicate. It used to be listservs or bulletin boards, then it changed into discussion forums and now we are seeing a shift into “one-stop shopping” where these member gathering areas almost look like an old school intranet … but on major steroids. Over the past three months, the NWiR staff, our association management company, and the executive committee has been weighing the benefits of introducing a new member community. At the same time, we are faced with exponential growth in our programs and a significant increase in our local councils and the activities of those councils.
As we researched more deeply into this issue, it became pretty clear that a phased launch of a new member community was what NWiR needed to be able to sustain its current level of programs and to continue its growth. Over the next few months, we’ll be introducing a member community platform to the mentorship programs, the council leaders, and then to the board of directors. The new platform will allow all sorts of things in a protected confidential environment that will only be accessible to NWiR members – discussion groups and subgroups, file sharing, resources, event reminders, messaging among other things. Best of all – it will streamline the passwords that volunteer leaders so that they’ll be able to access almost everything they need with the very same username and password that they use to log into the existing MyNWIR, which is our member database.