I was delighted to read your November 20 column that addressed the status and needed actions for PRSA. I hope that in the future PRWeek will provide more coverage of the society.
Your summation on PRSA suggests that it needs to address things in a more agile, attentive, responsive manner, or it will lose status and role.
I agree that the responsibility of an organization is to provide effective, future-considering service to its members at the most reasonable cost. This is a process that must focus primarily and effectively on satisfying the needs and wishes of the membership. This is a process that is most effectively served by asking the members what they want, observing what they need, and sharing the survey results, so that a shared blueprint for the future is planned, developed, and implemented.
Senior practitioners have drifted away from PRSA. Some felt it was no longer relevant. Others hold membership, but don't actively participate. Therefore, the society is denied the leadership skills and influence it sorely needs. The decline in PRSA membership in New York City is dramatic proof of the decline in interest and participation.
The construction of the dues and expense structure has introduced many concerns. While the student society (PRSSA) has flourished, there is no effective series of steps to bridge from student to professional-level dues. Each year, many of the brightest graduates move on and away from PRSA. Similarly, there is no reduced dues structure to help retain senior members. In addition, the major event of the PRSA year, the International Conference, is very expensive and attended by a relative few.
Membership is not often consulted on major considerations. A basic resource, the printed annual directory, was canceled without advance notice to the membership. Similarly, the advance briefing for matters coming before the assembly was less than revealing.
It would seem that those who create most of the annual reports for clients would address the pros and cons of every issue as is the practice and requirement of any annual report. PRSA members deserve at least the same consideration as shareholders, including thorough advance notice of administration plans, programs, and expenses.
The task of any organization is to serve its members actively, wisely, and practically. This means giving all of them a sense of participation, inviting them to become more active, and providing services at the least possible cost so that all members will want to, and can afford to, participate fully.
It is also hoped that PRWeek will play a more active role in helping PRSA become more important and relevant. Good coverage stimulates better achievement and service.