PRSA looks to improve member experience with strategic plan

The organization will focus on member diversity, professional development, and thought leadership over the next three years.

Jane Dvorak, chair of the PRSA for 2017.
Jane Dvorak, chair of the PRSA for 2017.

NEW YORK: Over the next three years, the Public Relations Society of America is looking to improve its member diversity, professional development, and thought leadership capabilities.

The PRSA released the strategic plan during its conference, which was held October 23-25. The group’s leadership team based the plan on internal member surveys and feedback along with looking to other professional organizations for inspiration on how to continue growing, said Jane Dvorak, chair of the PRSA for 2017.

To expand its membership, the PRSA aims to partner with other organizations to cross train members between the different organizations and attract people from different backgrounds. An example, Dvorak said, is a chapter that brought in a video production company to train PRSA members on video basics or cross training PR professionals on marketing and advertising skills as the line between these industries blurs.

The society is also working to help its student members break into the industry with its New Professionals section. It also wants retain them from student to professional members as they graduate with programs that will keep them coming back.

"We are looking at how we can ensure we are relevant to those young populations," Dvorak said. "For millennial [members], if it's worth it they'll be part of it. We want to show them that it's worth it and be a little more innovative creating packages and materials for members."

The society wants to broaden its professional development programs to include more general topics like finance, supervisor skills, and technology. It also wants to work more closely with chapters to expand access to its development programs.

"I don't think other people have looked at us as business professionals, but we are," Dvorak said. "We provide strategic business counsel to leaders and we need to be solid in our skill sets. We’re taking a bolder move in putting that in the forefront of what we do for members."

The PRSA’s final goal is to become more of a thought leader in the industry. Over the next couple of years, the society plans to partner with other organizations on studies on the industry. Dvorak gave the example of working with organizations like The Institute for PR and Ethisphere Institute to commission studies.

"We’re going to look different into the future," Dvorak said. "We’re stepping our game up, capitalizing on those opportunities, and making the plan very agile so the society can be very nimble to adjust to changes in the industry."

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