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Q6: Chapters and organizational members

What changes would you like to see in the way ISOC and chapters support each other and the way chapters interact with other chapters? What changes would you like to see in the way ISOC and organizational members support each other and the way organizational members interact with other organizational members?

This entry was posted by the ISOC Elections Committee on Friday, March 9th, 2007 at 11:43 am. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 or Atom 1.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

6 Responses to “Q6: Chapters and organizational members”

  1. Comment by: Patrick Vande Walle   
    March 12th, 2007 at 7:07 am

    Let me restate the obvious: ISOC is a membership organization. This means that, in the end, the board is supposed to do what the membership decides. For this, we need to re-tool the organization to have a real bottom-up model.

    For both individual and organizational members, ISOC needs to define which return on investment it provides. Whatever the membership fee, one does not get money for nothing. For the organizational members, this could be in the form of one-to-one contacts with the ISOC staff to discuss issues. For all types of members, they should have more visibility into processes like policy drafting. It is one thing to run online surveys. It is another to actually have members participating in the drafting exercise.

    Unfortunately, I do not see much support from ISOC to its chapters yet. The small project grants is a good initiative and has to be both continued and taken one step further to cover more ambitious and multi-chapter projects. As chapters unite efforts on a regional basis, like ISOC-ECC in Europe or similar efforts from Arabic countries, there is a potential for larger and longer-term projects.

    Chapters also should be provided tools that help them spread the ISOC values: press releases in other languages than English come to mind. Chapters need to become more professional. This requires tighter integration of chapters within ISOC. A set of minimal common services that each chapter should be able to offer needs to be defined. ISOC could then organize regional training sessions and provide some of the resources.

  2. Comment by: Amitabh Singhal   
    March 15th, 2007 at 8:58 am

    In principal, i believe and therefore broadly agree with what Patrick says i.e. revitalise Chapters to become a strong ‘social marketing channel’ . A suggested action plan could start with Updates on existing local chapters, their constituents, list and extent of activities, which in turn could be evaluated to assess their effectiveness in penetrating the target audience, ie. the goverment, industry, institutions, ngo’s, etc. A vital part of this evaluation would be to mark territories worlwide which still do not have chapters, or local ISOC presence yet and take steps to create them.
    I wonder if it would be in order to have some results and accountability system between all chapters and ISOC, some kind of periodical appraisal. I say this from my experiences from the developing economies perspectives, where i have yet to see some really effective visibility and presence of ISOC or it’s value proposition in the government’s, industry and regulators canvas, while these three pillars of our communications society decide the fate of what Internet should be.

    A look at the organisation member list throws up the first question in my mind – which is – aren’t there many more organisations world wide who should logically be members. Increasing the numbers will not only help financially support ISOC ambitious budgetary plans for the next 3 years, it could possibly help improve upon it. Wider membership base will create (again i repeat ) an ISOC platform oriented value proposition for members to interact more extensively, bring forth innovative new opportunities to the table and let’s face it – all organisations look for returns from whatever they participate in. I dare say that the staff, board and others in the community should focus on creating this value orientation. Org members have to be able to count on each other for information, support, share, organise, train, do business with and ISOC can be the WAN bridge that enables all that.

  3. Comment by: Desiree Miloshevic   
    March 23rd, 2007 at 11:47 am

    ISOC should launch programs for chapters and continue to support chapter initiatives directly and through establishing regional bureaus. As an example we might consider a twinning program where a chapter from a developed part of the world would become a twin to one in a less-developed part of the world, to foster direct links between communities.

    To facilitate deliberation and improve member’s experience ISOC should involve its members in various educational, training and public policy programs. Advisory Council meetings as well use of new on-line collaborative tools should motivate existing and new Organisational members to interact more frequently with the Board and the ISOC management, to better access and exchange information as well as provide feedback.

  4. Comment by: Alejandro Pisanty   
    March 25th, 2007 at 6:56 pm

    We need to incentivate more collaboration among chapters and between chapters and the central organization. We can do this by organizing joint events, conributions from one chapter to another’s events or policy and education activities, etc. as the Mexico chapter has done several times with others in Latin America, the U.S., and organizations in Spain.

    The interaction between organizational members and chapters has essentially not been explored. It should be done in such ways that a Chapter’s activities have a good match with an organizational member’s interests, within the ISOC framework. Thus a company could find good reasons to sponsor a Chapter’s activities under the ISOC and the company’s seal. This would apply especially to educational activities, as I would oppose in general that Chapters are used as vehicles to promote the public-policy interests of single companies.

    The diversity of Chapter structures adds opportunities here; some are organized mostly as bottom-up, “grassroots” social organizations while others are more like industry Trade Associations. The Board of Trustees and ISOC management must undertake actively to build these linkages by identifying both organizational members’ interests and Chapters’ capabilities, and matching them in win-win partnerships.

  5. Comment by: Olivier Muron   
    April 2nd, 2007 at 9:25 am

    I participated to a meeting between ISOC’s HQ and representatives of the chapters in Lisbon last week. I was impressed by the willingness of the Chapters to get more involved. The liaison between Board, staff and the Chapters should be reinforced in both directions and I fully support the Chapter Development Program recently announced.

    Concerning the organizational members, one should try to increase the value offered to members, by strengthening the links between the AC, the staff and the Board. The Org Wiki will be a useful tool for that purpose. A large number of public policies issues is on the table (see my response to Q4). To reach consensus positions on these issues, there should be a broad discussion within the members. One should also try to rely on the Members to disseminate ISOC’s vision on a wider basis.

    Concerning org members, one important issue is the outreach to extend the org membership to stakeholders that are now under-represented (see my response to Q1).

  6. Comment by: Charles Mok   
    April 28th, 2007 at 4:31 am

    While chapters operate independently and at different levels of geographical coverage, it may be worthwhile to explore the establishment of more regionally based activities and alliance between chapters. This will help many chapters gain a broader view of issues that they face, and get mutual support from their neighbors, and related organizational members. ISOC can help play an initiating role for this process and development. In fact, many organizational members should welcome such activities and efforts to enable them with better access to the local chapters, through some regional efforts or alliances, which will “lower the transaction costs” for everyone.

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