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Q9. 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? What changes would you like to see in the way Chapters, organizational members, individual members, and the global organization support and interact with each other?

This entry was posted by the ISOC Elections Committee on Tuesday, April 19th, 2011 at 7:43 am. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 or Atom 1.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

3 Responses to “Q9. Chapters and organizational members”

  1. Comment by: Jason Livingood   
    April 22nd, 2011 at 1:07 am

    It seems that chapters may be a somewhat underutilized or underdeveloped resource that ISOC can build upon, and that chapters are capable of adding a great deal of vibrancy, energy, reach, and value to ISOC. This is true across all regions and all degrees of regional Internet development.

    It may be particularly interesting to focus chapter development and support activities in Africa, parts of Latin America, and parts of Asia where Internet use is growing rapidly but the penetration of Internet access may be relatively low. Focusing in such “developing Internet connectivity” regions can help those regions deploy more Internet infrastructure, improve security and reliability, increase the speed and number of end user connections, and develop the technical leaders that are critical to widespread Internet adoption.

    Of course strong chapters in all regions help enable ISOC to organize successful educational activities and workshops, and to see that there is a wide base of support globally for open Internet standards and an open, consensus-based Internet community. This is no less essential in more developed Internet connectivity regions, as these more advanced areas may simply be facing different challenges such as privacy, legacy address family transition, and so on.

    I also think that the very recent election of officers for the Advisory Council (AC) may help bring improved focus, organization, and relevance to the AC. I believe the AC officers now have a great opportunity to demonstrate their ability to add value to ISOC and help bring the practical experience of organization members to ISOC in creative ways, going well beyond member attendance at and participation in AC meetings.

    As for individual members, it seems we may have a relatively small number compared to similar non-profits. It could be beneficial to benchmark the number of individual supporters against similar organizations and to then create quantitative goals for the organization to target (and supporting initiatives). A key part of attracting more individuals may be articulating a stronger value proposition, though this would merit formal study. It seems in any case that ISOC has an opportunity to increase the number of individuals supporting the organization.

    More generally, it seems there may also be an opportunity for greater collaboration and interaction between members or member categories, be they chapters, organizations, or individuals.

    Jason Livingood

  2. Comment by: Theresa Swinehart   
    May 2nd, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    The chapters, organizations and individual members all play important roles. Chapters can play a stronger role in working with ISOC on educational and awareness initiatives, as well as be facilitators of information and expertise to the organization on emerging areas of relevance at national and regional levels. The role of the organizational members, and the Advisory Council with its chartered responsibilities, can also be strengthened, thereby facilitating additional input and expertise, work with chapters (members at a national level), and with the Board of Trustees.
    In essence, individual, chapter and organizational members are a good pulse of the dynamics around Internet issues. The opportunity to strengthen dialogue, draw on membership experience and expertise is important to the work of ISOC, in particular given the rapidly evolving Internet environment. The organization as a whole can facilitate more dialogue amongst the respective groups, and within the respective groups, to strengthen the value and contribution each makes to the discussions and to working together.

  3. Comment by: Marcin Cieślak   
    May 25th, 2011 at 11:29 am

    There is a considerable regional and local diversity among communities that created ISOC chapters. People come to ISOC with different background, and local short- and middle- term needs are different in every region the Internet Society operates in. On top of that most of the global coordination of activities of the individual members and the chapters needs to be done online only, which adds additional complexity in maintaining effective communication channels.

    I think that there is no “silver bullet” solution to those issues and it seems to me that we are not only on the forefront of the Internet technology but we are also in the unique position to create a new, Internet-era, global organisation that encompasses different communities working together for the better Internet.

    To address those issues I would see more specific, cross-regional initiatives focused on some very specific issues from the educational, policy or technical area. We should also periodically evaluate organisational framework of the Internet Society both as a response to the individual, chapter and organisational membership development globally as well as a driving force for future development to achieve broader global and regional impact.

    Regarding organisational members: I believe it is worth exploring possibilities to create programs with global organisational members to descend into regional activities. That would create an additional source of value added to the members at large. A similar synergy with local stakeholders to work together on the regional and global Internet agenda could be one of the key differentiating factors to differentiate ISOC from many other players.