Wednesday, August 15, 2007

STC Member Forum

Do you subscribe or read the STC Member Forum (http://stcforum.org/)? If you do, you might have noticed an issue that surfaced some time ago. There was an email that went out from the Society (http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=kJsO1Y5yI0KibbIyi_2fAziQ_3d_3d). It requested your participation in a survey for Knowledge-Based Governance. (These surveys, in my opinion, are good things. The more the Society board knows about members needs and wants the better.)

One of the questions in the survey related to the "auto-assign" feature in the new membership management software the office is implementing. And this has been a topic of some rather testy comments on the STC Member Forum. It seems that the auto-assign function picks what chapter (or geographical community, if you prefer) to place you in when you become a member or change addresses. Here in Atlanta, that isn't an issue because there is only one chapter to belong to in the state. But, if you live in the New York City area or the Los Angeles area, it can become a problem.

On the STC Member Forum, a member from the New York area moved. They had been a member of the Connecticut chapter. Because they moved closer to the New York City area, the auto-assign feature kicked in and re-assigned the member from the Connecticut chapter to the New York City chapter. And, to top that off, the member wasn't notified of the change in chapter membership. They found out by accident.

So the president of the Connecticut chapter tried to get the board to change the policy and de-activate the auto-assign feature, at least for the Connecticut chapter. The Society sent out a survey to the Connecticut members that was, in my opinion, poorly worded and that did not explain the reason for the request. The voting on the survey was "inconclusive" so the auto-assign feature is still active.

The new survey that was sent out to the entire membership asked the same question with no explanation at all. Should the auto-assign be a feature in the new membership management software or not. I imagine, unless you have been following this development in the STC Member Forum, you didn't have a clue as to the reason for the question. (I would be curious to know how you answered this survey question.)

Admittedly, I am not a association management expert. I have no idea what constitutes "best practices" for associations. But I fail to see the value in this feature. Can you enlighten me? Please comment if you understand the reason why we would want our membership affiliations to be determined by a software program and not by us. I want to know. There has got to be a reason else our newly hired Society office staff and Executive Director would not be pushing this as a question. I just want to understand. And, then, maybe they are not pushing it. Maybe it was just a poorly worded question.

Until next time.

1 comment:

Mike Hughes said...

I saw it as an attempt to reduce red-tape in filling out the forms. Just as I admire a form that does not ask me for my city and state because that information is contained in the zip code I am also providing, I saw it as a benefit. I understand the issue better now that you have explained it. No good deed goes unpunished, it seems; try to make something easier and you end up making it harder for some.