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Staying Relevant

Posted By David Clements, Wednesday, November 06, 2013

We managed to survive the recession without increasing membership dues.

Looking back, we managed to survive the recession that started back in 2007 by making tough operational changes over the past three years; and, unlike many organizations, we did this without increasing membership dues. In fact, membership dues have remained the same since January 2009. However, reliance on an improved economy or good luck is not an appropriate action for us at this time. Now, we need to stay current and grow the association, to provide our members the best value for their membership, and to invest in our future.

We retained member confidence in IAEI’s excellent value.

In my "Point in Time” July- August issue, I indicated that it does not matter how I, or the Board of Directors, perceive IAEI; what counts is how you as members, the public, and the electrical industry view us. To understand your viewpoint, we sent out a survey to our members, and we had an excellent response. I want to thank those who took the time to complete the survey as the results provided us with valuable information. Overall, we are pleased with the results and the feedback we received. The survey pointed out several areas where improvements are needed. The survey indicated 87% of our members felt membership in IAEI was of excellent value; however, it also pointed out that we need to do a better job in providing training at the local Chapter and Division levels. We were surprised that many members were not aware of the benefits offered with membership.

So we heard your concerns and feedback, and we have identified several key areas on which we will focus over the next year.

We are increasing the number of local meetings and quality training programs.

First, we will be identifying which of our Chapters and Divisions are not currently offering training or holding meetings. Then we will work with those groups to ensure they hold regular meetings, and we will provide them the support they need to offer quality training programs. Second, we will be looking at better ways to communicate the benefits of membership.

We are reassessing and updating our organizational structure.

During this year’s Executive Committee meeting, the Executive approved the hiring of a consultant to complete an organizational assessment. This resulted from a recommendation made during last November’s board meeting whereby it was noted that our current By-Laws are outdated and are restricting us from growing the association. The findings and recommendations of this assessment will be presented to the Board of Directors during this year’s November Board meeting.

We are re-establishing the IAEI brand.

The Executive Board also agreed that we needed to re-establish IAEI’s brand. The board recognized that our brand is fragmented, and that we must take steps to realign the brand to be viewed as one organization. This means we need to establish IAEI’s brand as a cohesive unit following its mission statement and objectives, and to develop a marketing outreach protocol (templates, logo usage, collateral, messaging, etc.) This will not happen overnight; it is expected to take upward to 18 months or more. We will start by identifying gaps, and we will be working with staff and the Sections, Chapters, and Divisions, and providing them with necessary tools.

We are expanding digital options and becoming interactive.

IAEI magazine has been available in print and in blog format to members for some time. However, it was offered as a beta test in an interactive environment for the past six months. This was available to members at no additional cost and could be accessed from any personal device such as an iPad. We are currently refining the inconsistencies that were found during this initial test. A new interactive will be officially launched in the near future. The new version will be more efficient and engaging. We are also currently piloting the Analysis 2014 book in an E-reader format.

We are updating publications on a tighter schedule.

Our publications are being updated and revised to the current 2014 NEC. Analysis 2014 is currently available. Soares Book on Grounding and Bonding will be available by the first of the year. Hazardous Locations, Photovoltaic Power Systems, the Study Guide books and Ferm’s FastFinder are being updated to the 2014 NEC.

I am excited as to the accomplishments of the past three years and about the direction the Board of Directors is taking to grow and move IAEI to the next level. I commend the work the Sections, Chapters and Divisions are doing to support our members and our mission. Most importantly, I want to thank you, the members, for supporting the IAEI and our mission to promote electrical safety.

We are fund-raising for new facilities to enable growth and outreach.

IAEI Capital Campaign is in progress. I want to thank all those that have donated. We have reached 25% of our goal of two million. We have a way to go.

These funds will be used to help in purchasing a new building complete with modern training rooms for local and remote training; resource library; publication and education work areas to expand production of IAEI products; offices and work areas for staff as well as visiting IAEI members; and electronics infrastructure for internal and expanded external capabilities.

Your donation is a gift for the future. A gift that keeps the public safe by promoting electrical safety through membership, education, and advocacy. A gift that will help future generations of electrical professionals understand the importance of practicing safe installation and staying current with the Code. This association belongs to you, so I encourage you to invest in its future. Donations can be made online at IAEI.org.

Follow Dave on Twitter @DavidEClements

Tags:  Editorial  November-December 2013 

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