Professional Associations face a number of challenges as their overheads rise, the economic future become more uncertain, event sponsorship reduces, and increasing membership fees to cover the cost of member services is a sure route to decline. These issues are eloquently described in his 2010 Conference speech by SLA Treasurer, Dan Trefethen.
SLA is strenuously cutting costs and reviewing structures whilst making its best efforts to meet the needs of its members.
Candle in the wind or a beacon for the future? Professional associations facing an uncertain future featured in June’s Business Information Review (27(2), is therefore particularly timely. Stimulated by the demise of CiG, Oriole Newgass explores what makes professional organisations work for their members, and suggests why some are successful and some not so. The issues facing CILIP are identical with those facing SLA and suggest that the larger professional organisations may face greater difficulty than those with a narrower focus.
Getting involved with a professional organisation has been a great development route for many leading information professionals. Now is the time for all of us to review what we gain from this involvement and to see how we can realistically help sustain a viable future for those organisations that we align with best.