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A Busy 2014 So Far, with More Ahead


February 27, 2014

The first quarter of each year is especially busy for PRSA across our organization — at both the National and local levels. We see new leaders take office, we establish or adjust committees, we calculate the prior year’s financial results, and we roll out new programs and plans.

We’ve all been busy the first quarter of 2014 with new and old projects. Among other things, in early January we finally received approval from our insurance company to finish needed office repairs after a large water pipe burst in our ceiling last year — repairs that workers finished just in time to host Foundation, Board of Directors and Universal Accreditation Board meetings.

Meanwhile, we’ve been tallying last year’s financials, which our auditors are in the process of verifying, and preliminary indicators show that 2013 was a healthy year from a financial perspective. A 2.8 percent increase in membership from 2012, continuing a slow but steady post-recession climb, helped.

One survey of organizations similar to PRSA found that for 2013, 76 percent of respondents either lost members, didn’t show an increase, or increased between 1 and 5 percent — our 2013 results place us at the upper end of that range.

Looking ahead

There are many exciting projects on the horizon for 2014. We’re developing a Diversity Toolkit to encourage diverse practitioners to enter the profession, and will also be celebrating a “Diversity Month.” The toolkit will be a package of resources that we’ll make available using PRSA’s considerable connections and resources, including our 300+ PRSSA Chapters across the country.

We’re preparing to undertake triennial member research to measure your satisfaction with PRSA. This project involves a large sample of members with extensive cross tabulation of the results, and we should have preliminary results from this survey sometime mid-year.

We’re working with the Universal Accreditation Board — a PRSA Committee — to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the APR, which provides an excellent opportunity to raise awareness of the credential.

Even as we celebrate the APR’S anniversary, our task force (to help strengthen the credential) will be busy reviewing the recommendations made by the Organizational Performance Group (OPG), as well as input that we received from many members after making OPG’s report available. Look for the task force’s report before the end of the year.

We’re developing a Group Membership program for organizations with large communications staffs to enhance the value they can get from PRSA. The program will feature consolidated invoicing, an easy mechanism for handling staff changes, and discounts for new groups or for adding members to already existing groups.

We’re in the process of moving many of our IT assets and infrastructure into the cloud to provide for better redundancy and reliability. More important, our data will be closer to our website — meaning that, when the migration is complete, the PRSA site will respond more quickly when you visit it.

We’re taking a closer look at how we’re creating and delivering content to you. By the end of the year, we expect you should be seeing more videos from PRSA.

In January, we met with top Pentagon brass to raise awareness of our Moving Veterans Forward program, which provides a year of free membership to veterans who have public affairs skills and are transitioning to civilian jobs.

We’re preparing to have a fantastic International Conference in Washington, D.C. Conference Co-chairs, Jim Olson and Elise Mitchell, APR, Fellow PRSA, are already providing some great, innovative ideas for speakers. Mark your calendar now and plan to spend Oct. 12–14 with hundreds of your colleagues!

Providing support and benefits

During the early part of each year, it is also crucial that we provide deep support to our Chapters. Our Board members have been in the process of reaching out to new Chapter leaders to make sure that they have what they need from National.

We’re offering orientation webinars, documents and templates, reports on Chapter performance, recruiting materials and campaigns, leadership training, speakers for luncheons and other resources available to help position Chapter leaders for success.

In the meantime, we’re delivering the benefits that you expect, from our webinars to our Silver Anvil program, our publications to our Jobcenter, and so much more.

But the year has only just begun, so check back in this space every month to see what else we are working on — and, if you have a suggestion for something you’d like to see, then write me an email.

 

William (Bill) M. Murray, CAE, is the chief executive officer of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)
Email: william.murray at prsa.org



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