Use of modern technology by societies

Modern technology? Some readers of this column will, like me, be old enough to remember when meetings started with the laborious reading of the minutes of the previous meeting; with the reader often struggling to read his or her own handwriting. Happily, times have changed, with most minutes typed and pre-circulated. The uptake of even more modern technology such as emails and on-line polls has been slower, but the technologically ill-equipped seem to be in an ever decreasing minority. A modern society constitution should, as a minimum provide for email advice of meetings and their business, and with proposals to reduce postal deliveries from 6 days a week many constitutions will be due for further review (hopefully also considering the implications of my earlier article “What does a “Clear Day” mean?”). Whether or not and how to use modern means of communications are key issues for societies seeking to remain relevant in serving their members. An Australian adviser with a “consultancy service specialising in sponsorship, membership and turnarounds for associations, charities and other non-profit organisations,” examines a question – “Membership is dead?” at http://www.smsonline.net.au/pages/membership-is-dead.html. She summarises the issue: “A number of powerful generational, cultural and economic forces are colliding to create a perfect storm that will make the next 5-20 years some of the toughest ever faced by associations. Associations who don’t adapt face a slow decline into obscurity as they are replaced by newer, more innovative, less bureaucratically challenged, less change resistant competitors. While the idea of membership will continue, the antiquated models of recruiting, retaining and engaging members cannot survive in an increasingly challenging and ever-changing operating...