Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Is Your Association "Too Bureaucratic and Less Relevant in the Internet Age"?

A few days ago there was a front page article in the Washington Post about Fairfax County schools dropping out of the PTA. I happened to skim it and realized that it was really relevant to associations on the whole. The article is focused on the PTA, obviously, but the story really reads as a wake-up call for associations, even those with "golden handcuffs."

Facts the article details about the PTA:

  • The national PTA has lost a million members in the past decade

  • A past president of an independently-formed new Parent-Teacher-Student Organization stated that "the national group is too bureaucratic and less relevant in the Internet age, when parents have access to education-related news...and can get involved politically in other ways."

  • The national PTA's mission "Every child/one voice" is at odds with what today's parents want--to focus on their individual school's needs

  • Parents are finding new ways to get school-related information and organize online

The article detailed some ways the PTA is struggling to regain its footing--using social networking sites to connect with younger parents, reaching out to dads and immigrant parents instead of the stay-home moms who used to be the mainstay of PTAs. But if parents can connect online and in person for free and focus on their individual school's needs without paying dues, what is the motivation for them to remain connected to the national association?

Now insert your association here and ask yourself--could the same thing happen to us?

Definitely food for thought...

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