Sunday, January 4, 2009
Our Board of Directors, acting as a committee-of-the-whole, as it has in the past, is incapable of attending to the growing variety of writers’ needs that WRWA must address today. That’s not because our elected Directors haven’t tried, or haven’t done their jobs. It is because, as the singer says, “The times, they are a-changing,” and one of the biggest—and still expanding—changes in society today is the electronic revolution.
Unless you were born in the Computer Age, and grew up with it, as a Johnny-come-lately senior citizen like me, you have undoubtedly found it difficult to adapt. Just learning to use a word processor, a spreadsheet, and e-mail become challenges, not to mention things like cell phones, iPods, Blackberries, “blogging,” Web “surfing,” Google’ing, and a hundred other electronic devices and processes for instantaneous connection to the whole world.
So, what has the electronic age have to do with providing members’ services in WRWA?
Everything! For example: It will soon be possible to renew your membership and register for a conference by credit card on the WRWA Web site; or, if you do not have computer access, to use your credit card by mail or in person at the registration desk—electronic payment, in other words. That will require a lot of adjustment—time and work—on the part of your officers and “staff” to catch up to other organizations that have been providing that service to their members for years.
That’s just one example of how the electronic age will affect, is affecting, WRWA. I’ll mention more in future “Ramblings,” but here’s another.
All our committees are now in action. They are chaired by competent Directors and “staffed” by willing volunteers from the general membership. And, they are empowered to ACT WITHOUT BOARD INVOLVEMENT as long as their actions are within the coordinated Annual Plan and Annual Budget—which will become a reality at a special board (and staff) meeting called for that purpose on January 17, 2009, in Wisconsin Rapids.
These committees are now conducting their business electronically—by e-mail. After all, with the volume of work facing us to maintain and improve WRWA, no one can afford the time, travel, and expense of in-person committee meetings scattered all over the State of Wisconsin! The Board of Directors, too, will be doing business electronically. In addition to an annual planning/budgeting meeting, the two in-person meetings of the Board in conjunction with the Spring and Fall Conferences, will continue, as will occasional special meetings, but, again, there is simply no way that what has to be done can all be done in just face-to-face meetings.
We Directors, Officers, and Staff are dedicated to the Mission of WRWA, which means we are committed to serve the members. We will use every means available to accomplish the goals and objectives that service requires—and that certainly includes the now-available electronic technology that can assist us.