This topic has been on my mind since the early 2000s when I was the Internet chair of the Las Vegas Valley Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). Since then I’ve gone on to be president of that chapter, a member of the Independent Practitioners Alliance executive committee, VP of communications for the Greater Salt Lake Chapter, International Assembly Delegate-at-Large, and now serve as Chair-Elect of the PRSA North Pacific District.
I was happy to receive the book Race for Relevance at this year’s PRSA Leadership Rally. And I was even happier to read the authors’ take on improving technology and delivering value to professional association members.
In a perfect world, when it comes to technology, here’s what I’d wish for PRSA chapters, districts and sections:
A WordPress driven website with subdomain sites for each entity. National would use prsa.org, the North Pacific District could use northpacificdistrict.prsa.org, and the Greater Salt Lake Chapter would use a domain like saltlakechapter.prsa.org, for example.
National would provide all the local or regional organizations with user logins tied to credentials based on volunteer roles (WordPress allows for a number of admin user roles).
This website structure would consolidate all domains and maximize search placement for the association and its local/regional groups. It would also provide consistency for its brand and Internet presence as well as an easy newsroom/blogging platform for everyone.
The site would use a plugin to manage events, registrations, and online payments for everything from networking events to professional development luncheons and district conferences. It would be a hub for managing events, including awards programs – everything from accepting registrations and payments for professional development luncheons and mixers to accepting award entries and supporting documentation, processing entry and admission payments.
A plugin would also be used to guide staff and volunteers alike on search optimization (my recommendation: Yoast SEO).
Each subdomain could include a connect or social page where social media content is shared so visitors can like and follow what’s going on without ever leaving the site.
There would also be a cloud storage portal, either through a WordPress plugin or a third-party cloud solution (similar to current myPRSA functionality).
The tool would come with email management capabilities tied right-in to PRSA national’s member data. A subscription widget would also accept email addresses of those who want to opt-in to that group’s messages.
The site would include all of PRSA’s awesome professional development content in a format that’s easy to access from the national or local pages.
Group leaders could access their own membership data to search for Accredited members, former association leaders or some other expertise they could call on to further their goals for the year. And leaders could message and reach out to their members all from one central dashboard.
This ‘perfect world’ set-up would give PRSA national a much stronger connection to its local organizations. It would support a stronger brand for PRSA. It would streamline duties and tasks and return valuable time to association volunteers who are already stretched too thin. And PRSA could easily pull from all those subdomains to share content in a best practices and ‘look at the cool things they’re doing’ sort of way.
I know that prsa.org is being re-developed. Hopefully some of these ideas make it into the pipeline.
What other functionality would you like to see PRSA provide its chapters and other groups?