AITP - A look back at 2005, A look forward to 2006
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Posted by: rk Gilfand, CDP, CPCU, CLU, ChFC
2005 has been a tremendous year of activity for AITP. And 2006 promises to be even more exciting. Here is a look back at some of the accomplishments of the past year and a look forward to our plans for providing even more benefits to AITP members.
2005 is the year that AITP "turned the corner". The membership decline of the past years halted. The association conducted membership drives that brought in new members. We started a program where former members are contacted and many pledged to rejoin the association. New chapters, both professional and student, were formed.
The association increased communications to members. Chapter and Region leaders now receive regular communications from headquarters. Thanks to the enormous effort of Kevin Jetton and his committee, we had a very successful National Collegiate Conference (NCC).
We had a financially positive 2004. And, the outlook for 2005 is positive. There were many changes in operations. AITP streamlined some processes and automated others. We made changes in headquarters staff to improve the service provided to members, chapters, regions, and our affiliate vendors and organizations. Most notably we recently added Eric Hawkinson to our headquarters staff. And we are most grateful to our SmithBucklin partners for the assistance from Jim Luisi as our interim Executive Director.
Thanks to Mark Kleine's dedication and many long hours, and with the help of the SmithBucklin IT department, we completed the self-provisioning project. Now the process of joining AITP; renewing membership; and making changes to name, address, etc. is automated. This means memberships are processed faster, with less manual effort. This reduces the possibility for errors and frees up staff to better serve our customers.
Chapter and Region leaders have a number of new tools at their disposal. This includes new chapter and region membership reports and easy methods to send information to members and other leaders. Chapters now have the ability to create mailing lists of non-members and to them send information about chapter events. A program for direct deposit of chapter checks was completed.
AITP purchased new display 'booths' that chapters and regions can check out. Chapter and Region leaders can read all about the booths, see what they look like, learn how to use them and order them at their chapter and region pages on the AITP web portal.
The AITP web portal received a new look in the fall of 2005. It features easier navigation, more news and information on the home page, and a whole lot more. Information Executive received a make-over as well. Now members, chapter leaders, region leaders, and committee chairs can easily submit articles for publication.
We added more vendor affiliate programs for AITP members, providing even more discounts to educational opportunities, research, products and services.
Under the leadership of President Brian Reithel, the Board of Directors focused on planning. We re-affirmed what we want the association to be and the members we wish to serve. We developed a vision for the next three years.
2004 was a year of building a new infrastructure. In 2005 we refined that infrastructure. In 2006 and beyond we will use the infrastructure to attract new partnerships, develop new direct member benefits, and most importantly to increase our communications.
Communication is the key to our success. The more we communicate and the better we communicate, the more the association will grow. Members will learn more about the benefits of membership. Our partners, vendor affiliates and industry affiliates will know that they can reach IT professionals through AITP. That means they will offer more discounts and other benefits to AITP members. Our members will have access to more IT education and information. Chapter and region leaders will learn more about what resources are available to them.
Those chapters and those regions who do well at communicating are the ones that grow. The same is true for the association. The better we communicate the more we can serve our members and grow.
It is tradition that the incoming president gives a name to the upcoming year. In that tradition, 2006 will be the 'Year of Communication'. This is communication both internally and externally. We will formalize and increase our communication with members, chapter leaders, region leaders, committees and task forces. And, we will focus communications outward -- to potential partners and affiliates and publications. 2006 will be a year where more of the IT industry learns about AITP.
We will work to not just halt the decline of membership, but to actually grow. We will improve retention rates and increase new members. We will do that by building on the infrastructure created over the past few years, capitalizing on recent successes, and by learning from what was not so successful. With the vision we crafted in 2005, we will concentrate on programs that will bring additional real, tangible benefits of membership. We will work with chapter and region leaders to help ensure their success and growth. We will reach out to the IT industry -- working with vendors, publications and even other associations to increase the visibility of AITP and bring more benefits to members.
We will build on the work started in 2005 to increase the number of Special Interest Groups and help them provide a forum for discussion, education, and growth within their specialty. We will, of course, continue what has been AITP's crowning achievement - the National Collegiate Conference, which is an investment in the future of our industry. And we will explore ways to bring professional conference material directly to our members, instead of having members travel to our conference.
We will expand the offering of chapter and region leadership training, building on the success of the Region 3 program. We will continue our work to automate processes and streamline operations in order to put more dues dollars to work on direct tangible benefits to members. We will develop more programs to increase membership and to provide more benefits to chapters.
I am excited about AITP's prospects in 2006. We have a great team in the Executive Committee, Board of Directors, HQ Staff, Region leaders and Chapter leaders. Together, we will grow our association to become the IT professional organization of choice for providing leadership opportunities, professional development and personal growth.
2006 AITP Association President