Cultural Relevance — Vital to an Association’s Survival

Cultural Relevance — Vital to an Association’s Survival

From the President
From the President

Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t know if you noticed, but we are living in a digital age, and it continues evolving daily. The first electronic computer was invented 72 years ago in 1949, and digital technology has changed the world more in the past twenty years than in the previous fifty. Today we are dependent upon technology in most aspects of our lives, and it is changing, and we must change with it.  Yes, I just used that bad word … “change.”

And that is where I shall begin my conversation about IAEI.  For IAEI to remain culturally relevant in today’s world of instant communication and information, it was critical for us to change our daily operations and programs to bring us up to speed with today’s digital age. I am proud to tell you that IAEI has set into action a plan, and we are on our way to “being culturally relevant.”

Right now, you can go to your computer or smartphone and register for an IAEI CEU eligible online course, which is something you could not do before. One short year ago, IAEI didn’t even offer on-demand and live online training. Furthermore, you can watch that course on your device, at your convenience, from any place in the world.  That is what it means to be culturally relevant!

The frequency of postings on all the IAEI social media platforms is at a level never seen before. Whether you go to Linked In, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, you can read about IAEI programs, publications, trainings, announcements, press releases, and much more. This is all part of an effort to put the IAEI brand into the social media space and expand our outreach. A vast majority of people across the globe rely on the internet and social media for their information, and that includes information about electrical safety. It is critical for IAEI to have a strong and active social media presence, and now we do. That is what it means to be culturally relevant!

The new IAEI website and membership software integrate with one another, making it easier to make purchases, find information, register for events, and pay dues all in one place. It also makes it easier for potential members to visit our website, see all the things IAEI offers, and then join. Associations have been creating their own websites since the late 1990s and having a vibrant and an easy-to-use website puts an association on a path to success. IAEI now has that website! That is what it means to be culturally relevant!

In the spring of this year, we made multiple IAEI publications available in E-book format. This allows IAEI to offer our publications at a discounted price in a widely used format throughout the world. Instead of waiting for a hard copy to be delivered, our customers can gain instant access to our books with a few keystrokes on their computer or smart device. E-books are the preferred method of purchasing publications across the globe, and this should expand our international customer base. That is what it means to be culturally relevant!

For the past 20 years, associations have struggled to attract new and younger members making it difficult to stay alive, all because they have not been culturally relevant. IAEI has also struggled with these issues, but now we have a viable plan to turn things around and focus on being culturally relevant. Even though we are late to the game and are trying to penetrate market spaces that are already saturated by other organizations and individuals, they are not as good as the services that IAEI offers.  We are the Electrical Safety Leader…GLOBALLY!

Since IAEI remains behind the curve in many of these aspects, we are playing catch up, and frankly, we need help. That is why we are recommending a partnership with an agency with greater financial resources, more staff, greater outreach, more modern technology, a larger membership base, and a defined culturally relevant strategic direction to help us achieve our goals. Ladies and gentlemen of IAEI, this is a good thing, not a bad thing, and it will ensure that the 94-year legacy of IAEI continues far into the future.

Rudolph Garza
Rudolph Garza is the president/CEO of the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI).