All of us wear a number of hats. One of my hats is president of the Rochester Chapter of STC (Society for Technical Communication), a professional organization of ~70 members locally. STC has struggled in recent years, with membership declining from ~20,000 worldwide a couple of years ago to ~8000 members today. The decline has been due to a number of factors–questions of relevancy, maybe the bad economy, rising dues, aging membership, etc.
The decline in both local and international membership is causing us to reexamine who we are and what value we bring. In other words, what’s our value proposition?
Our STC Rochester leadership council is working on this issue. What value do we provide to our local members? What value do we provide to our community, especially to local employers?
A key input for redefining our value proposition is understanding who our membership is.
Technical communicators work in a number of fields. We’re not all technical writers. Some of us write marketing materials. Some of us design training. Some of us may be grant writers. Others may work in usability. As the business base in Rochester has changed from large manufacturing companies–Eastman Kodak, Xerox, Bausch and Lomb, AC-Delco, etc.–to a number of small companies, the number of straight “technical writer” jobs available has decreased significantly. In other words, our membership is heterogeneous and requires a wider breadth of programs/activities addressing their needs and interests.
This week we started defining goals for our chapter. We’ll see where that takes us.
- Open Mike: Blogging with Mike Hughes (notebook.stc.org)
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