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PRSA’s Progress: Taking Stock of 2011

Now that we’re more than halfway through a busy year at PRSA, it’s a perfect time to take stock of how 2011 is going. (Editor’s Note: PRSA Chair and CEO Rosanna M. Fiske, APR, offers her mid-year update in this video report.)

The good news is that, despite a challenging economy and lean finances — basically a break-even budget for PRSA this year — we are adhering closely to our operating plans for 2011 and are continuing on course to deliver existing, new and improved member benefits.

Like many organizations, PRSA has its own rhythms. We are currently in the process of selecting our future leaders and planning for our International Conference, which will be held Oct. 15-18, in Orlando, Fla. Sure, not all of our members run for office or attend our Conference, but chances are that we’re working on something that affects you or your Chapter, regardless of your plans.

Responding Faster

In the past year, we revamped our Advocacy program to better reflect your values as PR professionals. Now, we can respond faster to relevant, breaking issues. During the first six months of 2011, we’ve had op-ed articles and commentary published in The Financial Times, The New York Times, USA TODAY, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, PRNewser, PRWeek, Advertising Age, MediaPost, The Guardian, Fast Company and Harvard Business Review, among several others. If you want to learn more, then check out “Advocacy News” in the PRSA Newsroom.

We’ve also refreshed our Member Satisfaction Survey, conducted by Ketchum. We surveyed more than 1,000 members on the value of our programs and their overall satisfaction with PRSA. The results shows that things are moving in the right direction since our last deep survey in 2008. Seventy percent of members surveyed scored PRSA in the top-three boxes on a 10-point scale, a 6-percent increase. You can view full results and commentary here.

Earlier this year, we relaunched our insurance program. A small group of members consistently say that they would like us to carry such coverage through a group program, but we’ve struggled to build enough volume to make the program competitive for members. This year, we switched carriers to Geico for auto and Marsh for other lines of insurance. We’re excited to see if by allying ourselves with some of the country’s largest vendors — companies that specifically create packages for trade associations — we can better serve our members.

We also made compelling changes to the PRSA Jobcenter. The new design, launched in June, reflects our updated branding and offers new features such as a single sign-in for both MyPRSA and Jobcenter. Look for more changes in the future as we’ll migrate many of the Jobcenter features to a member-only basis.

Going Mobile

What else is ahead? A big goal on the horizon is to make our website more mobile-friendly. In June, we surveyed members about how they would like to use our resources while on the go, and, at the risk of oversimplifying, members are most interested in consuming the news and information from PRSA on mobile platforms. Look for more news about this project in the fourth quarter of 2011.

You may have noticed some of these changes while some may come as news — but most important, know that we’re always looking for new ways to do things better, and to make your membership experience rewarding and valuable.

William M. Murray, CAE, is the president and chief operating officer of PRSA. A version of this post was published in the August issue of Public Relations Tactics.

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