Well, the Balloon has Gone Up

It’s done.

After two years of deliberation, an STC-Montreal chapter president finally pulled the trigger on dissolution. The notice went out on January 19, 2011 2012.

How did this happen?

I just checked my records. In 2004, STC-Montreal had 200 paying members. Today, that number is about 60. The chapter has been shrinking steadily for years.

At first, it didn’t matter much. STC-Montreal was always able to drawn audience and volunteers from outside the ranks of STC members. But the shrinking pool of members meant that the pool of potential volunteers for leadership positions — which, according to the chapter’s bylaws must be STC members in good standing — was also shrinking.

The fact is that most STC members have no interest in volunteering with the chapter. And that’s okay. But it means a healthy roster of volunteers requires a large pool to draw from.

When STC suffered its financial crisis several years ago, and decided to increase membership prices dramatically, an enormous fraction of the membership fled. The cost/benefit ratio tilted away from the Society in the minds of most people. And so many STC chapters were put on a path of eventual starvation.

The Society also stopped sending members’ dues to the chapters (an amount of $25/member). STC-Montreal has not received any money from the Society in five years. STC-Montreal became squeezed for both money and volunteers.

While there may be ways to deal with the financial burden, there is no way to solve the volunteer problem.

The current president and treasurer of STC-Montreal — Andy Gural and Everett Larsen — allowed their memberships to lapse at the end of 2011. Once the grace period for lapsed members is over on March 1, 2012, they will no longer have the legal or ethical right to manage the chapter’s money. No new team is stepping forward. So the chapter must dissolve.

This outcome has been anticipated for two years, after the extent of the Society’s membership collapse became apparent. While there has been much discussion about what might after STC-Montreal is gone, no decisions have been taken.

Well, the decision is upon us. Do we start over or let it go?

Let’s figure that out together.

4 Comments

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4 responses to “Well, the Balloon has Gone Up

  1. Jim,
    This is great stuff. You`ve obviously put a great deal of effort and thinking into this new approach and I congradulate you. I like what I just read and if becoming a friend of this new group means that my forty or so dollars will remain here with us, I`m in and ready to do my share.
    Finally, we can break away (I hesitate to use the word “separate“ as I did in a former blog for fear of being lambasted yet again) from a central organisation that had nothing left for the Montreal chapter, or any other chapter for that matter.
    What I just read is refreshing, alive, and full of new hope for a bunch of us who have been crying for this for a very, very long time.

  2. Thanks very much, Michel. Your reaction is precisely what I’m hoping for. And I welcome suggestions, particularly for events that can engage writers on both a creative and social level. When i look at other professional organizations that seem to have momentum, I don’t see the reliance solely on the lecture format. What seems to work better is a mix.

  3. Pingback: STC-Montreal to Sever Ties with Society for Technical Communication

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