Got a letter the other day from the IPI. It said that they were looking for new members. The current membership stands at 1274. Lets see, I always put the IPI membership number at around 1200, certainly for the last few years. That means it hasn’t been growing much, sort of holding its own.
Why should that be? The organization offers a good show and convention, lots of networking, arguably the best training program for senior management, a good web site, and…..I am going to the web site now to look up what they say they offer — OK publications (magazine, buyers guide, lists of consultants and some research manuals), Training and education programs but it looks like the list has been there a while.
That’s about it.
An organization grows when it represents the needs of its membership. When it reaches out to members and gives them what they need. It also has to be inclusive. The IPI has 60 some airport members out of what 200 airports in the country,about 25 hospital members out of over 1000 hospitals in the country, 270 University/college members out of nearly 4000 such institutions in the country, and about 300 cities — out of more than 3500 cities in the US with a population over 10,000.That adds up to about half the membership — the rest are either second, third and fourth members from a college, city, or airport, or they are vendors and consultants.
The current board is attempting to inject some new life into the organization and I wish them all the best, however their recent attempts miss the mark a bit. One is that they set up a new category of members, "retired" so folks that leave the profession can remain members of the organization. The also adjusted their bylaws so past presidents could sit on the board but not vote. They have also formed a committee to come up with a vision for the IPI for the next decade.
The IPI needs to turn itself on its ear. This member sees the same thing, year after year. Basically the same trade show, the same training programs. I see little outreach. Kim Jackson attends virtually every parking meeting she can find, but she can’t do it alone.
It is true that with most organizations like this, 1% of the people do 99% of the work. I don’t think there’s much you can do about that. Hell, I don’t know the answer. But I do know one thing, all change is good.