Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Frustration and dissatisfaction

Changes have been taking place within the umbrella organization of my writers group. I've been on the leadership loop for several months now and after the usual hail and farewells that accompany the new year and the changing of officers that each chapter experiences, the discussion has returned to the changes.

Chapters were forced to adopt standard bylaws with few options for us to choose from. The number and types of board positions the individual chapters could utilize has been given--we no longer get to choose what we need or what best suits us and our offerings. The requirements for service have been mandated and they are not small-chapter friendly. Several chapters have folded for various reasons, several others are in danger.

Many chapter leaders are frustrated because they don't understand the reasoning behind the changes. They seem harsh and unnecessary. There are other changes going on that aren't related to bylaws but that are just as frustrating and threatening and many chapters are losing members as a result as well.

With respect to the changes in the publishing industry, authors, especially the successful, selling ones have more on their plates in terms of writing and promotion, leaving less time to devote to chapter leadership.

So with the loss of members and less time for discretionary activities, how do chapters survive? In the old paradigm, there just weren't that many published authors and the rest of the aspiring chapter peons were willing to handle the running of the chapter.

But the organization is, has always been, and always will be focused on the career romance writer--even if she's working a day job to pay the bills. Those who write more as a hobby will soon be force into a different membership status--and unable to serve in board positions.

In the new paradigm, even medium to large sized chapters are finding it difficult to operate within the rules and regulations set down by the parent organization. We've assigned our board members oversight and then any member can serve and do the day-to-day work of the chapter, but it's still hard to find members willing to serve at all.

After biting off almost more than I can chew with our chapter's new contest I'm this ( ) close to being burnt out and I *like* volunteering and serving the groups I'm a part of.

People no longer need the organization like they once did. They're feeling pushed out and disenfranchised.

The parent organization currently has over 10K members, which is really fantastic. But I'm wondering, when the dust settles, how many members will remain and/or for how long?


Regina Richards said...

Definitely a lot of upheaval going on. I suspect the rules will have to change again for all the reasons you've outlined. If enough chapters shut down, that will certainly, and very sadly, speed the changes along.

Jen FitzGerald said...

Very true, Regina. It's a bit of a vicious circle.

Anonymous said...

How unfortunate for the smaller chapters. If the changes are truly because of government regulations, though, I don't see how there can be change (?)