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View Independent Association

In our meeting on February 26, 2009, we discussed the possibilities and pitfalls of becoming a chapter of an international association of security professionals. While most of the associations provide their individual members with many benefits through certification programs, online resources, and training opportunities, the individual chapters receive less support. From our analysis, most chapters must incorporate with association-specified bylaws and follow rules established by the association. The chapter members must all be members of the international association and pay dues to both the association and the chapter, a significant amount of money every year. The chapter also has little say in the management and operations of the international association. While the individual members of the association receive benefits, the chapters are beholden to the association.

Another concern for the members is money. An organization that collects money is responsible for the proper management of that money. A government-recognized organization would have to be formed with a non-profit tax status. Records would have to kept, and tax paperwork filed every year. This is a significant amount of overhead to maintain an organization and its money. There are many ways in which that money could be mismanaged and misspent. Many organizations have failed or fallen into disarray because of concerns and disagreements about money. We want to avoid this issue because it does not help fulfill our mission.

An organization with no money has to operate in a different way. We have to take advantage of free resources available to us. The greater Lafayette community provides several physical spaces where we can hold meetings at no cost. The Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security (CERIAS) has offered several physical and technical resources to the organization as part of its outreach mission. We also have enterprising members that will help find other resources and move the organization along.

In fact, the members are our most important asset. This organization cannot survive without them. It will be the members that provide the leadership, management, and educational opportunities. Currently, the organization will operate under the benevolent dictator model with one person serving as the de facto leader for the organization. The dictator will choose and cajole members to handle specific missions and tasks of the organization. We will rely on our members to provide presentations and training sessions, lead informative discussions, and serve as subject material experts.

Service to the organization is key to active membership. Members that are engaged, participating in, and contributing to the activities of the organization will be rewarded with greater knowledge and understanding, a stronger network of like-minded individuals, and CPE credit. Members that are not engaged or fail to participate consistently cannot be considered active members. We ask all new members to become active immediately by working on a project that will benefit the members as a whole. We want members to feel that they earned a place in the organization through their service instead of paying dues and expecting something in return for their money. Immediate engagement and direct service reverses that model and puts the emphasis back on being an active member.