I frequently question the value of the PR professional bodies. Not for my own part, as I find the information (publications, website, member database) and professional network and association invaluable. But because I need to persuade PR students that it benefits them too.
One concern is that membership bodies are notoriously slow to innovate. The UK’s CIPR developed an award-wining website. That’s good, but it’s so web 1.0. Meanwhile, in Australia, Paull Young (a PR high flyer) has been discussing in public his concerns over the PRIA and social media. In the US, innovations like Forward take place without reference to professional bodies. (It sometimes seems a badge of honour to proclaim independence from the PRSA.) Internationally, Holtz and Hobson appear more comfortable in the IABC than in their national PR bodies.
I learn from another member who blogs (how else?) that the CIPR president is about to launch his blog. Why the delay? Here’s my advice for the CIPR from a friendly member: pay an active practitioner-blogger for some consultancy. (I propose Stuart Bruce MCIPR). Involve a thinker-innovator in podcasting and other social media initiatives. (I recommend David Phillips FCIPR). Problem is, who’s listening?