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Publications > Dateline Houston > December 2002 > Society & Industry News


Volume 42, Issue 4

December 2002

Society & Industry News

STC News

Adding Value for Members

by Bonni Graham, Region 8 Director-Sponsor

By now, you’ve probably noticed that the STC web site has a members-only section; certain features now reside behind a secure logon based on your membership number and a password assigned by the main STC office. Currently, the items in the members-only section are the Society-level job listings, the salary survey, and the member directory. We have limited the access to this information to members only to protect your privacy and increase the value of your membership.

In January 2001, the STC Board of Directors voted to change our policy to allow chapters to restrict certain informational items to members only. We evaluated the variety of information available on chapter Web sites and decided that some of it could legitimately be placed behind a logon. After further discussion, we decided to extend that change in policy to the main STC web site also.

You may be asking why are some items restricted to members but not all? The answer lies in our status as a charitable organization. Bill Stolgitis, in the October 2001 Tieline provided the following background and insight:

Background

Since 1968, when STC was reorganized as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, STC has devoted a substantial part of its efforts to activities with charitable purposes. These activities—for example, publications, conferences, research, and scholarships—are described in STC's Articles of Incorporation and its bylaws.

In keeping with its charitable status, STC has made its services available to members and non-members alike. The IRS, however, recognizes that in the course of conducting the daily business of a charity, some activities essential to the charity's well-being will not, strictly speaking, be charitable in nature. The IRS allows these activities as long as they do not constitute a substantial part of the organization's activities.

For STC, such activities have included selling advertising (magazine and journal), renting the mailing list, and providing employment information (clearly not within the scope of STC's charitable purposes). These activities have always constituted a less substantial part of STC's total activities.

Restricting Services to Members Only

STC is fully engaged in many activities that are within the scope of its charitable purposes, and these services must be made available to members and non-members alike. As mentioned above, STC is also allowed to engage in activities that are not within the scope of its charitable purposes so long as these activities are "insubstantial" (a minor financial burden). These noncharitable services may be restricted to members only.

Why not provide all information free to nonmembers as we have in the past? The simple answer is that if STC provides all services for free, then there's no real reason to join STC. Without members, we cannot provide any services, including those intended to benefit the general public.

Chapters may, as well, choose to limit access to various services they provide, as long as doing so does not create an undue burden on the chapter finances. In addition, actions that contribute directly the STC’s charitable purpose (such as seminars or chapter meetings) may not be restricted to members only, although members may be given preferential pricing.

If you have any questions on this policy, contact your director-sponsor or the Society office.

STC Election Approaches

The annual STC election will be held in early 2003, and only those members who have paid their dues by the February 28, 2003, deadline are
eligible to vote. Ballots for the STC election will be mailed around March 10. The election closes April 15, 2003.

STC Specialty Gifts

STC Specialty Gifts are a great way to show appreciation to Society members or professional colleagues while spreading the STC name. Specialty gifts make terrific giveaways for chapter meeting, conferences, and special events.


Educational Opportunities

STC Telephone Seminars

Details about the following STC telephone seminars can be found on the STC web site at www.stc.org/seminars.asp:

Wednesday, January 8, 2003: Managing a Software User Interface Design Team
Presenters: Diane Feldman and Carla Merrill

Wednesday, January 15, 2003: Using Personas in the Development Process
Presenter: Whitney Quesenbery

All seminars take place from 1-2:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Members can register online and view announcements for the seminars at www.stc.org/seminars.asp.

Because you pay only for the connection, not the number of people participating, telephone seminars are a cost-effective way to train groups of technical communicators.

Costs per site are detailed below.

  • US sites: $145
  • Canadian sites: $160
  • Sites outside North America: Please contact the STC office

An additional $10 will be charged for registrations received less than five business days before the seminar. Registration information for these seminars can be found in the November and December issues of Intercom, and on the STC web site.


Networking Opportunities

If you have a networking opportunity to share, please tell us! Go to www.stc-houston.org/contacteditor.htm.


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