Building an Organizational Design for the Next 50 Years:
RID Board of Directors Seeks Member Feedback on Voluntary Membership Structure

Signed Video Announcement
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)VIEWS Article Draft Bylaws Amendment

UPDATE August 8, 2013 – RID Board of Directors Announcement:  The RID board has received feedback from members that they wish to have more time to explore and discuss the voluntary membership Bylaws amendment that was announced on July 1, 2013. At today’s board meeting, the board unanimously recognized that this important decision required further time for dialogue and agreed to extend the deadline.

The vote, originally planned for the fall of 2013, will be postponed to a later date along with a timeline for discussion and the decision-making process.  Please attend the board forum on voluntary membership on Tuesday, August 13th at 2:00 PM, where Dawn Whitcher, incoming president, will share a timeline and plan of action for collecting feedback.
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Alexandria, VA – July 1, 2013 – Seeking to enhance member experience and participation in the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, Inc. (RID) and building on nearly 50 years of service, the Board of Directors announces its intention to gather member feedback in exploring the adoption of a voluntary membership association model.  The concept of voluntary membership is in line with previous member feedback and works to achieve the goals and priorities within the 2013-2016 Strategic Plan. A timeline for discussion and feedback has been developed to ensure members have adequate opportunities to provide feedback from now until the end of August on a proposed draft Bylaws amendment.

RID President Brenda Walker Prudhom explained, “The impetus of the board exploring this voluntary membership option was the increased focus on an improved member experience that builds a foundation of trust, a priority within the recently adopted 2013-2016 Strategic Plan. By changing the organizational structure to one that offers voluntary membership for interpreters holding an RID credential, we aim to create an experience that resonates with the individual member on a professional level while simultaneously strengthening the organization.”

This Bylaws Amendment would impact the relationship between certification and membership within the RID organizational structure. Currently, individuals holding credentials recognized by RID are required to join RID as a certified member. Voluntary membership would give these individuals the option to participate either as a member of the organization or continue to hold a certification as a non-member. A commitment to professional development and adherence to the NAD-RID Code of Professional Conduct conditions would still be required for a member to maintain their credential(s). Details will be determined once an association model for this new organizational design is developed based on RID member feedback through surveys, interviews, and a board forum at the 2013 RID Conference.

“The time is right for this monumental change. Voluntary membership builds on the trust between the association and its members. There is a groundswell of support for changing the way RID members relate to their professional organization. I am excited about the possibilities that voluntary membership can provide, including increased emphasis on adding member value through our programs and service offerings and enhanced opportunities for members to invest and participate in their professional organization,” said Shane Feldman, RID Executive Director.

The voluntary membership Bylaws Amendment requires a two-thirds vote of RID voting members for passage and will be conducted according to the rules for mail referendum/vote of RID members. The board will seek feedback from RID members from now through August 31, 2013, including a forum to be held at the 2013 RID National Conference. The voluntary membership Bylaws Amendment vote will be carried out in the fall of 2013. If the Bylaws Amendment passes, the Board will direct the RID Headquarters staff to work within the volunteer leadership structure to implement an association model to ensure that the organization’s current programs are financially sustainable. Headquarters will seek feedback from RID members on the elements of the association model to include the voluntary membership option before implementation.

A voluntary membership structure would have the following impact:

1. RID would be comprised of members with a vested interest in the work, mission, and vision of the organization. Members who voluntarily join RID will do so as a demonstration of support and commitment to the mission, rather than by virtue of holding a credential. This will strengthen the association’s ability to move the profession forward in setting standards that meet the needs of RID members, the Deaf community, and the consumers that interpreters serve.

2. RID advocacy would stand on its own merits and benefit all of its members. RID will have a stronger foundation for advocacy for the standards in the provision of interpreting services provided through RID certification by removing the perception that advocacy is driven solely to increase the number of members.

3. RID would continually explore ways to heighten member experience through emphasis on member benefits and will focus on recruiting and retaining members through benefits that include advocacy, publications, research, listing in the RID member directory, discounts, professional development, networking, and more.

4. RID would be able conduct operational program-by-program evaluations thus increasing the financial stability of the organization. Financial management of the certification program, as a stand-alone program, helps to ensure that it is financially self-sustainable, efficient, and effective.

Feldman added, “It is clear from the feedback over the past few years that members have wished to explore this direction to strengthen the future of the organization. Will this impact the organization financially? We assume it will since it may affect our member retention. If the voluntary membership Bylaws motion is approved by members, we will work with the board to consider RID member feedback to ensure that we implement an association model that is financially sustainable and does not alter the current offerings or level of service provided by our current programs.”

The idea for voluntary membership is not new to this organization. RID conducted member surveys in 2008 and 2012 that included responses which supported a voluntary membership association model. Feedback on this issue was most recently provided through the scope of work of the Strategic Challenges/Bylaws Review Task Force (SC/BRTF). The SC/BRTF, which provided a final report to RID members at the 2011 conference, vetted a new membership category concept with RID members at the 2010 regional conferences that suggested the removal of the membership requirement from the Bylaws. The survey of RID members found that while members were satisfied with their membership overall, they did not want to be required to be members to maintain their certification.

The board incorporated member feedback received over the years into the overall strategic planning discussions at the March 2013 board meeting. A transformation of the organization’s long-standing membership structure is one means to an end of providing a positive RID member experience as outlined in the 2013-2016 Strategic Plan.

RID will announce a plan and a timeline in which it seeks feedback on the concept of voluntary membership and a draft Bylaws Amendment. We encourage public dialogue on the RID Facebook page and other social media sites on the voluntary membership model. A full copy of the draft Bylaws Amendment can be found here.