Open-access content 13th July 2009
Dave Wilson makes the case for better communication from the BIFM and greater engagement from its members
16 July 2009
There are two rules I try to abide by when writing these columns: the first is never to use the word "I" (so that one's broken already) and the other is to try not to get too focused on internal BIFM issues.
The latter is a little odd, you might think, for the BIFM's own pages in FM World. But to be honest, my colleagues cover that ground very well in their contributions, and it's important to try to make these missives not only readable but representative of our profession at large.
It is, of course, very easy for us to get self-absorbed in institute matters, because we care about them, which is why we volunteered in the first place. But most members aren't actively involved, which is a shame because it is very easy to get into an institutionalised mindset when you are involved with a group for a long time. The most effective remedy is for the senior volunteers and executive team to keep engaged with the interests of the wider membership. We work hard to do that, but constantly wish there were more ways we could involve a wider range of people.
By the time you read this, we will have had our 2009 AGM. Huge effort has gone into creating an interesting day with a range of workshops, debates and, of course, the formal part of the event. This is part of BIFM's job of course, to work hard to communicate and include members. And it's not just the board and executive team - for example, the International Sig is exploring how best to keep in contact with its widespread and burgeoning membership, which is very challenging for a group of four volunteers. At the same time, many regions are reporting a surge in interest - a recent Home Counties meeting had around 80 attendees, and that is becoming quite normal.
Even so, total attendance at our events will be a tiny proportion of our total membership. My plea, if you happen to be one of those who think that BIFM doesn't do enough for you, is that you should not moan about our indolence - because that's not justified - but try to get involved yourself. That could be helping an established group or setting up a new one. Either way, working together, we'll find more and better ways to do what we all want to do, which is to advance our profession and our institute.