STC help for non-members

Subject: STC help for non-members
From: Richard Mateosian <srm -at- C2 -dot- ORG>
Date: Wed, 1 Nov 1995 06:37:09 -0800

Here's an excerpt from my "President's Column" in the September issue of
Ragged Left, the Berkeley STC chapter's newsletter:

Job Search Support
One member raised a deeper issue, one that most of us care about: Should the
job search help we provide at meetings and via job listings be available to

She felt that her years of financial commitment to the organization should
entitle her to privileges not available to everyone who walks in the door.
She pointed to the financial difficulties and compromises of public radio
and television stations -- organizations that make payment for their
services voluntary.

The question has a technical answer: job search assistance is available
irrespective of membership, because that's what the STC's designation by the
IRS as a 501-C3 educational or charitable organization requires. The
alternative designation of 501-C6 professional society would allow us to
restrict our services to members but would offer fewer tax advantages.
Please don't ask me to explain further, because that's all I know.

Even if the IRS were out of this picture I'd still favor providing job help
freely to members and non-members alike. To me the STC is not a business,
and it's not a trade union. Its financial success is not an end in itself.
The only reason for us to make money is to help us advance the common goals
of technical communicators.

I think we should look to successful technical communicators and the
businesses that use our services for the money we need. The idea of
squeezing it out of desperate job seekers rubs me the wrong way.

Another member put it this way: "I would prefer that no one join STC just to
get job leads; I'd rather be a member of a smaller organization of more
interesting people."

There's a lot more to be said on both sides of that issue. Let me know what
you think.

Richard Mateosian President, Berkeley STC
Freelance Technical Writer srm -at- c2 -dot- org Review Editor, IEEE Micro

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