27 January, 2023
Many of you have been wondering what is happening with IVAA and our transition to a new website and member management platform. We thank you for your patience as we have worked hard to determine our next steps, and we are ready now to share what is next.
Today, at the January Board of Directors meeting, the Board members present voted unanimously to dissolve IVAA. This was a difficult decision, and not one that was taken lightly.
IVAA has always been governed by a board of volunteers. In the last few years, we have lost several board members who, try as we might, we have not been able to replace.
In the Fall of 2021, we lost our Education Director. In early 2022, we lost our Member Benefits Director, and then lost our Vice President later that Summer. Each time there was a vacancy, we put out a call for nominations and volunteers, and each time we received no response.
So, we went on a recruiting campaign. We talked to our most active members about joining the board. Some were initially interested, but in the end, we could not find anyone who had the capacity to take on volunteer work.
Finally, in July of 2022, we were able to recruit someone to fill the Education Director seat, but the other two seats were still empty. In September of 2022, we re-wrote the bylaws to eliminate the requirement for those seats, but we have discovered that this is not enough to run this organization and deliver the programs and benefits our members deserve.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR OUR MEMBERS
We have deactivated auto-renewal. If your membership is set to renew, it will not.
All membership dues paid in the last year will be reimbursed. If you are due a refund and your contact information is current in our database, you should expect to receive your refund by the end of February. We hope to finish more quickly, but please be patient since each refund will have to be processed manually.
If you are located outside the United States, please watch your inbox for a message from firstname.lastname@example.org since we may need to contact you about getting you your refund.
Our LinkedIn group has been deactivated, and our Facebook Members Group has been closed to new posts. We are aware that our Facebook Member’s Group is many people’s go-to resource when you need to ask a question. We will leave our Facebook Group open until February 15 so you can search posts for any answers/solutions you want to capture before it is deleted.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU NEED ASSISTANCE
WE ARE SAD, BUT WE ARE CELEBRATING!
IVAA was the only not-for-profit, volunteer-led trade organization in the virtual assistant & freelancing industry. Many of us felt this was IVAA’s main attraction. The fact that it was run by volunteers meant it could be an organic community where people could meet to exchange ideas and learn whatever they wanted to learn from a myriad of other members instead of following an educational curriculum determined by a single person (although there is certainly nothing wrong with that!).
The community IVAA became is what we will miss the most. In many ways, though, we can celebrate because this organization has accomplished its mission!
IVAA was founded in 1999 “To promote professional education and development of members of the virtual assistance profession, and to educate the public on the role and function of the virtual assistant.” Back then, the internet was brand new, almost no one knew what a virtual assistant was, and even fewer people could conceive of how that business model was even possible.
Now, 24 years and a pandemic-induced global lockdown later, everyone knows what a virtual assistant is. But now that they know, fewer people are calling themselves virtual assistants. Many people who got their start as a “marketing VA” or “bookkeeping VA” have become experts enough to call themselves what they are: marketers and bookkeepers. More and more people now think of Siri or Alexa when they hear the term “virtual assistant.”
The professional education part of the mission is accomplished, too. There are dozens of fantastic teachers who have built successful, full-time businesses offering education. These folks are naturally able to provide a level of service that is better than any volunteer-powered organization could provide.
It is said that you aren’t really a leader until you are helping others become leaders. In that sense, we feel IVAA has done its job because the people who are leading the industry now started out with IVAA!
We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for being part of this journey. We have loved getting to know you and learning from you, and we wish you nothing but the best of success for the future!
Onward and upward!
Melanie Campbell, President