As I see it, few professional organizations are worth it. I think professional organizations should work hard to provide value to their members. At this point there’s not a lot that we need them for. Perhaps IEEE could increase their credibility by maintaining a list of up-to-date information written by industry leaders. That way, they may not have the industry leaders, but they at least acknowledge cutting-edge work and become a great central location. Maybe IEEE should be competing with Hacker News, Reddit, Digg, and Slashdot. Some other ideas for how they could add value: promotions (look at the App Store to learn how a big organization can help individuals flourish); local meetups; really solid job postings with matching and recommendations (and throw in career counseling available over the phone or chat); facilitate in finding funding for your tech work; “Ask an expert” chats. And my biggest wish as I embark on a journey into self-employment: group insurance. Why doesn’t IEEE leverage its membership base to provide competitive health insurance? Insurance companies cannot reject individuals who buy in to a group plan, and it keeps the premiums low for the group. Want to add value? Provide an entrepreneurship insurance. They could probably flex their muscles and help skilled foreigners with visas. I’m not a lawyer, but couldn’t IEEE provide a service that costs the price of a visa sponsorship? Join our group and you can be sponsored for a visa for $PRICE_OF_VISA.
UPDATE: From what I can tell, IEEE does not currently offer group health insurance. They have spam mails for different insurance plans and they offer short-term medical through their site. The spam is obnoxious and the short-term medical is worse than what you can purchase easily online.
What do you think? How can professional organizations be more useful?