The start of a whole new World IA Day

Grace G Lau
Nov 19, 2019 · 3 min read

The formation of World IA Day, Inc., arose out of necessity. In September of 2019, the IA Institute, our fiscal host, announced they would dissolve the organization. As the pass-through bank for several World IA Day locations, the IA Institute bank account held money earmarked for our 2020 celebration. In order to receive those funds, a US-based nonprofit charitable organization (501(c)(3)) needed to be created.

Less than a month after the IAI announcement, World IA Day, Inc. became a legal entity. We received our tax-exempt status on October 23 and are now eligible to receive all funds held by the IA Institute. Receiving this approval is a monumental feat and a huge benefit for the 20+ WIAD20 locations in North America. World IA Day as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization could be considered for additional benefits such as free and discounted rates for software subscriptions. This tax-exempt status also makes us more attractive to prospective sponsors, especially for companies based in the United States, in making a tax-deductible donation.

In the past 2 months, we have been busy:

  1. Setting up the new legal entity and drafting new bylaws
  2. Preparing our annual budget and collective strategy for fundraising, with careful attention to fiscal transparency.
  3. Drafting a business model to start a conversation with our community about the future of our organization.

As its own legal entity, World IA Day has greater organization accountability and transparency. The organization bylaws align with the World IA Day’s driving principles for learning, collective leadership and governance, and design for trust and safety. We drafted guides around how people could get involved, join the board and create committees and task forces around stewardship.

Defining community mission and values and reconsidering its structure

The driving principles that were put forth when WIAD first came into existence continue to be the values that drive the new World IA Day:

  • We believe in community building
  • We believe in empowering leaders
  • We believe in growing together
  • We believe in grassroots organizing

Whether an organization is able to survive and succeed over time is impacted by its community’s perception of ownership and accountability. If we want to make sure that World IA Day, Inc. is a sustainable community of practice, we need to pay close attention to how we design the organization.

Along the way we’ve been considering what value World IA Day brings to the community. Being involved with World IA Day locally and globally, Amy Espinosa and I are too invested to be objective. We need your help to tell this shared story and represent a diversity of value in the global community. Because we are World IA Day, we should represent the voices and value of IA globally and showcase what this means in different contexts. We are looking for the next generation of leaders. Are you that person? Nominate yourself and get involved.

In the end

What the founding board has done is to outline the beginning. A rough draft, if you will. It is based on our collective experience, as volunteers, who have been involved with World IA Day for more than 3 years.

So, look at this as a local organizer and member of the World IA Day community, your feedback, thoughts, and ideas matter to us. Are we on the right track? What have we not considered? What might you be looking for? How might a more globally aware board support you? Let us know.

Does this look right to you? What are we not considering? How would we address them? How might the new World IA Day serve you? How might you serve the needs of the new World IA Day? How might we build a community that serves beyond those within it?

In the end, this community is what you make of it. Let’s build it together. Let’s make it better.

This article is inspired by Enspiral Foundation’s Better Work Together, Peter Morville’s Planning for Everything, and BTS’s “Make It Right”.


World IA Day

We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to grow awareness of the discipline of information architecture while promoting social responsibility among practitioners.

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