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Special Interest Groups

Purpose of an IAF Special Interest Group (SIG)

The purpose of an IAF SIG is to enable like-minded facilitators to network, create and share knowledge around a specific facilitation-related interest area. IAF can host these SIGs and foster the creation of strong global networks. The SIGs add membership value as members can develop and grow in their specific area of interest.

SIGs are in essence of global nature, using the support of virtual communication technologies, whereas chapters are tied to a geographical area. All communities within IAF are bound to the IAF Code of Ethics and Values and support the IAF Core Competencies, which offers them a solid ground for development.

Goals of an IAF SIG

This structure will enable the IAF to respond to the growing trend of specialisation, the desire to develop oneself in a specific area within facilitation, to offer global networking opportunities in addition to local chapter, to shift from “competing” with other facilitation related networks to hosting them.

Specifically, the development of an IAF Special Interest Group is encouraged to meet the goals of:

  • Giving credibility, competence and value basis to the development of special interest areas within facilitation.
  • Providing a global network to foster interchange between professional practitioners in the field.
  • Developing appropriate opportunities, methodologies, models, tools and modes that support the practice of exemplary participatory facilitation within a specific area of interest.
  • Promoting international support and interchange among professional facilitators that share the same interest.

Criteria

To ensure the emergence of SIG’s is done in a well governed way, the following criteria have been suggested:

  • A SIG is formed around a clearly framed area of interest (e.g. multicultural facilitation, virtual facilitation, specific method, language). It also should clearly distinguish itself from the already existing IAF SIGs
  • Global reach: even though typically a SIG will have been formed in a specific region, it should aim to build a global network. Naturally there can be more local subgroups within.
  • 10 members of IAF from minimum 3 chapters / countries are needed to apply for the creation of an IAF SIG.

Process of application and startup

  • Application needs to be reviewed by the Director of Chapters and Memberships, or Director of Professional Development, depending on the nature of the SIG, and approved by the IAF Board in the same way that a Chapter is currently decided upon.
  • Names of the founding members (10), as well as the governance structure (minimum Community Leaders & two community promoters), and an operating plan for the next 18 months should be included in the application.

Process of closure

  • If a Community has stopped its activities for more than 6 months, all their files and materials will be Archived by the  IAF Global Office.
  • All Community forums and virtual repositories will be labeled as “Archived” and available to IAF Members.
  • If any group of members would like to reactivate the Community it will be done through the regular process of starting up an IAF Community and if granted they will have access to the information of the previous Community.

Support resources (technology, brand etc)

  • SIGs are provided a discussion/social exchange platform (Basecamp)
  • SIGs receive their own, personalised logo to be used in their communications.
  • SIGs will have their own webpage within the IAF website.
  • SIGs have the possibility to propose their own conference streams or ‘get togethers’ within regional & global IAF conferences
  • Funding can be applied for from the related chapter / region, or from IAF global for specific and well-structured projects.
  • SIG’s will not receive funding in the same way that Chapters do as the latter is primarily aimed at supporting the cost of face to face meetings. SIGs on the other hand will be supported by virtual methods as described above.

Reporting

  • SIGs are expected to contribute with the profession by publishing notes and information in IAF’s Global Flipchart and/or the IAF Journal. This should happen at least once every 12 months.
  • SIGs are also expected to submit a brief annual report to confirm current contact details and describe their activities. If no reports are received within a reasonable period of time and despite follow-up, the community will be closed.