As an IDSA board member, I can clarify a few things. The board is made up of 5 district VPs who hold their position only 2 years, and their main responsibility is organizing the district conference, 2 board members at large (2 yrs), education VP (2yrs), section chair - in charge of special interest sections (2yrs), chapter chair (in charge of chapters heads - 2 yrs), treasurer, and the president elect, president and president emeritus (all 2 years each, but if you think about it, at this time, anyone who is elected president is on the board 6 yrs).
Each chapter has elections and officers who hold positions for 2 yrs. So, except for the presidents of the board, they are all short positions.
On top of this, there is the staff, which is full time hired staff, typically not designers, but professionals who work in the field of membership organizations.
So - why do I bother telling you these boring facts? Many people want a shake up at IDSA, its an ol' boys network, same faces, gone with the times. Many, many people have the same concerns/complaints that I see on this board, and all in all, many of them valid and true statements. The value that IDSA brings is not clear, changes to the society are slow to come, other media/venues provides the membership better/more up to date content - all true. We're not blind to the truth.
The fact is that IDSA is going through a shake up - the new CEO (staff side) Clive Roux is brand new in the role and really competent, tough, realistic, and doesn't see the society through rose colored glasses. The board is also fresh, asking tough questions, and laying out a path out of the quagmire it inherited. It's not so pretty, but I have a lot of trust and hope.
I can easily say this because I attend the board meetings, I see the plans and I know the inside scoop, but I anticipate that the positive changes in IDSA will take time to filter out to its members, and even longer to its disgruntled past members and hopeful new ones.
But we get it - you need better content from IDSA's publications, conferences, events, etc. Networking is critical but the schmooze 'n' booze isn't enough. The website sucks - only touch better than an 1995 version of it. You need more tangible, concrete benefits - something you can sink your teeth into.
As a northeast VP, I am starting by focusing on getting better content at the regional conference. Career advice from a panel of experts, workshops on new techniques and software, no 1 hour "talking heads" speeches on people's work, but instead a dialog between all speakers with each other and the audience. And I have asked the media - Fast Company, Metropolis Magazine, Core77, Businessweek on a panel to discuss/critique the design industry -we're not patting each other on the back, we're talking frankly about how are we doing. Plus there is a "lunch with the speakers," where you can meet, network, and engage in a dialog with a speaker you like and others at your table. Then of course there is the parties and I am still working on the studio tour. Lastly, there is a whole other design conference that we are doing this with - Thinking Creatively, which is free to IDSA attendees, and right in the same campus, all with awesome content as well.
Much of this is new events, more/better content, more interactive, more dialog, better/more value, more of what people have been asking for.
Its not the end of the improvements, its only one event, but its a start. We grow from here.
Get involved by attending and making it a better conference by your presence. Ask those tough questions of the speakers, tell IDSA what you think of them in person, meet some great people and drink a few brews on us.