• Operations


    It is expected that sections adhere to certain requirements to maintain compliance. Compliance criteria will be evaluated on 1 January. Those that have not met the requirements for compliance will be deemed non-compliant for the year. Sections not in compliance forfeit benefits including but not limited to rebates, consideration for Society awards, and seating a delegate at the next Council of Society Delegates meeting. Non-compliant status will be reevaluated quarterly.

    • Comply with all policies and procedures set by ISA
    • Maintain at least 30 professional members
    • Have, at a minimum, a president and treasurer in good standing and on record with ISA Headquarters
    • Hold a minimum of three member meetings each year
    • Submit an annual report by the prescribed dates

    There are two ways a section may be disestablished, non-compliance and by request.

    1. If a section is non-compliant with ISA policies and procedures for two years, ISA may recommend disestablishment.
    2. The section officers may submit a request to their District Vice President.

    Upon disestablishment, the section will stop using all ISA intellectual property and will cease to indicate any affiliation with ISA. The section is required to transfer any remaining funds to ISA within 60 days, unless otherwise approved by the ISA Executive Board. Once a section is disestablished and the charter is revoked, it may not establish in the same city or country for a minimum of 12 months.

    Annual Report
    Each year, sections must submit an annual report by 30 September to maintain compliance. ISA recommends that reports are submitted prior to the deadline.

    Your section should begin working on the annual report as soon as opening of the report has been announced. Section officers may share login details with other officers, but be aware, only one person may be logged it at any given time. Otherwise, you will override each other’s changes. Use the sample report linked below to draft responses. Coordinate with other officers to enter your responses in the online section annual report. This is especially helpful for financial details. Only reports submitted through the online portal will be accepted.

    Sample section annual report (blank 2019 version)

    The 2019 Annual Report is now open.

    In addition to submitting an annual report, sections have other responsibilities throughout the year relating to their participation in the District Leadership Conference, the Annual Leadership Conference, and keeping officer rosters up to date. Never miss a deadline again by adding those important dates to your calendar. Details and deadlines are shared in the Section Leader e-Newsletter throughout the year.


    Sections are expected to manage their own finances. Funds generated by sections should be used to support the mission and vision of the Society.

    As the funds belong to your members, it is important to be transparent with your financials. Budgets should be shared with your members for review, so they are aware of how funds will be used for the year. After the approval of an annual budget, the membership should be provided quarterly updates with actuals to budget. Being transparent with your members also protects you as an officer.

    Funds should be used for the overall benefit of the membership. As such, it is not appropriate to use section funds to pay for an officer’s membership or travel to attend events for professional development outside of ISA leader training/meetings.

    Fiscal Year
    Sections should base their accounting year on their operating year. The most common fiscal years run from 1 January to 31 December or from 1 July to 30 June of any given year.

    Sections need to make smart choices regarding the software programs used to handle accounting needs. Using a popular, inexpensive software package will make transferring duties between section treasurers easier.

    Regardless of the software selected for maintaining books and records, it is important to make arrangement for periodic backup of section records, and third-party storage of those backups.

    Chart of Accounts
    A chart of accounts is a simple way to organize section financial transactions by assigning a number to a category of revenues or expenses. These numbers should stay the same over time and should be passed from one treasurer to another. Accurate entry of income or expense in the appropriate category is very important in producing understandable reports. Most software programs (such as Quickbooks) contain samples of typical charts of accounts and can offer tutorials in setting one up if your section does not have one already in use.

    Bank accounts
    It is the responsibility of the sections to establish their own financial accounts, based on local laws/regulations. Bank accounts should be established in the official section name whenever possible. Bank accounts must be handled appropriately and balanced monthly.

    Sections must have at least two elected officers on all section financial accounts and transactions. Section officers should never use their personal accounts for section transactions. This helps protect both individual officers and the section from any discrepancies that may arise. Sections should maintain financial records for at least 7 years.

    Sections are also able to hold funds on account with ISA. To utilize these funds, an officer of the section must send a written request to sections@isa.org and include the president and treasurer in copy. These funds are only paid to the section or officers, never issued directly to a vendor or supplier.

    The purpose of a budget is to articulate the goals of the section. It is important to establish a budget for each year that includes reasonable projections for income (revenue) and expected expenses. Section budgets do not need to be complicated, but they do need to be accurate and understandable. The budget should be reviewed at each section board meeting with an accounting of year-to-date performances. An official mid-year review on income and expenses is recommended to ensure your section is on track with expectations.

    It is crucial when developing a budget to look at past year’s budget for important trends and information. A common mistake sections make is overestimating revenue and underestimating expenses. Identify realistic revenue streams in order to figure out what expenses you can incur. Build in some additional room in the expense category to help keep your budget on track.

    Revenue commonly received by sections may include rebates (portion of dues shared with sections), registration fees for meetings and events, and revenue shares from section co-sponsored training.

    Expenses commonly incurred by sections may include postage, printing, speaker fees, travel expenses to attend ISA leader meetings, costs associated with meetings and events, and marketing of programs.

    One of the hardest parts of budgeting is determining what programs to remove and add. In order to do this, think about what programs will impact most of your members and how it is related to
    ISA’s mission. It is important to review your programs and challenge their value each year to ensure your section is relevant and keeps your members engaged.

    The rebate program is designed to provide funds for ongoing section operations. A portion of the dues paid by professional members are shared with sections in the form of rebates. Only compliant sections will accrue rebates. ISA will issue rebate payments to compliant sections quarterly (April, July, October, January).

    The current portion of dues shared is 15% of professional member dues and 3% of student member dues. The percentage is subject to change and at the discretion of the ISA Executive Board.

    Best practices include having section finances audited by a professional auditor on a periodic basis. Audits can often be conducted by a professional accounting firm in your local area. There are different levels of audits, all of which should be handled by a professional accountant, rather than a section officer. It is common practice to have a full audit one year, then an annual review for the next year to two years, and then another full audit.

    Sections should budget accordingly for audits. It is the responsibility of the section to hire their own auditors and periodically switch auditing firms. This is recommended to avoid possible dishonesty over time between the auditing firm and the treasurer, and to increase the chances of detecting errors that can occur when the same person/firm does the audit next year.

    Sections should provide clear direction on who can sign contracts on behalf of the section. New contracts should be reviewed by legal counsel. Recommended practice is not to award contracts to board members, officers, volunteers or their immediate family members. Individuals should be prohibited from offering or signing contracts to family or friends without full disclosure to section leadership.

    Expense Reimbursements
    Sections often offer reimbursement of officer expenses incurred while conducting section business. Expense reimbursement policies should be clear and easy to understand. Recommended practice is for an expense reimbursement form to accompany all requests for reimbursement and receipts for expenses incurred. Expenses typically covered by sections may be for approved office supplies, software purchases, travel to ISA leader meetings/conferences, or other meetings that section business is conducted. Expenses not covered by sections would be expenses deemed for a personal nature and not directly related to the section’s activities, etc.

    Tax Exemption
    Sections should acquaint themselves with their national and local tax filings requirements. Tax exempt status can usually be obtained by demonstrating that the section’s objectives are educational and scientific. When requesting tax exempt status, sections may be required to submit the following documentation to their local governing authority:

    • Articles of Incorporation
    • Section operating bylaws
    • Proposed or actual statement of receipts and expenditures
    • Completed application forms required by the governing authority

    US Sections
    ISA maintains a group tax exemption from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that provides 501(c3) status to all USA based participating sections. The exemption allows sections to avoid paying federal taxes on their exempt purpose revenue. It also allows sections to solicit and receive sponsorship contributions that are exempt from federal tax to the section and are tax deductible from the contributor.

    As ISA is the holder of the group tax exemption, we are required to annually provide a listing to the IRS of participating US sections, and in so doing represent to the IRS that each section on that list is compliant with 501(c)(3) of the US Tax Code. For example, no section should be involved in political activity to any degree, and legislative activity is subject to specific rules and limitations.

    The section annual report contains the group tax exemption questionnaire. Please have the section annual report submitted by 30 September if the section wishes to enroll in or continue participating in the ISA group tax exemption. If we do not receive this information by the deadline ISA may be required by the IRS to remove the section from the group tax exemption.

    If you have any specific questions or concerns related to ISA's group exemption, please contact sections@isa.org. Participants in the ISA group tax exemption are still required to file the appropriate annual tax filings with the IRS.
    Tax Filings
    Sections may be required to file periodic information with their governing tax authority. It is recommended that sections obtain legal counsel regarding tax exemption and reporting requirements for their national and local area.

    More information on filing annual taxes for US sections can be found at www.irs.gov.

    Insurance Coverage
    Sections should purchase insurance and consult with the appropriate experts to determine which insurance policy is the best fit.

    A general liability policy is very common and recommended. Depending on the policy purchased, general liability insurance may cover such things as bodily injury, personal injury, property damage to a third party, etc.

    Officers insurance policy is also recommended. This type of policy is meant to protect the section officers from “intentional” wrongful acts. The personal assets of officers are protected to some extent by existing law for reasonable decisions they make on behalf of the section in good faith. However, the section could be held financially liable for any number of decisions made by officers that may simply be in error. A good policy will cover a range of scenarios and should include coverage addressing topics such as employment-related actions, sexual harassment, etc. A good policy will also pay for legal expenses as they are incurred, not on a reimbursement basis.

    ISA recommends that sections discuss other insurance options with legal counsel and their insurance provider. Such policies may include alcohol liability coverage, meeting cancellation coverage, umbrella liability, volunteer dishonesty, and other risks.

    Prevention of Fraud
    It may not seem likely, but sections may encounter financial problems as a result of volunteer/officer dishonesty. No section will be able to function efficiently without trusted volunteer leaders. Nearly all cases, volunteer leaders are more than honest and reliable. However, the occasional dishonest person can cause a great deal of damage to the finances, membership, and reputation of the section and the Society. As noted above (see Bank Accounts), sections should have at least two elected officers on all section financial accounts and transactions and it is recommended for sections to adopt a policy for signing checks. Also noted above (see Insurance Coverage), it is advisable for a section to consider purchasing insurance covering volunteer dishonesty.

    It is recommended that every section run a credit check on itself at least once a year to identify any accounts that may have been opened by dishonest individuals without the authorization of the section. It is also suggested to have bank statements sent to more than one person on the section board so that errors or acts of dishonestly are discovered.

    As discussed above, financial audits are important in ensuring the section has not been the subject of fraud. Most financial audits do not confirm accuracy of the information provided to the auditors, but the audit process can be supportive in identifying acts of dishonestly or incompetence.

  • Governance

    Bylaws and Operating Procedures

    Operating bylaws are governing documents for the management and activities of the section. They are an agreement between the section and its members. Sections are encouraged to adopt the standard ISA operating bylaws. Sections wishing to adopt alternative operating bylaws, must submit for approval by ISA. Operating bylaws should be clear, concise and non-restrictive and should include details on the board structure, election rules, amendments, and dissolution clauses. All sections are required to maintain operating bylaws in English and on file with ISA Headquarters.

    Sections may implement additional policies and operating guidelines including information on the following areas:

    • Board position descriptions and responsibilities
    • Board meeting frequency and process
    • Committee details
    • Details on succession and term dates
    • Financial rules and managing reserves
    • Refund/event cancellation
    • Student support and scholarship funding
    Section Board

    The section board is generally responsible for managing the sections affairs and conducts the business of the section. It is essential for the board to be open to the suggestions and feedback of the section membership and should always be open to offers of help.

    The section board should include the following five at-large, voting positions:

    • President
    • Secretary
    • Treasurer
    • Membership Chair
    • Program Chair

    All sections are required to have at minimum a president and treasurer to remain compliant, and should be filled by two different people. All board members should be ISA members in good standing and on file at Headquarters. Additional positions may be appointed as needed.

    Upon assuming the office, all section officers should review the section bylaws, ISA policies and procedures, and review the section programs and events of the past year with his/her predecessors.

    The president manages the operations of the section to ensure that the best interests of the local members are being met. The president provides leadership and guidance to other section officers and ensures that the section activities are focused on increasing member engagement and satisfaction. Time commitment on average 2-4 hours per week.

    • Serves as chief elected officer of the section and ex-officio member of all committees
    • Attends all section meetings
    • Ensures that decisions, orders, and resolutions of the section board are delegated and carried out
    • Organizes the section's efforts by implementing the structure, appointing committee chairs and others as needed, and delegating the duties required by the bylaws and the year's plans.
    • Works with other officers and committee chairs to assess members' needs and set plans for the year's activities
    • Fulfills obligations to ISA by prescribed dates, including but limited to, the annual report, list of leadership, etc.
    • Appoints or establishes nominating committee according to section bylaws for next year's elections
    • Represents the section at ISA leadership conferences (District Leadership Conference, District Council Meetings, Annual Leadership Conference, etc.)
    • Plans a budget with the section treasurer, to be reviewed and approved by the section board
    • Sets audit procedures in motion at year end for financial records turnover
    • Provides all records to their successor upon completion of term or resignation prior to completion of term

    The secretary keeps track of section business and functions primarily as a record keeper and correspondent. Time commitment on average 1-2 hours per week.

    • Prepares and distributes accurate minutes of all section business meetings in a timely manner
    • Prepares correspondences at the direction of the president and/or section board
    • Maintains permanent section files
      • Including, but not limited to the charter certificate, bylaws, articles of incorporation, tax forms, etc.
      • Provides copies as needed of the latest versions to the section officers
    • Other administrative duties as assigned by the president and/or section board
    • Provides all records to their successor upon completion of term or resignation prior to completion of term

    The treasurer has general supervision of the section’s funds and financial records. Time commitment on average 1-3 hours per week.

    • Provides the president with financial information needed from section records for the annual report
    • Maintains the sections financial recording system and recommends improvements as necessary
    • Assists in preparation of the annual budget and monitors section expenses
    • Prepares and records checks and invoices in a timely manner
    • Prepares statements and reports on financials at section board and membership meetings
    • Provides information to the auditing group
    • Ensures that tax filings and other reports required by national and local laws are prepared and mailed in a timely manner
    • Provides all records to their successor upon completion of term or resignation prior to completion of term

    Membership Chair
    The membership chair is responsible for all activities related to membership recruitment and retention. Time commitment on average 2-3 hours per week.

    • Prepares and implements a membership recruitment and retention plan, including, but not limited to:
      • Recruitment drives
      • New member welcomes
      • Long-term member recognition
      • Member participation in section activities
      • Membership renewal reminders
    • Reports on membership statistics at section board and membership meetings
    • Follows up on any membership-related correspondences from members
    • Provides all records to their successor upon completion of term or resignation prior to completion of term

    Program Chair
    The program chair is responsible for managing the educational and social programming at section meetings and events. Time commitment on average 2-3 hours per week.

    • Develop programs that respond to the educational needs of section members and others in the community
    • Secures and contacts speakers for programs
    • Recruits a committee of volunteers
    • Assists in preparation of the programming budget
    • Ensures meeting venues and facilities are in order
    • Ensures the meeting is properly announced and publicized
    • Maintains program records including description, speaker, attendance, evaluation, and revenue for annual report
    • Provides all records to their successor upon completion of term or resignation prior to completion of term

    Society Delegate
    A society delegate serves as the official representative of the members in their respective section at District Council meetings and votes on Society matters at the Council of Society Delegates meeting. Delegates should possess experience and knowledge of the Society. A past section president or member who has served in other capacities of the Society may possess the experience and knowledge needed.

    The delegate is elected or appointed by each section and serves a term according to the section’s operating bylaws.

    District Council Meetings

    District Council meetings are individual meetings of the Society delegates from each District. They typically take place during a District Leadership Conference and prior to the Council of Society Delegates meeting. Delegates may receive and review their respective District Vice President’s annual report and examine all pertinent materials regarding changes to the Society bylaws.

    Council of Society Delegates
    The Council of Society Delegates, made up of section delegates, is the body that approves changes to the Society Bylaws.

    For a delegate to be seated at the annual Council of Society Delegates meeting, the section must be compliant as of the first day of the month prior to the month the Council of Society Delegates will meet. If the delegate is unable to attend, the section president may appoint an alternate.


    Efficient management of the section depends upon a team of volunteers comprised of various committees. Committees provide a way for members to become involved in section activities and should be structured to allow for input, decision-making, and delegation. Sections with smaller membership may not have enough volunteers to have a committee for every program and may have to combine responsibilities.

    Nominations and Elections

    Election processes take many different forms when comparing those from sections around the world, often influenced by cultural and political differences as well as local laws and regulations. ISA has put guidelines together of an election process in the standard ISA operating bylaws which sections are recommended to adopt where possible, to aid transparency and fair recruitment processes.

    It is recommended that each section appoint a nominating committee of three or more section members that are not currently officers of the section to solicit names of potential candidates to be considered for positions on the board.

    • Six months prior to the date of election, the nominating committee issues a call for nominations for the elected at-large positions to all voting members of the section. Section members should submit nominations within 30 days of the call for nominations. The nominating committee will verify the candidates’ eligibility and willingness to serve and gather biographies as appropriate.
    • The nominating committee will submit the slate of candidates to the section board for approval. Multiple candidates for each at-large position are desired.
    • Only current paid section members are eligible to vote as of the first day of the month preceding the month in which the voting period begins.
    • It is recommended that elections be conducted electronically.
    • The section president should notify the membership of the election results including the names of those elected and the percentage of voters that participated in the election.
    ISA Policies and Procedures

    Each section operates as an official ISA affiliate per the charter agreement that defines the relationship between the Society and the section. Sections are governed by and subject to all policies and procedures set by ISA. Section leaders should carefully read the Policies and Operational Guidelines and the Manual of Organization and Procedures to understand both the legal and operational relationship between the section and the Society.

    ISA’s Strategic Plan

    In 2018, ISA’s Executive Board initiated a process to produce an updated strategic plan for the Society. They gathered input both internally and externally to help them define the strategic direction. This plan focuses on four strategic objectives where the Board believed that ISA could potentially do more to move us to a new level of success and provide additional service to both members and industry.

    All sections officers globally are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the strategic plan and ensure local activities and practices are in line with the mission, vision, values and strategic objectives of the Society.

    The Society’s Strategic Roadmap will guide the organization’s priorities for the next 3-5 years. This plan creates continuity and sustainability, ensuring that the Society sets its sights on a compelling vision for the future and aligns its resources to achieve that vision. Check out ISA’s Strategic Roadmap.

  • Engagement

    Membership Growth and Retention

    Each ISA member may choose to affiliate with a section. These are the members of the section. The section does not have the authority to modify or create membership classes. Sections are expected to welcome members from other sections at their activities.

    Membership Dues Cycle

    ISA membership is on an anniversary cycle. Members can join at any point throughout the year and their membership would be good until the next year at the same time when it is up for renewal. ISA begins the renewal process to members two months before the membership end date. The renewal process also includes the following reminders: an email two months prior, a paper invoice one month prior, and an email in the same month as membership end date. If the member did not renew on time, they will receive a postcard and two follow up emails within four months after their membership ends. If a member does not renew their membership, they will then loose access to all ISA member benefits.

    Sections are strongly encouraged to run similar internal renewal campaigns to maximize the message and to ensure members renew to avoid a lapse in their membership and benefits. Local email, calling and face-to-face communications can be very effective.

    Membership Lifecycle
    ISA offers a wide range of membership benefits. For sections wanting to grow and retain their membership, it is important to educate both members and non-members about the advantages and value of ISA membership. Gaining an understanding of the specific needs and circumstances of your section members and the industry in your area can help sections highlight what those members and potential members would be interested in most.

    For any section who sponsors student sections, the graduating students are a great pool of new talent and can also help the section grow their overall membership. Sections should play an active role in coaching their student sections and help them develop a recruitment and retention strategy, as ultimately the sections will benefit from strong student sections later.

    To help student members who have graduated transition into professional members, ISA offers a professional membership at the discounted student rate for one year after graduation. This is a great time to encourage them to participate in section events, making them more likely to stay engaged with ISA on a local level and continue their membership. Remember, it is important to make the young members feel welcome and engage them in section activities. It can be a daunting process to leave university and enter the professional world, so make sure to support this next generation of automation professionals as much as you can.

    To help track section membership, ISA has provided membership rosters and a month-end statistical report to coded section leaders. See TOOLS AND RESOURCES topic below.

    Membership Classes

    • Professional Member
      • Anyone who supports the objectives and mission of ISA
      • Reduced Dues
        • There are countries eligible for reduced membership dues based on their economic status as determined by the World Bank Organization
        • Members in these countries enjoy all the benefits and privileges of professional membership
    • Student Member
      • An individual who is enrolled as a student in an automation-related degree program
      • Upon graduation, student members are upgraded to professional members at the student rate for one year and may affiliate with a professional section

    ISA members can earn the following membership grade levels:

    • Senior Membership
      • Any ISA member with at least 10 years of combined education and work experience in the automation industry
    • Life Membership
      • Any ISA member with at least 25 years of membership and their combined age equals or exceeds the sum of 90
      • Life members are exempt from paying dues and enjoy all the benefits and privileges of professional membership
    • Fellow
      • Any Senior ISA member who is elected by a majority vote of the Executive Board
      • Any ISA member who has been a Senior Member for at least five years, and who has received peer evaluations leading to a recommendation by the Executive Board
    • Honorary
      • Any individuals recognized by the ISA Executive Board who supports and/or contributes to the advancement of the automation profession
      • Honorary members are exempt from paying dues and enjoy all the benefits and privileges of professional membership

    A membership comparison chart located on the ISA website, gives a side-by-side comparison of ISA’s membership categories and benefits.

    Bulk Dues
    Manual bulk membership processing is available to sections when there are mitigating circumstances that prevent individual members from joining or renewing online with payment. If you are interested in participating in this program, please email sections@isa.org.

    Member Resource Center
    The Member Resource Center is available to ISA members to help them navigate through the ISA website, member benefits, and tools to engage with ISA.


    Volunteers are the driving force behind ISA and its activities. Getting the right volunteers is not always an easy task. Ensuring a good match between your volunteers and their responsibilities is essential for making your sections’ activities a success.

    ISA volunteer network encourages individuals to work their way up to gain increasingly more responsibilities within their volunteer roles, developing their skills, and competencies along the way.

    Leadership Onboarding and Development

    For sections to be successful, the section leaders will need to be effective in their individual roles. ISA tries to provide every opportunity for section volunteers to gain the skills and confidence they need to be good leaders in both their personal lives and professional careers. ISA offers a wide range of resources to advance your leadership skills. These resources come in a variety of methods of delivery, such as in-person leadership conferences, regular leadership newsletters, web-based sessions, slide show presentations, and articles.

    Section Leadership Orientation

    After the section board and officers have been elected and appointed, the section should hold a leadership orientation session. The orientation will allow all the leaders to meet one another, discuss responsibilities for the coming year, receive the same information at the same time, and develop goals and assignments. The orientation will be a good time to review the section’s history and recent accomplishments, review ISA policies and procedures, legal and financial responsibilities, and review the section’s bylaws and make amendments if necessary.

    The section president should assign someone to do individual orientations for any leaders who were unable to attend the group orientation.

    District Leadership Conference
    Each District offers a District Leadership Conference (DLC). This one to two-day workshop offers both training on how sections, districts, and the Society operates, and for sections to discuss best practices with other sections in the district. Each district identifies and addresses issues of importance to their geographic area.

    Annual Leadership Conference

    The Annual Leadership Conference (ALC) provides excellent training and experience for current and potential section leaders. This is an excellent opportunity for section leaders to engage with other ISA volunteer leaders in a policy-setting and decision-making process. The Council of Society Delegates meeting is held in conjunction with the ALC.

    There is a dedicated time for section leaders to learn everything they need to know about sections including policies and guidelines, maintaining compliance, and best practices with other sections leaders around the globe.

    Succession Planning

    Leader succession planning is important for the section to move from one leadership board to the next without having a reduction in service and member satisfaction. Failing to recruit new talent and ensure diversity amongst your volunteer pool can make the quality of your programs and services stagnate or even decline over time. Therefore, aim to make it a usual practice to advertise volunteer opportunities to your membership at large, and be transparent about the process of selection. This way you will build trust with your members and are more likely to expand the pool of talent to choose from.

    Tips for Identifying Good Leaders:
    • Start early - Discovering if people are the right fit for the team, and then recruiting them for the position can be a long process. Make sure to start as early as possible to discover opportunities to find roles for people interested in becoming leaders in the section.
    • Just ask - There are plenty of eager people in the section interested in becoming leaders. They may not initially ask to get involved but are usually very engaged in section events. The section president can empower members to become leaders simply by asking them to be involved.
    • Recruit the Right Way - Once leaders have been identified, it is important that the actual recruiting be done correctly. Be clear and accurate with new volunteers about the importance of the job and the time commitment needed to do the job effectively.
    • Find a Place for Everyone to Get Involved - Section structure needs to provide as many "involvement" opportunities as possible. The section leaders should try to break larger jobs down to smaller more manageable tasks providing more opportunities for members to get involved. Once members have had a positive involvement experience, they are more likely to move on to larger roles.

    Reporting Section Leadership to ISA
    This is a requirement of compliance. ISA needs to know who section leaders are so that it can provide support to volunteer leaders and their roles. Sections must submit a list of officers to ISA before the new leadership takes office. This ensures that they will not miss out on any of the ongoing leadership development programs, regular communications, and required tools related to their role.

    Volunteer Recognition

    The success of sections depends greatly on local volunteers. It is important to recognize and celebrate those contributions accordingly. Here are a few ways to recognize your volunteers:

    • Provide certificates at the end of volunteer service
    • Mention them during a meeting or in a newsletter
    • Feature them on your social media
    • Honor during an awards banquet

    Take every opportunity to publicly thank your volunteers, whether that is during a closing speech, on the website or in a newsletter. A simple thank you can go a long way towards making volunteers feel appreciated. Sections may also consider organizing a special event in which all volunteers are recognized and thanked for their efforts.

    Awards & Recognition
    ISA recognizes outstanding members and volunteer service through society-wide awards. Sections are also encouraged to provide local recognition. Consider recognizing your most active members or volunteers during a meeting or banquet with a certificate or locally produced award.

    Celebrate membership milestones. Help new and transferred members feel welcome by sending a personalized email. You might include details of your next meeting and ways they may get involved with your section. Consider recognizing your members for 5, 10, 25, and 50 years of membership. Review the member since date column on the membership roster for those details.

    Each year, ISA conducts an Honors & Awards Gala to acknowledge and applaud individuals for their society service in the following areas:

    • Section Excellence: Recognizes an ISA Section for development and/or execution of programs and/or services to advance the mission of the Society.
    • Section Leader Excellence: Recognizes a section leader who, in the previous year, has demonstrated exceptional leadership and/or provided a specific service within a section to advance the mission of the Society.
    • Excellence in Enduring Service: Recognizes 15 or more years dedicated volunteer service to the Society at the grassroots level. May be presented to multiple (up to five) honorees.
    • Excellence in Society Service: Recognizes 10 or more years distinguished and dedicated volunteer service to the Society.

    Sections Leaders should stimulate the participation of their members in the nomination process.

    Student Section Support

    It is important that sections establish strong relationships with their student sections and members, aiding their transition to professional members and cultivating them into active section participants and leaders.

    Sections may choose to sponsor one or more student sections. In doing so, the section commits to assisting the student section with training, mentoring, and planning activities. Sections are encouraged to appoint a student section liaison to work closely with the faculty advisors and student section officers to help local students transition into professional members by encouraging participation in section activities.

    Sections may decide to support students through a scholarship program. By recognizing and supporting student and academic excellence in automation, the program can significantly contribute the development of talented individuals in the profession.

    One of the best ways to administer and manage a scholarship program is by appointing a committee to be responsible for developing objectives, advertising, collecting applications, and selecting recipients. ISA does advise to only distribute awards based off the earnings of the fund and not the principal, although the final decision is determined by the fund administrator.

    Sections may choose to create an endowment through ISA. If your section is interested, please email sections@isa.org.


    Divisions represent a grouping of global members who share an interest in specific technical topics. These communities share ideas, promote competence, and participate in ISA conferences. A list of all current ISA Divisions are listed on the ISA website. Sections are encouraged to appoint a section division liaison to work closely with divisions to provide technical content for section programs.

    Relationships with other Organizations

    Sections may work with other organizations in the industry that align with ISA’s vision, mission, and values. A section may sponsor or co-sponsor with another ISA section, an educational institution, a conference and/or exhibit either for the local section or for the district in which the section is located. When sections are co-sponsoring, one section is designated as sponsor and the other as co-sponsor. However, when a technical society other than ISA is involved, sections may co-sponsor with the technical society’s local section/chapter, but any other sponsorship will require Geographic Assembly approval.

    Refer to the ISA Policies and Operational Guidelines for ISA Events for further details and guidance for local events, including management of finances and use of ISA intellectual property.

  • Activities

    Meetings and Events

    Sharing technical knowledge and providing a platform for members to network is one of the most important activities in the section. Sections should ensure they provide the right type of events for their local membership, while following ISA policies.

    Required Approval from ISA
    In accordance with the ISA Policies and Operational Guidelines, any section hosting any of the following must seek approval by ISA before planning or promoting any of the following:

    • An event co-sponsored or organized by other not-for-profit organizations
    • An event co-sponsored or organized by for-profit organizations
    • An event marketed or promoted to individuals or members outside the jurisdiction of the ISA section

    Refer to the ISA Policies and Operational Guidelines for further details and guidance for local events, including finances, contracts, and use of ISA intellectual property.

    How often the section meets is up to the section leadership, though to be compliant the section is required to have a minimum of three (3) member events per year. Board meetings do not count as member events.

    Section meetings are important because they:

    • are the best way for our members to get involved
    • are part of the Section's retention efforts
    • are a way to recognize and orient new members
    • are a chance for members to meet the leaders in the field
    • are a chance to update members on ISA activities
    • are a great recruitment tool for both new members and volunteers
    • are the most viable form of continuing education
    • provide peer contact and business opportunities
    • should be - FUN!

    Leaders need to ensure that the meetings and events are well-planned and well-executed. Here are some general guidelines for better Section meetings.
    Before your section chooses what type of meeting you are going to run, it is important to review what goals the section is trying to accomplish. The section should develop a strategy first and then implement the plan. Below is a step-by-step guideline of that planning process.

    Strategic Plan for the Section

    Does your section have a strategic plan? If not, this is the place to start before planning your programming. Sections should make sure they are clear on:

    1. What audiences will you focus on?
      • Your meetings may be open to all members, but you should plan various meetings with specific segments in mind. Is your event for students, young professionals, experts, etc?
    2. How does your section expect to meet the needs of those audiences? What meetings should be planned to address the needs of each audience?
      • The section should have an outline of how many and what kind of events and/or meetings you plan to program and provide
      • Align resources with a realistic number of programs
        • If not enough programs are planned, section members may feel disconnected or perceive a lack of value from the section
        • If too many programs are planned, resources and volunteers may feel overwhelmed, and the quality of the program may suffer
    3. Who will execute the meetings?
      • Meetings require pre- and post-planning. It is critical to clarify who is doing what to guarantee the event meets its objectives.
      • Spread the meeting logistics amongst an ample number of volunteers
        • If the number of volunteers on your board is minimal, are there plans for how new volunteers will be recruited and included?
        • It is important for your section to be realistic in volunteer leader expectations
        • There are several factors that may be included:
          • Number of attendees
          • New volunteers recruited
          • Surveys at the end of each meeting
        • Determining what the true measures of success avoids the assumption that a meeting was successful
      • What are the measures of success that will determine if the section is on the right path?
      • Is there a long-range view?
        • There is value in section leaders having a vision of where the section should be in the future
          • With proper leadership transition, this is a vision that will be shaped with each new class of volunteers but also one that will give greater meaning to the annual efforts of any section

    Creating a Calendar Meeting
    From the strategy outlined above, it should become evident how many meetings the section is going to run and what format each meeting will take based on the targeted audience and overall section goals. The section should take this information into account when creating its calendar.

    The section should use an online calendar program that all board members can access. The online calendar could potentially be used on the section website as well. There are several free versions used, for example, Google calendar.
    It is advisable that a section plan programming for the full year. Start with a blank calendar, then add in nationally recognized holidays, religious holidays, and related dates that would cause a conflict in scheduling section activities. Next, add any major conferences, events, certification testing dates, etc. that appear on the Society’s calendar. Not every section member may participate in these events, but it is appropriate as a unit of ISA to not cross-program to allow for full participation. From there, your section should start to fill in dates and times for section meetings to correspond with the goals in the section plan.
    At this stage, each section meeting that is placed on the calendar does not yet have to have content associated with it. Meetings should be listed by format type and audience to be reached. If your section is used to running a monthly educational meeting, you will first decide upon which segments of your members you are looking to address and in what manner before planning your topics.

    After filling in the program types and audiences, the section officers should review what they are committing to for the full year. This level of planning may not be appropriate to share with the section’s overall membership. The final, subject-driven programmed calendar is usually shared with members and listed on the section website.

    Choose each Meeting Lead
    After all meetings are scheduled, each meeting should have a lead person assigned to it. Meeting leads could be board members, committee chairs, or simply involved members. A meeting lead is not meant to do all the work, but rather be the point person that will take responsibility of the meeting and ensure the logistics and strategic details go into the planning and implementation of the meeting.

    Select your Subject/Format
    Each meeting lead should begin to develop what topic or format their meeting should cover. The sooner in proximity of the date of the meeting, the more urgent it is to finalize this part. When possible, request input from the section members as to what topics they would like to see covered at each program. This can help connect new volunteers to the section.

    Once your section finds a good speaker, you may run into the problem of educator repetition. Section leaders should maintain a careful balance between using speakers more than once because of their scope of knowledge or presentation skills and still giving ample opportunity to bring in a wide range of topics. Keeping track of the last three to five years of topics and speakers will give your section a good historical foundation to build on.

    Implementing your Plan

    Now that your section has a strategy and a calendar of meetings, it’s time to implement your activities.

    • Pick a location – It is important that the location be compatible with the type of meeting, the number of attendees expected, and the costs associated with utilizing the space. Your section may have preferred venues or spaces that have been donated by local sponsoring companies to help keep costs of programming down. Besides availability, the location of your meeting may be a major factor in which members attend. Rotating locations around a geographic area, and periodically surveying members to discover ideal locations are both good ideas to gain a good mix of attendees. The final location decision should consider both logistical (time of day, traffic, parking) and programmatic considerations (it would not be ideal to host an educational program in a noisy bar or restaurant). If the section plans to do a virtual meeting, they will need to determine the most appropriate online collaboration tool or software to use.
    • Sponsorship – Some sections choose to have sponsors for their meetings. Sponsorship may involve a company offering a host location for the meeting or cover the cost of food. In some cases, the sponsor may provide the educational content. Some sections have a comprehensive sponsorship package where interested vendors will pay certain amounts for varied types of recognition. In either scenario, when appropriate, the section should welcome sponsorships, while ensuring that the meeting does not become a sales pitches or something that may drive away professional members.
    • Registration – The registration process should be simple, and if possible, have an online option. Members and guests can indicate that they want to attend your program, pay to attend the event (if applicable), and check in onsite. A budget for the entire meeting should help you determine the registration fee needed to cover all costs. On the day of the meeting, there may be forms to fill out, name badges to be handed out, and information to distribute. Having the right personalities at the registration table can create a good first impression.
    • Marketing – Once the program is planned, the pricing set, the location and speaker secured, word still must get out about your meeting. Sections have various communication channels for promoting their activities. See COMMUNICATIONS topic below).
    • Food – While it is nearly impossible to meet everyone's needs when it comes to food options, be sure to offer at least two selections. Depending on the event, the section may choose to offer light refreshments, or may not offer anything at all. Having at least a small networking reception at every program is highly recommended. The cost of the food may go beyond the simple price of the meal, as some locations require in-house catering, and there can be significant taxes and fees added on to the final cost. These should all be factors considered in your planning process.
    • Welcome Committee – Some sections choose to have a welcome committee or chairperson whose role at meetings is to identify and welcome guests, new members and new attendees. When this is done successfully, the new attendee experience will feel welcoming and engaging.
    • Logistics Coordinator – It is recommended to have a volunteer designated as the logistics coordinator for a meeting, so the section can ensure that someone is paying attention to all the details and nothing is overlooked. Details may include coordination with the speaker to confirm all needs are met for their presentation, A/V or technical needs are met, materials needed for the presentation/program are available, food provided, etc.
    • Program Host – This is the position that can call the meeting to order, introduce the program, and share announcements at the end. This role is often filled by the meeting lead or the section president.
    • Evaluation – Whether by paper, online survey, or follow-up phone calls, each program needs to be evaluated by attendees. It is important that your evaluations review the program and not the volunteers that contributed to the program itself. There will always be areas of improvement. Reflecting on that feedback is essential for future meeting planning.

    Meeting Types

    Not all sections are the same and there is no one-size fits all meeting type that works for everyone. The following is a comprehensive list of general meeting types that can be tailored, and in some cases combined to meet the needs of the section.

    Board Meetings

    It is important that the section officers meet regularly to assess progress, create and implement policies, and carry out the legal and leadership functions of the section.

    Every section should plan to have an annual strategy meeting to accomplish the planning steps highlighted above. It is typical to include last year’s accomplishments and hurdles, reports from each board member, a review of the mission and goals, and then translate those in a plan for programming for the coming year.

    Throughout the year, the section board will meet to evaluate the programs that have been completed, assess needs for upcoming meetings, and address any issues that have arisen since they last spoke. These may be closed to the section board, open to the general section membership, or a mix of the two. It is important to balance the need to have efficiently timed, confidential board discussions with the opportunity for section members to have a voice in the process and hear what the leadership is striving to achieve on their behalf.    

    It is imperative to have an established agenda prior to the board meeting and accurate minutes taken to make sure all top-priority issues are identified and covered. Please use template for board meeting agenda provided as a guideline for the proper format. The section minutes are a major part of the section's continuity, as well as part of its legal requirements.

    Educational Meetings
    Most sections use this traditional meeting format. This meeting can take place in conjunction with breakfast, lunch, or dinner. This allows professionals to network, possibly over a meal, while also engaging in an educational experience.

    Some of the educational formats that your section may choose to use are:

    • Traditional Speaker Presentations – Consisting of a PowerPoint presentation or other form of slideshow presentation, or simply a talk, this speaker format is geared towards a single content expert sharing their knowledge.
    • Virtual Speakers – Like the above, this speaker will present over the phone or by screen share through video presentation.
    • Panel Discussions – A group of content experts with varying experiences gathered to discuss a topic of interest in front of an audience.
    • Roundtables – An opportunity for participants to get together in an informal setting to examine issues as they relate to specific topics. This format is not necessarily ideal for an in-depth discussion.
    • Ignite Presentations – A series of 5-minutes presentations, where each presenter must use 20 slides advancing every 15 seconds to discuss a topic. Some sections may include a structured Q&A after each presentation to allow for a deeper discussion on each topic.
    • Prerecorded Webinars – An online presentation that can be prerecorded and presented on-demand or at a scheduled time. Sections can identify webinars that already exist, present them as the educational focus of the group, and include discussion points throughout or at the end of the presentation.

    Virtual Meeting
    Not all sections can have in-person meetings on a regular basis. In order to accomplish many of the same goals as in the educational formats above, sections may organize virtual webinars.

    The section can provide an exchange of ideas and information that delivers value to your members by coordinating a speaker or a panel discussion, facilitating a presentation and follow-up Q&A.

    Your section may also consider requesting permission from the speaker to be recorded and then the content of that presentation be shared with the members who could not attend. This will add value to section members that may live farther away and unable to attend a live presentation, or a member that has another obligation and unable to attend.

    Section Co-Sponsored Training
    Sections can provide a valuable opportunity to current and prospective members to expand their technical knowledge through section co-sponsored trainings, while earning revenue for the sections. Your section can earn a percentage of the registration fees from a successful training event. The greater number of registrants, the more revenue to gain.

    Your section will take the lead role in promoting the course offering(s) and assist ISA as necessary in planning and executing the event. The section will:

    • Complete and return a signed course sponsorship agreement
    • Appoint a volunteer to work with ISA to plan the course offering, including course selection, date, and location, onsite registration and instructor assistance
    • Provide a venue
    • Promote the training event

    A minimum of five registrants will be required for the course to proceed.

    Sections may run a full, multiday conference. Your section may include multiple learning opportunities, social networking functions, and other activities. A conference needs to be well-planned in advance and should have a full committee of volunteers to coordinate the logistics, marketing, registration, implementation, evaluation, etc.

    If a full day conference isn’t the right fit for your section, you may consider running a half-day conference. A half day conference can include two to three educational sessions, an opportunity for networking, and a meal.

    Plant Tour
    Not all section meetings have to be in a meeting room. Arranging a plant tour is a good way to gain practical knowledge, problem solving strategies, and real-time solution applications. Depending on time and location, this event may be combined with a meal. Since a plant tour can run longer than a usual meeting, your section may only run one or two a year.

    Certification Reviews
    ISA offers multiple certifications and certificate programs. Many sections organize a review class or series of classes for their members in a group setting. This is a great opportunity for you to engage members that may not have been previously involved your section.

    Fundraising Events
    Some sections are dedicated to giving back to their community or a specific cause. Sections may choose to raise money to award scholarships for students preparing to enter the automation profession. Whatever fundraising activities your section choose, be sure to review any guidelines in your section’s bylaws.

    Social Meetings

    Many sections organize social meetings/gatherings. This is an opportunity for you to add some “fun” to your section offerings. Your members will have the opportunity to create a community, discuss employment opportunities, research and projects, and even develop friendships among their peers.

    Audiences to Consider

    Some sections will consider outreach and programming for students. Working with a student population can create a pool of new members and volunteers, make connections with future section professional members and give back to the profession by helping shape future automation professionals. You may want to consider special pricing on student programs as many may not have the funds to pay for a full program fee. Your section may want to offer student discounts or free admission. It is important to send targeted messaging to students, inviting and welcoming them to events.

    As members are retiring, and the younger generations are growing in the workplace, sections need to begin to focus on the “Young Professional” population. Connecting with younger professionals early and often will encourage involvement in your section. These younger members are vital to the future survival of your section.

    Increasing Attendance

    The BEST way to increase meeting attendance is by word of mouth from past attendees. To encourage your attendees to recruit other professionals to attend future section events, be sure the section programs are relevant and provide value to attendees.

    Meeting notices must be sent far enough in advance to allow members to respond, and, if necessary, adjust their schedules. At the same time, they shouldn't be sent so far in advance that members ignore them. Of course, the meeting notice should be a reminder (a regular schedule of meetings should be sent to all members at the beginning of the year) as well as a promotional piece.

    The location of the meeting can make a difference, too. Some Sections believe that having their meetings at the same place each time allows members to become comfortable with their travel, the facility, etc. Other Sections prefer to move their meetings around, so that no one group of members must travel too far each time. Other factors that can have an impact on attendance includes cost of attending (registration fee), day of the week, time of day, and program topic/speaker.

  • Communications

    Sections offer services to members through technical knowledge sharing and networking. Just like any other service provider, the way you market your activities impacts the success of your operations, member engagement, and events. Successfully target your market and appropriately tailor your communications with members. Good communication will help make your programming more successful. Section communications may reflect the Society to many members, so be sure the section is following all policies.

    Know Your Members

    The first step in your marketing plan should be to ensure you know your audience. Ask yourself what your members need, what topics are important to them, and what type of communications they prefer.
    If you are unsure what is important to you members, ASK! Send a survey to find out what your members prefer.


    Official section logos are provided in various formats to use for social media, high-resolution printing, and more. They are a great way to brand your marketing pieces.

    For sections to make use of ISA intellectual property, they must:

    • Always use the section name, and not merely “ISA” alone, in any communications with the public or other parties, including promotions and contracts
    • Use the ISA logo, name, and acronym “ISA” with the section name to show identity and affiliation with ISA
    • Use the ISA logo, name, or acronym in a way that does not cause confusion regarding whether the section or the Society is responsible for that use
    • All other uses of the ISA logo, name, acronym, and other ISA trademarks (such as InTech) by sections require specific prior permission from the ISA Executive Board, which also reserves the right to review and approve any use of the ISA logo, name, acronym, or other ISA trademark
    • Not allow another group or organization to use any ISA trademark
    • Include registered trademark notices with all uses of ISA trademarks in accordance with ISA logo specifications
    • Not register an ISA trademark independently of ISA
    • Require a specific license from the ISA Executive Board for all other uses of ISA trademarks
    • Obtain permission before using ISA copyrighted materials in any form, including but not limited to ISA books, journals, proceedings, videos, software, standards and any other materials published by ISA

    Please reference the Intellectual Property Policy in the ISA Policies and Operational Guidelines (POG) for complete details.


    Most readers will only spend a few seconds reviewing your message, so make it count, and make it easy to scan. Here are some tips:

    • Add headlines or bullets in the body of your communication to help break it up
    • Keep subject lines short and interesting
      • Consider using questions, deadlines, or announcements
        • Will we see you in Spain?
        • Last Call | Event Registration Deadline 1 August
        • Keynote Announced | Jane Smith, CAP
    • Test sending emails on different days
      • Review your email stats for the highest success rates
      • Sending in the morning is usually best
    • Add humor as culturally appropriate
    • Be creative
      • Keep colors and fonts consistent and appropriate for your message
    • Use personalization when the context is speaking to the reader
      • This works well for event registration or dues renewal reminders
    • Create urgency around deadlines
      • Early-bird registration or limited seating available
    • Review your email stats
      • Click rates are more important than open rates, as they show the user took action to follow a link within the body of your email

    Tips to avoid SPAM filters:

    • Encourage recipients to classify mailings as ‘not spam’
    • Keep messages consistent with your ‘from address’
    • Ask recipients to add the ‘from’ email address to the safe senders list
    • Check your mailing content for spam triggers such as:
      • Exposed URLs
      • Too many images
      • Suspicious subject lines
        • “!” or words like “FREE”
      • Attachments
      • Bright red text

    Message tips:

    • Clear, concise, and complete—as well as timely and relevant
    • Answers the questions:
      • “What’s in it for me?”
      • Who, what, why, where, when, and how?
    • Engage the reader or listener
    • Write less formally
      • Write as though you were talking to a good friend or colleague
      • Edit later if the message sounds too casual
    • Keep sentences brief
    • Use bullets or spaces for easier reading
    • Proofread for errors


    While email is one of the most popular marketing methods, do not forget about traditional mail. ISA provides postal mailing lists in the membership rosters, so you may send traditional mail to your members.

    You may consider sending a welcome postcard to new members —or a formal invitation to an awards banquet. Another idea is to print posters to hang in offices to promote ISA and your section’s events to colleagues.

    Social Media

    In social media along with all other forms of communication, it is important that ISA present a strong global identity. ISA social media is an integral part of ISA’s marketing strategy and is used to communicate and promote the ISA brand, product and service offerings, benefits, and activities. We create it to educate and engage members and prospective members, and we use it in a variety of platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and ISA.org. The following information will help you understand the ways ISA uses social media and how you can use it to promote your events or programs to fit within the overall ISA brand standards.

    Social media content should not be developed, used, and promoted without a pre-defined purpose or integration point within a campaign. It can be used as part of a campaign but once it has been used, much of the content can be repurposed if there is a consistent methodology that goes into their development.

    The key to social media success is taking a strategic and thoughtful approach to the type of social presence you want to build for your section. Choose the platform that works best for your audience. Determine the channel that works best for your members and update frequently. Post original, engaging content regularly. Post at least once a week, three times a week is ideal.

    In the event of negative or disparaging comments or content not in line with ISA’s mission, best practice is to remove the post and block the user. This is not to be confused with criticism of ISA, ISA sections, or ISA members. The best practice in this instance is to not delete the criticism but address the criticism with facts.

    Branding your Section’s Social Media Space

    Brand standards, applied consistently, help ISA project a strong identity and differentiate ISA from other associations. Proper use of the ISA logo on the web, including social media spaces, is critical to maintenance of brand standards. Sections can benefit from ISA’s efforts around branding by visually identifying themselves with the ISA brand.

    Most social networks identify posts by using a square or circle graphic image known as a ‘profile picture’ or ‘avatar.’ The section logo icon should be used as the profile picture on social media platforms and the section name must be included on social media pages or group names. For example, “ISA Brisbane, Australia Section,” not “Brisbane, Australia Section” or “ISA” alone.

    Social Media Best Practices

    • Be concise
      • Most readers will more than likely skip your post entirely if it is too long and drawn out. Post in the clearest, shortest form possible.
    • Consider your audience and platforms you use
      • Readers are comprised of diverse backgrounds. Facebook users may not want the same type of information as a user on Twitter or LinkedIn.
    • Bring value
      • Everything your section posts reflects ISA’s reputation and influence. Be sure that your posts are of a topic of interest.
    • Be responsible for what you write
      • Use good judgment and common sense when developing posts. If you think it is inappropriate or may not be received well, it’s probably best to refrain from posting it.
    • Avoid copyright infringement
      • As ISA holds the right to all developed content (including photos, video, technical papers, etc.), ISA reserves the right of approval regarding use of content and the right to remove content used without approval from ISA.

    Tagging and Hashtags
    Tag people in pictures, videos, and posts to include them in your content if they are a part of your experience. When you tag, you are identifying the person, business, or group and linking them in your post. Most platforms, the tag will appear in blue or black bold.

    How to tag:
    In a post, type ‘@’ then the start of the person’s name or company name. A list will generate as you type, and you can select from that list at any time.

    Tagging your location is a valuable part of the social media algorithm. It increases your reach to people in the area. It may also help you be featured by the venue, which increases your audience. Look for the ‘tag location’ option on posts. While it will boost your post numbers, location tagging is not required.

    The ‘#’ symbol is referred to as a hashtag in social media. They are a great way to create, follow, and engage with a community. Essentially, a hashtag is a collection of stories about a topic. Hashtags can’t have spaces or special characters outside the initial #.

    How to hashtag:
    In a post, type ‘#’ then the topic you want to reference. For example, “#JoinISA to engage with peers and subject matters around the world. #ISAmembership.”

    Section Webpages/Microsites and Websites

    ISA section websites play an important role in communicating with ISA members. These guidelines are intended to assist sections in the effective operation of their websites and to make members aware of relevant ISA policies and practices.

    A section planning to develop a website for the first time, or to revise a current website, may find it helpful to examine other section websites for ideas about what kind of information to include. Links to these websites can be found using the section list.

    At a minimum, section websites should include:

    • The section logo with the section name prominently displayed
    • A link to the ISA home page
    • Section goals and/or the mission and vision of ISA
    • A calendar or listing detailing upcoming section programs, speakers or events
    • Names and contact information for section officers
    • Depending on the size and needs of the section, other types of content that sections may want to include on their website:
      • Information about key ISA activities (awards programs, scholarships, leader meetings, symposia, etc.)
      • Information on section study group activities
      • News about section members
      • Information from ISA student sections in the area
      • Reports and summaries of section technical presentations or workshops
      • Links to important pages on ISA.org (e.g., Member Directory, Training Schedule, Conferences & Events or other ISA products and services as appropriate)
      • Contact details for the section webmaster
      • Banner advertising
      • Logos of local section sponsors

    Sections should not post any member identification numbers or personal information of their section members to protect member privacy.

    Section officers are responsible for ensuring that website content complies with ISA policies and guidelines. Section websites should not include inappropriate or potentially offensive content of a sexual, racial, religious, cultural or political nature.

    It is essential that the website be kept up to date. An out of date website does not provide an impression of quality to members or website visitors. Sections may find it useful to establish a set schedule for website updates to avoid having content become outdated.

    Logins on Section Websites
    Sections are strongly discouraged from requiring members to log in to access content on the section website or to maintain their contact information, including email address. It currently is not possible for this login to interface with ISA.org’s login or membership system, so member confusion could be created. For example, a member who updates his/her contact information on the section website might expect it to be updated on their ISA record. Since the two systems are wholly independent, members would have to update information in both places. Members would also have two “ISA” logins - one for ISA.org and one for the section site.

    ISA acknowledges that there may be good reason for having a login on certain section sites. In such cases, sections should maintain only necessary information, and any pages for updating that information should clearly state that this information applies to the section website only and will not be updated in the ISA membership database. A link for updating member information on ISA.org should be provided.

    Website Hosting, Management and URL
    Sections have a wide range of options and technology available to them. The right choice depends on the section size, needs, and capabilities. In determining what technology to use, sections are encouraged to think about future needs. Just because the section has one member able to develop html pages this year does not mean that a similar resource will be available in future years. The ongoing ability to maintain the website is an important consideration.

    ISA-Hosted Section Webpages
    ISA offers software and hosting on its servers to make it easy for sections to set up and maintain a website. If your section is interested in this hosting, please contact sections@isa.org.

    Independent (Non-ISA Hosted) Section Websites
    Some sections, especially those with significant financial and volunteer resources, choose to develop and maintain a website hosted elsewhere. Sometimes sections even select a contractor to maintain the website for them. ISA standards for logo appearance, advertising, etc., still apply to websites hosted by other entities. ISA will provide a link from ISA.org to independent section websites upon notification by email of the URL, or web address, of the site. Send link requests for section websites to sections@isa.org.

    Domain Name
    If a section chooses to develop an independent website, it will need to purchase an appropriate domain name for the website. The domain name/universal resource locator (URL) should include the section name or acronym/abbreviation and should not include the name of any non-ISA entities, including the hosting service. This domain name should include the initials ISA, with some indicator for the section name, with a preferred ending of .org, or .org.country abbreviation. Examples of current domain names for independent geographic section websites:

    • https://isacalgary.ca/
    • https://www.houstonisa.org/
    • http://isabangalore.org.in/
    • http://isa.aanet.ru/
    • http://www.isacampinas.org.br/

    Sections will need to let their website provider know that the section domain should be used throughout the site, not just on the homepage. Website provider names should not appear in the URL of interior pages of the website.

    Quality and Standards for Section Websites
    All ISA publications, including websites, should protect and enhance ISA’s reputation for quality. Sections should ensure their website presents a professional image and maintains ISA’s reputation for impartiality.

    Section Responsibility for Oversight of Content
    Where a section works with a contractor on their website, it is the responsibility of the section officers to ensure that website content complies with ISA policies and guidelines. Questions, complaints, or comments about the content of a section website should be directed to and responded to by the section officers, not a contractor.

    ISA encourages open and objective discussion of technical and professional subjects pertinent to the interests of the Society in its publications. Society publications shall contain no judgmental remarks or opinions as to the technical competence, personal character, or motivations of any individual, company, or group. Any material which, in the publisher's opinion, does not meet the standards for objectivity, pertinence, and professional tone will be returned to the contributor with a request for revision before publication.

    It is recommended that the above statement be included somewhere on section websites.

    To protect the Society’s reputation as a respected association for automation professionals and the industry’s most reliable provider of technical information, editorial material published on section websites should not promote the use of a specific product or service and should present an impartial, balanced view of technology.

    Sections are responsible for ensuring that their websites present a professional image, avoiding inappropriate or potentially offensive content. Sections should be mindful of the highly diverse nature of ISA’s global membership and avoid materials of a sexual, racial, religious, or political nature. ISA is a technical organization, and while sections may engage in a wide range of non-technical activities (e.g., charitable, educational, social), these are nonetheless activities sponsored by a professional society and the overall tone should be professional.

    Copyright Protection

    Sections are responsible for confirming the right to publish all material on their websites and for obtaining written permission from the copyright holder before publication. This includes photos, text, presentations, videos, podcasts, and other materials. Posting material on a website constitutes publication of that material. Thus, copyright laws that pertain to reproducing material in print also apply to material on a website. Copyright remains with the originator (e.g., author, artist, photographer) until it is transferred to another person or organization. Sections should be aware that taking material from one website, including graphics, and posting that material on its website without permission is likely to be a violation of copyright.

    If ISA members or the public post materials on a section website without prior approval by a section officer, it is the responsibility of the officers or their contractor to periodically check the website for possible copyright violations and remove any materials that may represent a copyright violation.
    Because it is easy to copy material from a website, a section may want to include a copyright notice on material that it does not want to be freely copied. The easiest way to do this is by including a copyright notice in the footer of the website. For example, “Copyright 2010-2019, ISA Philadelphia Section.” The date range reflects the fact that various website content may have been written at different dates during that period.

    Section websites should include a disclaimer of responsibility for contributed content. Example: “The ISA Bangalore Section is not responsible for any statements made or opinions expressed on this website.”
    The liability of a website publisher for comments made in online forums, chat rooms, and threaded discussions is not definitive, but the potential for liability exists. It is therefore wise to include disclaimers of website responsibility for statements made or opinions expressed by participants. An example of such a disclaimer is, "Any opinions expressed here are strictly those of the individual posting the message and not necessarily those of ISA, the Bangalore Section, or the organization with which the individual is affiliated."


    In general, advertising accepted for ISA section websites should be pertinent to the automation industry and the readers of the publication. Sections should follow ISA advertising best practices which should be stated on the section website: “ISA publications accept advertising for goods and services which, in the publisher’s judgment, address the technical or professional interests of the journal’s readers.” This gives a section the option of refusing to run advertising it does not believe is appropriate to the professional reputation of the Society.

    Promoting Non-ISA Events and Training Courses

    In general, ISA would prefer that its sections promote ISA events and training courses. Dues comprise only a small part of ISA’s revenues, so the success of ISA-sponsored programs is important to funding many activities and benefits, so sections should give preference to promoting those programs. ISA recognizes, however, that there may be a variety of good reasons why an individual section may want to promote the events of another organization, particularly where sections work closely with the local affiliate of another professional society. It should be clear, perhaps through a clear statement, that ISA does not endorse or sponsor these non-ISA events – they are provided for information only.

    For events or training courses offered by for-profit or commercial organizations, it seems appropriate to require these organizations to purchase banner ads or other paid advertising. For the events and/or courses of another not-for-profit or professional society, it is suggested that the section consider whether it receives like treatment from the other organization. Do they promote your activities to their members? If the answer is no, then the section may want to consider whether it is appropriate to require them to advertise (perhaps at a reduced rate for not-for-profit organizations).

    ISA Connect

    ISA is excited to be launching a new member benefit in the coming year, ISA Connect.
    This online discussion community, exclusively for members, will be your go-to source to engage in technical conversations and share best practices. ISA Connect will provide members the ability to:

    • Network and communicate with members around the world
    • Post, subscribe to, and follow technical discussions
    • Share and access resources in the technical library
    • Discover opportunities to get involved in ISA

    We are excited to offer new ways for members to cultivate professional relationships, engage in technical dialogue, and develop the ISA community. Some of the main features will include:

    • Technical Discussion Forum:
      • Posts will be categorized by industry topic tag
      • Members will receive a personalized digest to their email based on the topics they subscribe to
      • Members will have the capability to tag other members in their post
      • Posting capabilities are limited to professional members only
    • Section Communities
      • Members will automatically be included in the section community based on their affiliation
      • Event Management Capabilities
        • Section leaders can create and manage programs and events
        • Event registration
        • Payment options to their respective bank accounts
      • Email Capabilities
        • Section leaders will be able to email their members
        • Dashboards on section stats will be available to section leaders
      • Section member directory
      • File Library
        • Sections can post various file types (i.e. bylaws, board minutes, speaker presentations)
    • Section Leader Community
      • This will be a place to collaborate and share best practices with other section leaders around the globe
      • File library
        • Section leaders can access various resources and documents to be successful in their roles (i.e. Leader Resources)
    • Speaker Directory
      • Sections can search for Speakers for their programs and events
        • Searchable by demographics
        • For example: job function, languages spoken, areas of expertise, experience level, etc.
      • Various members around the world can create a speaker profile, including where they are willing to travel, costs, presentations, etc.
    • Volunteer Opportunities
      • Section leaders will be able create opportunities based on needs
        • Opportunities can be matched with those who meet the qualifications (like a “Dating Service” for volunteers)
        • Member demographics can be used to invite to specific volunteer opportunities
        • Different options for approving an opportunity
          • Instantly approve
          • Moderation for review before approving
  • Tools and Resources


    Section officers in good standing may download membership rosters at any time. The information on the rosters may only be used for programs endorsed by ISA. Use or reproduction of the information for commercial purposes or for programs not endorsed by ISA is strictly prohibited and subject to legal action. All data contained within the reports is updated in real-time.

    Rosters include the following useful pieces of information, member login required:

    • Current professional members, grace, and suspended
    • Identification of any new members for the current month
    • Date each member joined ISA and the date their membership ends
    • A list of potential contacts for membership (Automation Community Subscribers)

    The information obtained on section members should not be used or disclosed for purposes other than those related to section activities.

    Protecting Membership Data

    The protection of membership data is extremely important and should be at the forefront of all your activities as a section.

    • Do not maintain ISA membership rosters
      • We provide you membership rosters and they are updated in real-time
      • It is against policy for sections to maintain membership rosters
    • The maintenance and time required to maintain section membership rosters is nearly impossible due to volunteer capacity
    • Members change information frequently and they have the right to be forgotten (unsubscribe)
    • Members are free to move into and out of your section
    • Members exit the industry and membership is no longer relevant to them, so we must respect their decision
    • Do not maintain email distribution lists
      • We provide you a list of emails in the membership rosters and they are updated in real-time
      • ISA has the infrastructure and ability to maintain communication and marketing consent that are in line with laws and regulations. Sections must respect a members choice to opt out.
      • It is against policy for sections to maintain an email distribution list
      • Marketing emails sent without the ability to unsubscribe are against laws and regulations
      • Delete old membership rosters regularly
      • Once you have used the information you need, it should be deleted, and never stored longer than necessary
      • The information on the reports change frequently, so you must pull a new roster when you need it
    • Do not email membership rosters to board members or external parties
      • Section leaders have access to membership roster and need to download the reports directly through the online portal if they need a roster
      • Do not retain attendance records for longer than deemed necessary
      • Do not maintain event attendance records with email addresses or phone numbers
    • Do not retain credit card numbers
      • ISA does not store any financial information for members or sections. All information is destroyed after use, and we are fully compliant with PCI protections. Sections and should follow this example.
    Statistics Report

    A comprehensive section membership statistical report is available for download in Excel for you to track your section’s monthly progress. Login required.

    2019 Society Membership Goals

    • Retention – 80%
    • Growth – 4%

    YOUR Section could be the winner of USD 500. Five Sections will be drawn in January.

    Rules and Procedures

    • A section must meet or exceed the membership goals
    • Only compliant sections are eligible to win