From the Hart

From the Hart: Blogging with Hillary Hart

We bring you today the second From the Hart blog post by STC President Hillary Hart. As her predecessors did, Hillary will grace STC’s Notebook regularly during her term as President on a variety of topics.

Thinking Globally and Acting Locally

The past few weeks have encouraged most of us to “think globally,” if we were not already doing so. On behalf of the STC Board and staff, I would like to extend our sympathies to our members and friends in New Zealand and Japan who have lost so much in recent weeks. The scale of these disasters reminds us how fragile life is and how important the connections and friends we have are. We hope that you and yours are safe and doing okay.

For many of us who belong to a professional community such as STC, the line can be blurred between the mission of the organization—to advance the profession and help members advance their careers—and the reason many of us belong to STC—for the personal and professional relationships. At times of crisis in locations around the world, we want to reach out and help. But STC cannot be the mechanism for that help. While STC is a charitable organization, the IRS granted this tax-exempt status only for the specific purposes of the “promotion of the profession of technical communication.” STC is not a charitable organization for humanitarian disaster relief. Therefore STC (and STC communities) cannot collect funds on behalf of another group and funnel them. In fact, to do so could jeopardize STC’s tax-exempt status.

But we can individually express our concern, send messages to members around the world,  and “act locally” by donating to, mustering supplies for, or fundraising for those charities set up for disaster relief. Yesterday I attended a Sushi Roll-a-thon to Benefit Japan Disaster Relief, an event sponsored by the Austin Asian-American Chamber of Commerce. There are countless ways we may each contribute and reach out. And sharing those experiences and opportunities with each other is certainly something that STC groups can do. Such cross-group communication will definitely be enhanced once the My STC part of the new website is fully integrated for use.

Be safe.


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  • Hillary, I know what you meant to say but I think the way you said it sends the wrong message about STC’s mission. The membership of STC has zero to do with its mission as written. The STC, by mission, is not member-facing but member embracing. I joined STC for its mission; I joined for knowledge’s sake. I’ve stayed on partly because of some relationships I’ve made over the years, and partly because I want STC’s mission to succeed. But “help members advance their careers” is by no means a part of the mission of STC, and IMHO I don’t think it ever should be.

  • Thanks for the clarification, Bill. STC’s mission is certainly NOT to enhance anyone’s career except indirectly through making info and knowlege more accessible. And that is indeed an important distinction.

  • Hi Hillary,

    One thing I think we could do, is provide some links on our site to appropriate organizations for those who want to help, and maybe even some collective expression of solidarity, at least to our chapters in the affected region.

    That way, we would at least be part of the expression, without stepping over the limits of our mandate/charter/mission.