Action Plan 2021 / Empowering People to Take Action

Empowering People to Take Action

People who champion the Internet are at the heart of what we do. The Internet Society’s strength comes from our Individual Members, Organizational Members, Chapters, and Special Interest Groups (SIGs) that constitute us. We work together with other communities of interest, partners, and allies to ensure the Internet thrives and meets the needs of all people. Thanks to that collaboration – volunteerism, funding, and policy and technical support – we can more effectively promote a bigger, stronger Internet.

In 2021, we will focus on attracting, engaging, and strengthening our whole community – Individual Members, Organizational Members, Chapters, and SIGs. We will build people up through learning and fellowship opportunities. We will facilitate knowledge sharing in support of our mission, improve the tools our community uses to connect with one another, and pursue more partners and funding opportunities to support sustainable growth and greater impact.

Collectively, these steps will empower the champions of the Internet to take concerted action and amplify the positive impact we can achieve together.

Supporting Community Participation

Attracting and engaging Individual Members

We will bring renewed commitment to our Individual Members, who extend our reach to every corner of the world. As we target increasing by 5,000 the number of individuals who actively participate in Internet Society activities by the end of 2021, we will ensure prospective new members have an engaging experience along every step of their journey. We will nurture all Individual Members by giving them the organizational support they need to be successful. We will foster collaboration with Individual Members through regular information and knowledge sharing, training, and two-way engagement.

Providing fundamental information to our Chapters

Through regular feedback, we know that our Chapter members desire greater participation in our projects. To better engage our Chapters in 2021, we will help them more effectively communicate, advocate, and raise awareness about efforts related to growing and strengthening the Internet. We will achieve this by equipping 500 Chapter members with essential information related to our 2021 projects.

Improving the function of Special Interest Groups

SIGs offer a different way for members to engage. They are a global platform for Internet Society members to join and discuss shared topics of interest to our community – topics that might not be directly covered by our current projects but support our overall vision and mission. Yet, historically, SIGs have not always functioned as smoothly as the community would like. In 2020, a working group of SIG leaders suggested a new approach to how SIGs are structured and operate. Their proposal includes recommendations to expand global participation and community support in SIGs, and to improve how their work is communicated to the Internet Society and wider community.

Relying upon the current SIG leaders and the working group that developed the proposal, we will create a strong-functioning SIG structure. This new structure will have the support of Internet Society members globally, ensure collaboration with Chapters, and will constitute a clear added value to the community. As part of this, we will establish five topics for 2022 as identified through SIG Community Consultations. We anticipate the successful transition to the new SIG structure by January 2022.

Strengthening our community connections and participation

Our community is made up of thousands of energetic, enthusiastic, and committed individuals, organizations, and volunteers. It’s important that they are engaged, informed, and connected as they bring about global change.

To better support our community, we will make improvements to software systems they rely on, including our association management and relationship management systems. These improvements will provide a better overall experience for the user, allow for more targeted communications, and enhance virtual and in-person events for all participants.

As we implement these upgrades, we will be mindful of our future needs, including the ability to reach further in our work.

Focusing on content to support participation

Our outward communications remain a vital part of our work. We have an opportunity to build value for our mission from the inside out by maximizing the strength of Internet Society content, and by building stronger connections between this content and our channels of communications.

Our content – what we say and publish – is one of the greatest tools we have to help us achieve our goals. It is how we put across our ideas and engage people in our mission. The way we create and manage content has a huge bearing on our efficiency as an organization and community, and our effectiveness in driving the change and support that is needed to grow the Internet and make it stronger.

In 2021 we will implement a Content Plan – a roadmap for improving the way we plan, create, and distribute Internet Society content to those who can help us achieve our mission. We will gain a better view of our audience interests in order to inform our content, and to target those who can make a difference in the most effective way. We will build it for them and distribute methodically and with purpose. We will enhance user journeys through Internet Society content, ensuring that our outputs are compelling, relevant, and creative. Through this effort, our community and followers will have a clearer view of the actions they can take to help grow and strengthen the Internet, and why the Internet needs everyone’s support.

Building Expertise and Capacity

Driving action through knowledge

Learning @ Internet Society, our training and professional development program, is designed to enhance people’s proficiency so they can become future Internet leaders. More than training and educational resources, it is a way to bring people together in support of our mission and equip them with the knowledge they need to take action.

In 2021, we will offer more learning opportunities than ever with 30 e-learning courses, which will have a combined reach of 10,000 community members and supporters. These courses will reflect feedback we received from our community in 2020 about their learning needs. Course topics will include Encryption, Routing Security, Internet Governance, Privacy, and Network Operations.

In addition, Learning @ Internet Society uniquely represents exciting accreditation opportunities leading to increased participation, revenue generation, and collaboration with academic institutions. In 2021, we will explore this further and seek to secure two partners who can support us with course accreditation. Initially, we will look at offering micro-credentials, which are widely recognized by organizations and academics as validating an individual’s mastery of specific skills.

Preparing future Internet advocates

With the growing importance of Internet issues across international agendas, it has become critical to strengthen our community of advocates around the world. In 2021, we will focus on two fellowship programs to equip decision-makers, technical experts, and influencers with the knowledge they need to be stronger advocates for an open, globally-connected, secure, and trustworthy Internet.

The Early Career Fellowship program is designed for talented Internet champions who recently started in their profession and have a demonstrated interest and impressive potential across a range of Internet-related topics. In 2021, we will launch the Early Career Fellowship program and secure four key partners to help support it through financial sponsorship, contribution to the program’s curriculum, or mentoring and training the fellows.

The Mid Career Fellowship program – ideal for professionals further along in their Internet-related career – will start to take shape in 2021 thanks to initial planning and development already under way. With an anticipated launch in 2022, the Mid Career Fellowship program will serve as a training progression for working professionals, helping them to amplify their potential impact.

Sharing cutting-edge knowledge

We will continue to organize and host the Network and Distributed System Security Symposium (NDSS), a top academic conference focused on the latest in network and distributed system security. The NDSS is an incubator of ideas and aims to nurture future generations of security experts. At this symposium, academic and industry researchers and security practitioners from all over the world come together to exchange information and share knowledge.

For the first time ever, NDSS will be a virtual conference in 2021. To ensure it remains dynamic and meaningful, we will coordinate with the NDSS community to ensure its impact is felt well past the event itself. We will facilitate at least one collaboration between the NDSS research community and the open standards community. Through these efforts and others, we aim to maintain the NDSS position as a top-five premier academic research symposium for computer and network security in the world.

Securing Resources for Growth and Greater Impact

Targeting outreach for new, diversified funding and partnership

Sustainable growth remains a top priority as we explore opportunities for diversified revenue sources and grant funding. Increased funding is not merely the way to unlock our potential to do more. By cultivating broader financial support for the work of the Internet Society, we demonstrate our commitment to inclusiveness and ensure that our work responds to the needs that others perceive. In 2021, we will expand our outreach to a broader, more diverse range of potential funders, as well as diversify the channels through which we raise funds. We will pursue revenue through Organizational Membership, sponsorships, foundation and corporate grants, individual donations, corporate matching programs, and Learning @ Internet Society. Through this outreach, which complements our member contributions, we will secure 10 new funding sources and 50 new partners who actively participate in our work.

Creating an Internet for
everyone everywhere

Members globally

Chapters & SIGs

Organization members

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