In this day and age, we all know that our local associations benefit from having a listserve. They can readily distribute information to their members regarding upcoming events, fundraisers, and any other news associated with the organization and its business.
But do you utilize the listserve? The listserve is not just a resource for the association; it is also a resource for its members. Do you need to file a divorce complaint in a county that you have not worked with before? Do you need to utilize a form that you have never needed before? If no one in your office can help you out, you can send an email out to the listserve to see if your colleagues can be of assistance. Usually, someone will have the answer to your question or will know someone else who can help you. Of course, you should reciprocate – if someone asks a question that you know the answer to, be sure to provide assistance. Reply only to the sender so that you do not inundate the inboxes of everyone on the listserve.
Another instance in which the listserve should be exploited is for purposes of distributing new information that will have an impact on standard practice and procedures. I have several times received updates from my colleagues regarding new procedural mandates, new or modified forms, and other changes that need to be taken into account in day-to-day practice. For example, the Rules of Civil Procedure relating to custody practice in PA were completely revamped, resulting in new procedural requirements and new and modified forms. Since I am in charge of maintaining the forms for my department, I had quite a bit of work to do when these changes came about!
I would caution you, however, to not abuse the listserve. It is for professional purposes only. Do not take advantage of the listserve for personal reasons such as selling raffle tickets for a charity that you personally are associated with. The listserve can easily lose respect as a professional resource if members are receiving solicitations from other colleagues rather than legitimate information or requests for assistance.
How has the listserve helped you? Who have you provided assistance to via the listserve? Please leave a comment and share your experience with your colleagues.