The dream of many organizations is to go global. A global footprint means a wider impact. And for most organizations with aspirations to make a difference, a worldwide stage is the place to be.
Earlier this week HI-USA executive staff met in London with senior staff from the International Youth Hostel Federation. IYHF is an international nonprofit recognized by the United Nations, and enables HI-USA to “go global” with its programs and its perspectives.
HI-USA is the sole US affiliate of IYHF. Nearly 80 other national associations in other countries are similarly recognized. Together, these national associations sit together biannually to elect IYHF officers and set policy. Between meetings, IYHF operations staff seek to promote deeper links among national associations.
With this background comes an admission: we came to London with an aim – to advocate for more deliberating building a worldwide hostelling movement.
What transforms an international organization into a movement? Passion, to be sure. And also outreach, engagement and impact. At the meeting with our IYHF counterparts, we covered all four:
Passion – We need to extend our travelers’ current passion about the quality of our hostel stays, into a wider appreciation of the cross-cultural aspects of the experience. IYHF expressed specific interest in supporting structured programming as a tool.
Outreach – We need to optimize the web and energize social media efforts to bring new people into the hostelling orbit, and HI-USA and IYHF pledged together to work towards it.
Engagement – We need to use both front-line technology and educational programming as a way to engage hostellers in our mission and promote a lifelong affiliation with them. IYHF endorsed HI-USA’s focus on investing in technology solutions to promote closer customer relationships and in more programming opportunities for engagement.
Impact – We need to embrace innovative new measures of organizational performance, supplementing traditional financial metrics with those relating to environmental and social impact. HI-USA and IYHF are concurrently working on implementing “triple bottom line” reporting in late 2011.
“Going global” for HI-USA is being a full partner with other national associations in the delivery of quality hostel stay and programming experiences. But it’s also a state of mind with large aspirations: to build a worldwide hostelling movement.