So far in this series, we first looked at the good old days, when CSI membership rose continually, sometimes at an amazing rate. During the growth period, we saw that membership in CSI offered tangible benefits. CSI was an organization that helped those involved in construction to understand how construction documents are related, how to prepare them, and how to interpret them. Much of that information was developed by CSI members, so there were countless opportunities for members to take an active part in the future of specifications. Face meetings were important because the only other options for communication were written letters, which made real-time discussion impossible, and telephone calls, which were quite expensive.
We then looked at the effect of the economy on membership. Frequently the bogeyman for many things that ailed CSI, I think it is obvious that only rarely was there a correlation between the economy and CSI membership. In some cases, membership grew dramatically during and after recessions. More significantly, upturns in the economy did not result in a return of lost members.