Professional association for judges and public prosecutors
The NVvR (the Dutch acronym for the association) is the professional association for public prosecutors and judges in the Netherlands and represents their interests in the public and political debate. The association does this by, among other things, monitoring the quality and accessibility of the justice system. The Netherlands has about 2400 judges and 800 public prosecutors. Approximately 70 percent of them are members of the trade union and professional association NVvR. Judges and public prosecutors have a very responsible role in the Netherlands. Every year they handle around 1.7 million legal cases and they help ensure Dutch society is a safe society.
The professional association NVvR focuses primarily on retaining its membership and demonstrating its value through its members. Therefore, the association has recently undertaken a reorientation, in order to remain relevant to its members. Director Geert van Rhee: "A few years ago, the prevailing opinion was that associations were dying out. The obituaries of association life in the Netherlands had already been written, so to speak. I have never believed that. Yes, if an association does not move with the changing needs of its members, it becomes less relevant and runs the risk of becoming redundant. We at the NVvR are very much aware of that." The professional association realised that members' questions and themes have changed in recent years and is responding accordingly.
Whereas it used to be taken for granted that you would be a member and contribute to a professional association, the expectation and need of members is changing. "We see that people are less and less inclined to do structural work for the association. But if you work in a more campaign-oriented way, you can still get a lot of people to join. If you ask the right questions, you see that people who are often extremely busy are willing to make time, because it concerns subjects that affect them, that concern them. That is how we want to organise our professional association, more around themes, there are many possibilities", says Van Rhee.
"An association becomes more 'powered by' members, rather than a standard 'life time membership'." The reorientation contributes to that strategy of continuing to offer value to members. "Many of the topics we were dealing with are now sufficiently well known to our target group. That means we have to look at new topics and themes. That is what we are looking at now. What are interesting new topics, what can we build up in terms of knowledge and how can we link our members to these."