Special Interest Groups (SIGs) play a crucial role in fostering collaboration, innovation, and capability building among iSMA members. SIGs offer many benefits to iSMA members, including the sharing of ideas around a particular topic, creating productive international networks, and developing research, professional practices and iSMA policy statements that deepen and broaden effective, responsible, and ethical social marketing. This guideline aims to provide a structured framework for establishing and managing SIGs.


Formation and Duration:      

The iSMA will formally call for SIG proposals on an annual basis. Any member or group of members within the iSMA can propose the formation of a SIG. There is no limit to the number of iSMA SIGs. Each SIG will operate for a period of three years, after which it will undergo a self-review to evaluate its effectiveness, membership, and relevance.

Proposal Submission:           

A formal proposal of two pages in length outlining the objectives, scope, expected outcomes (i.e., deliverables, impact), governance (e.g., leadership, meeting frequency, minutes, communication), and potential members of the SIG should be submitted to the iSMA Board secretary. Following the inaugural round, all new SIGs should outline the unique features that differentiate them from any similar, existing iSMA SIGs.

Approval Process:                  

Any proposal to set up a SIG will undergo review by a newly designated iSMA Orbit Group (Group 10), which will provide recommendations for the iSMA Board’s approval. Evaluation criteria will include factors such as relevance to the iSMA’ aims, potential impact, topic, and scope.


Typically, an iSMA SIG should be composed of a minimum of five (5)  members with backgrounds relevant to the SIG’s focus area. Members of SIGs should be members of regional or country associations affiliated with iSMA or direct iSMA members.  

Reporting Requirements


SIGs are required to provide a brief written report each year (2 pages maximum) on their activities, accomplishments, impact, challenges, and future plans to iSMA Orbit Group 10 at the end of each calendar year.

All SIGs should also keep the iSMA Chair of Communications, Standards, and Professional Development up to date with their work and provide regular updates via Orbit Group 10 to the iSMA Board.

It is also expected that each SIG will contribute at least once to iSMA webinar offerings over each three-year period of its existence.

Governance and Oversight

Designated Liaison:                

Each SIG should designate a liaison person who serves as the primary point of contact between the SIG and Orbit Group 10.


The SIG may request adjustments to the approved SIG proposal (e.g., objectives, scope, governance) by submitting an adjustment request to Orbit Group 10.

Public Communications:      

All SIGSs will be encouraged to promote their work and any professional or policy statements that they develop. The promotion of SIG outputs will need to be approved by Orbit Group 10, who may also seek iSMA Board guidance in situations when controversial or sensitive topics settings or policy outputs are ready to be promoted.

All public communications by the SIG must be approved by Orbit Group 10 before being released. This includes social media posts, blogs, news articles, webinars, and media interviews.


The SIG leadership may request dissolution at any point in time, or dissolution may be determined by the designated Orbit Group 10 with endorsement by the iSMA Board based on factors such as not adhering to iSMA standards. Dissolved SIG materials will be archived by the iSMA, and if the SIG wishes to reactivate, this will be via the above establishment process.


Conflict of Interest and Conduct


Members of SIGs should disclose any potential, actual or perceived conflicts of interest that may arise from their involvement in SIG activities to Orbit Group 10


SIGs must adhere to the iSMA Social Marketing Standards, iSMA ethics statements and iSMA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement.

By adhering to these guidelines, SIGs can contribute significantly to achieving the collective objectives of the iSMA and its affiliated associations and networks.

Volunteering opportunities:

Planning for a Global Social Marketing Awareness week : Contact Yue XI yue.xi@griffith.edu.au

Global Awards programme’. Contact Yue XI yue.xi@griffith.edu.au

Social Marketing Course reviewers: Franco Manuel Sancho Esper  franco.sancho@gcloud.ua.es

Special Interest Groups: Jeff French:  Jeff.French@strategic-social-marketing.org and Maria Raciti MRaciti@usc.edu.au

The guidelines can be downloaded: here

Photo by Andrew Moca on Unsplash


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