Peggy challenges us all in her post Meme Time! How are you going to change the world in 2012? to post our goals for the coming year. For me it means continuing our project Association Volunteers! where we shine the spotlight on those people who give their time and talent to their professional associations. The project was launched in 2010 with the Association Volunteers! Facebook fan page where fans can share stories, find inspiration, and give thanks to those that have made a difference.
Not familiar with the project? Then check out who we highlighted in 2011. Each shared a unique story and a unique perspective on association volunteerism. Here’s a sampling of what they said…
Dina Wasmer on not seeing volunteerism simply as a way to build your resume (Instead, Dina believes you should use volunteerism as a way to build relationships that will not only benefit you, but also benefit your clients and your community): You have to do a gut check of what kind of time you have to devote to this and do it well. Be sure to pick organizations or associations that you can feel good about or you’re most interested in. Then you’ll be able to put your best foot forward, and ultimately, the people you are trying to help will benefit.
Kathy Berkowitz on the benefits on toughing it out (Kathy spearheaded a major project for her association, which proved to be a difficult sell at times): What has really helped keep my enthusiasm up is when people have the AHA! moment, and they get it. They’ve allowed themselves to put aside their fears for a moment to really look at the model and see the advantages it will bring, then to stand up to their peers and say, we do need to change.
Davida Breier on how her professional life has a direct relationship to her volunteer life (Davida feels lucky to be in a position where there is some crossover between the two): In many respects, what I learn from one volunteer experience often has a direct application to the other or to what I do by day. Likewise, what I do by day helps with what I’m doing in my volunteering.
Jim DeArmey on it’s never too late in your career to start volunteering for your association (Jim’s inner-volunteer may not have kicked in early on, but once it did…): There is something in it for everyone at whatever stage of your career as long as you still have an interest in growth and increasing your knowledge.
Chaz Miller on having a unique perspective on association volunteerism (Chaz is both an association professional and an association volunteer): When you are on both sides of the fence, as an association volunteer and as an association professional, you see the complexity of it even more. When you work for an association you approach things one way; yet when you're a volunteer, you see it from a different perspective. I appreciate the richness of that experience.
For more stories, see who we highlighted in 2010 at 7 Association Volunteers Tell Their Stories.
Finally, now that my college career is over (at least for the time being), I’ve decided I need join an association for my own professional development. After all, as the front desk voice of an AMC, I see firsthand the value that involvement in your association brings to your professional and personal growth. So my goal for 2012 is to find that one place that will inspire me as the experiences of our featured volunteers have inspired them. I’ll let you know how it goes!