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Getting Involved – What will it take?

2010/10/27

 

I’ve been a Boy Scout volunteer for over 10 years. When we get new scouts, the parents and sometimes whole families come to the weekly meetings too. They often sit along the edges of activities taking it all in, but not fully engaging. They want to be a part of it, but they just don’t have the courage to jump in. I’ve found that all it takes is asking for help with this task or that and before you know it, you have another volunteer resource who is happily engaged.

From where I sit at the RSPA ‘Mother Ship’ (as Joe likes to call it), it seems our membership is like that too. Many companies join RSPA for the education, shipping discounts, legal assistance and discounts for our events. But how many of those member companies are truly engaged? Do their employees even know about RSPA? As a staff, we often brainstorm about ways that we can extend the reach of the RSPA offerings to engage more association members and their staff.

RSPA has a variety of committees comprised of many volunteer members: PCI, Marketing, Education & Certification, Membership, Women2Women, Scholarship, and Emerging Technology to name a few. Like many organizations, we have a handful of dedicated volunteers who wear multiple hats and participate on more than one committee. We’re grateful for our current volunteers, but wouldn’t it be great if we could spread the wealth and get more members involved?

I’m reminded of an instance that happened a little over a year ago. As RSPA Education Manager I chart webinar attendance not only to see which topics are ‘hot,’ but who is attending. As you might expect, I have several “regulars” who take advantage of each education session. One day I just got bold and called one of my “regulars” up. I’d never talked to this person and had no idea about his role in his company. We talked about what he liked about the webinar educational lineup and I learned more about what he’d like to see RSPA provide. He gave me some great ideas on topics that could help his business. Then I dropped the big question on him, “You have a lot of great ideas about education and how it can help your business, would you consider joining our education committee?”. He replied that he’d been thinking about becoming more involved because RSPA had really helped him grow his business. He was ready to give back a little. And that’s how it began. Now that member is co-chairing the Education and Certification committee and is a member of our Board of Directors.

So, what does it take? When will you be ready to get engaged in your association? I hope it’s soon!

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