Making the Most of Your Membership: Skill Building

We often say that you get out of your membership what you put into it. The “Making the Most of Your Membership” series shares ideas and options for how to gain the greatest benefits from your AIGA membership and involvement with AIGA Raleigh.

One of the great things about taking an active role within AIGA Raleigh, is that you get the opportunity to build new skills as well as sharing the skills you already have. As a chapter we need members who can contribute their time and skills towards reaching our chapter goals—nurturing design ability, proving design impact, and uniting people. These goals are enveloped in our mission to make a better chapter. We can’t obtain these goals without the efforts of our community.

We need people to take the initiative to make the most of their membership by taking an active role in pursuing our chapter goals. When you do, you will find that you gain greater benefits from your membership. You will build stronger relationships with your peers in the design community, create a larger network of professionals to draw inspiration from, collaborate with, and create more opportunities for yourself.

You get the chance to learn new skills or build on skills you already have. And the chapter will benefit from the skills you have to share. We are quick to show appreciation and give recognition for the work you have done and the time you have volunteered.

I have been involved with AIGA Raleigh for a little over three years. I went from being a passive member, to joining the community board, and in May was elected to the Board. In that time, I have collaborated with a talented team of professionals to create the AIGA Raleigh brand. I then had the opportunity to create the Brand Guide, something I hadn’t done before and wanted to do. Having done that helped me get one of my jobs. In my roles within the chapter, I have gained skills in website content management and creation, copywriting, project management, and with my last big project—this website—furthered my CSS skills and website planning strategy. I’m also gaining leadership skills and audience engagement and experience strategy. These are all valuable skills that I am able to apply in my career.

There are many ways to participate in the chapters success. You can find a list of them here. But what we need most right now are Event Producers. In order to bring our community more programming and events, we need people who will step up and take ownership of an idea and dive right in to make it happen. Every member has the power to propose an event idea or program, like our Homegrown Series or WEB101, and recruit people to help produce the event. You don’t have to do it alone, and the board is always willing to help give guidance and share resources to help you. We are a friendly bunch who are eager to answer questions, share knowledge and offer advice. So don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

Did you know that the WEB101 series was an idea brought up at a community meeting that a member decided to take on? Erica Toyer (who moved to Boston this summer) took the initiative to contact the Austin Chapter who had already put on a WEB101 program. She got tons of information from them that helped her to organize the program. She brought in a team of people to get the program of the ground, and it was a great success. We now have a team working hard on planning the next WEB101 series.

We have had many brainstorming sessions at our community meetings where great event ideas have been suggested. In order to bring these events to life we need volunteers to join together and take on the task of producing the event. You don’t have to be a board member to plan an event, and you don’t even need to be a member, you only need to have the drive and willingness to share your time and talents with the community. A community that will greatly benefit from and appreciate your time and effort. Just ask Maura McDonald who started out as an apprentice event planner and is now the driving force behind our hugely successful and popular Homegrown series.

“Matt and I discussed starting a lunch series for programming and revenue. A few weeks later, Laura sent an email out looking for an apprentice for Homegrown. I volunteered because I wanted to get involved with an event and thought being an apprentice to the Director of Programming would be a great start. Before I knew it, I was event producer. I think the idea of starting as an assistant helped me sign up. Being thrust into it as producer, helped me learn all the aspects. I could not have done anything without the leadership team getting Libby for graphics, you for communication and most of all speaker introductions. My best takeaway is I have met some awesome speakers who shared their knowledge. It has also helped me work on my my public speaking and leadership skills. All in all, it has worked because it was a team effort. I am so proud to have helped with this series.”

So if you are ready to get more out of your membership and take an active role in making a better chapter, please contact the board or our community organizer for more information. We’re ready and waiting to help you get started.

By Amy Lyons
Published January 1, 2013