Volunteer opportunities with Association Media & Publishing bring together an exclusive group of leaders, from all levels of the association media and publishing community.
Our association relies on members like YOU to provide volunteer leadership and support for its many programs, events, products, and publications. When you volunteer, you benefit as much as AM&P does. Your participation has tangible results. Not only will you help shape the future of the association media profession, but you will also gain personal and professional rewards that will directly benefit your organization and stimulate your career. Your involvement will make a difference.
For a little more on what that really means, we talked to long-time AM&P volunteer and now-President Christina Folz, senior writer for the American Association of University Women.
Sidebar: What drew you to volunteer with AM&P?
Folz: My first volunteer experience with AM&P was around 2007, when I applied to be a judge for the EXCEL awards. I was working as an editor at the Optical Society at the time. My colleagues had been AM&P members for a few years before I started, so they encouraged me to get involved. I’m a person who can get overwhelmed easily, so I loved that I could start with a one-day gig to get a taste of the community before committing more time. I remember onsite judging as such a fun and inspiring day. I met people from associations representing industries I never knew existed, and I came back to the office with a bunch of new ideas and a stack of business cards.
Sidebar: What’s one of the most important things you’ve taken away from your volunteer experience?
Folz: It sounds kind of cliché, but I came away with the knowledge that I’m not alone. When you talk to other people in similar roles at other organizations, you come to realize that the challenges you face are pretty universal. Whether you’re coping with shrinking ad sales revenue, siloed departments, or the politics of governance, it won’t be long before you come across someone else who has been there and done that.
Our community at AM&P is special because we’ve always had a culture of collaboration rather than competition. AM&P members seem to know intuitively that we can accomplish more by lifting each other up and sharing what works instead of trying to out-do each other or hoard our secrets. And because we’re so collaborative, we’ve been able to harness that energy to improve our shared organization and truly make it our own.
Sidebar: How has volunteering with AM&P affected you personally or professionally?
Folz: It’s been a huge confidence-booster and source of friendship and camaraderie. On a practical level, it exposed me to vendors and freelancers who have helped me do my job better. For me it’s always been a community where, if you’re willing to help out, you can. It doesn’t matter if you’re an editorial assistant or a CEO — everyone’s input is valued and welcome.
I’ve never been much of a “joiner” in the past, so it’s meant a lot to me to be part of something bigger than myself — and it’s taught me a lot about how to work effectively with other people. I’ve met people at all levels and in all sizes of associations, including several who encouraged me to take on leadership roles I never would have otherwise (including this one!). My hope is that I can offer that same encouragement to someone else. That’s what giving back means to me.
Sidebar: How have your co-workers, teams, or your organization benefited from your time with AM&P?
Folz: It’s been a huge professional development resource. I’ve been a member representing three different non-profits, and in every case I’ve brought the tips I learned through judging or volunteering back to my home organization with me. Or I prompted people to attend a Lunch & Learn or the annual conference, or to check out an article in Signature or Sidebar. In a few instances, I’ve convinced colleagues to speak or organize an event, which I believe helped them boost their own skills, network, and confidence. And, as I mentioned, I found several invaluable vendors through AM&P that have benefited my entire organization.
Sidebar: What about volunteering with AM&P surprised you?
Folz: That’s it’s generally drama-free and fun. I mean, sure, once you get to the board level, there are inevitable politics to deal with, but at the committee level everything is pretty straightforward. No one cares what your title is or who reports to whom. We’re all just looking for good ideas, content and solutions to problems. It is really that simple. That was refreshing to me because work itself usually isn’t like that in my experience. We all have our siloes and fiefdoms in nonprofits that can influence the group dynamic.
Sidebar: What do you think is a common misconception people have about volunteering and how does AM&P prove it wrong?
Folz: That it’s super time-consuming. While AM&P will certainly take whatever time people are willing to give, we appreciate that people’s day jobs come first, so it’s not a big deal if you can’t make every call or attend every meeting. We just ask that you follow through on the tasks you agree to take on and communicate honestly about the limitations on your time. This year we’re working to build in more micro-volunteering options — like introducing a Lunch & Learn, contributing one blog post or devoting a few hours to EXCEL judging — that will give people bite-sized opportunities to contribute.
Sidebar: Why is now such a great time to volunteer with AM&P?
Folz: We’re in a good place as an organization. Following a few years characterized by a lot of change, we’ve built a strong foundation with SIIA and Connectiv and are on stable footing financially. That means we finally have the luxury of focusing on how to make the volunteer experience the best that it can be and how to make AM&P the best it can be, too. We’ve rolled out two new committees — one on membership and one focused on innovation and non-dues-revenue (how cool is that?) — so there are more options than ever on ways to get involved and make your mark. Please join us!
Call for Volunteers: Come Grow With Us
Whether you're new to the industry or have been active for years, we invite you to become an AM&P volunteer! As a volunteer you will forge connections with colleagues, peers, and industry professionals; enhance your leadership skills; and share your expertise and leverage the expertise of others. Sign up here.