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President's Message: Expand Your Social Circle in 2014
2013, Q4 (December 19, 2013)
By Sheila Loring, Chapter President
Sheila Loring
Sheila Loring

Read my Tweets, Facebook messages, or newsletter articles. What's a recurring topic? The benefits of volunteering for the chapter.

Some claims might sound exaggerated, similar to those of a televangelist or cult leader. "Sure. She'll say anything to lure new volunteers."

My claims are based on reality, on what I've personally seen and experienced.

Having more volunteers enriches the chapter — which translates into more value for chapter members.

More importantly, getting to know other technical communicators in the area can enrich your personal life and career. Being active in the chapter is one of the best and easiest ways to meet these technical communicators, even if you devote only a few hours a month to the activity.
Some claims might sound exaggerated, similar to those of a televangelist or cult leader.

Here’s an example. Let’s call the volunteer "Paula." Paula helps out with chapter activities for less than two hours a month. Members come to know her as a responsible, enthusiastic, detail-oriented writer and editor. When news of a job opening spreads through the grapevine, other members forward the information to Paula. Soon, she holds that position.

Though some volunteers enjoy and have time for face-to-face contact, they often volunteer from home. Our membership manager, Lori Meyer, lives in California. Lori contacts new members by email and looks for opportunities to recruit members. The role works well for her and for the chapter, because much of the work is online. She also attends administrative council meetings online through GoToMeeting.

Volunteer opportunities abound.

Programs manager

The programs manager schedules presentations for monthly meetings and periodic workshops. You'll work from a list of potential topics or come up with topics and work with the administrative council to find the presenters.

Buddy program manager

The buddy program is a new initiative that matches mentors with mentees to provide guidance and advice. Both parties register their interests on the chapter web site. The buddy program manager helps unite the partners, who then agree on the parameters of the relationship. You'll also contact members to recruit new mentors and mentees. Please help turn this idea into reality.

Strategic plan developer

The chapter’s strategic plan identifies goals and strategies that help the administrative council make decisions regarding chapter activities and operations. The plan is solid but hasn't been updated in several years. Two or more volunteers will work on this project.

Publicity manager

The chapter publicizes activities through social networking web sites and the chapter announcement mailing list. The publicity manager will find more opportunities to attract a wider audience of writers.

Sponsorship manager

Generous organizations support chapter activities in a number of ways. TPS pays for food and beverages served at chapter meetings. Progress DataDirect Software contributes meeting space. The sponsorship coordinator will work with sponsors to support specific activities and recruit new sponsors.

Ready to widen your network in 2014? Email me for information about how to get started.

Sheila can be reached at president at stc-carolina dot org. End of article.

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