View Full Version : So, You Want to be a PPA Volunteer?

11-19-2009, 02:51 PM
This thread is a carry over from the Print competition thread. I get many inquiries on how "I can eventually become a PPA board of Director some day", so I thought I can give all of you some of my personal insights that will also help all of you from the local level on up.

Posted from Todd Reichman: How are other interested volunteers supposed to get involved and help? This is one aspect of PPA that isn't very transparent? Then again, maybe they don't need the help/input/extra hands/extra opinions on this issue. I am sure that PPA is trying, but for a not-for-profit alot of stuff seems to take place behind the curtain. Where is the resistance coming from?

Originally Posted by Michael_Gan http://www.ppa.com/community/forums/images/buttons/viewpost.gif (http://www.ppa.com/community/forums/showthread.php?p=217336#post217336)

Actually, all those involved with PPA as volunteers are becoming increasingly transparent. Me standing here is kind of testament to that. Many have started their journey into PPA from the ground level at the local affiliates. From there, many have weaved their way up to the PPA council level. Supposedly, the function of the council is this: To elect the board of directors, who will be the visionaries of this association, to make necessary changes to the by-laws, and most importantly, to be the cheerleaders and informational "conduit" to the PPA membership. I must say, this crop of councilors are the most active I've seen in years.

Take you, Todd, as an example. Don't think you're under the radar my friend ;)

Todd: I'm glad to hear that you believe this to be the case, Michael. I've always felt that PPA was admirable in that it is run as a non-profit org and functions effectively as such. But as a member that tries to stay involved it feels like there isn't as much info flowing back as to what might be on the table for discussion as I would expect.

Truthfully, I don't feel like I'm on any radar. I consider it a goal to someday be on the board, but I don't really expect that to happen.

Todd, I'm a very good example of how you're feeling. Really, and truthfully, I was very surprised I was asked. Actually, many others in PPA were as well as I seemed to have come out of no where to get on the board.

Learn to be a volunteer and a leader in unconventional ways. For me, I think it was my leadership skills that were unlike most volunteer groups idea of what a leader should be.

I always would stress to my groups that being the chair, or president is the easiest position in the world (but then again, I haven't reached the PPA presidency, so it could be a different animal :D). The president/Chair should be a reward for all the hard work you've done preceding your appointment! Wat this does is gives the rest of the volunteers an opportunity to shine in their efforts. Think in terms of your business: If you are doing your employees' work for them, what's the reason for them working for you? Same thing in a volunteer group. You guide them with a vision and you let them have at it.

My first recommendation to you (colloquially) is to get into the volunteer pool somewhere, anywhere. Leading volunteers can be a rewarding and extremely frustrating experience. It's very hard to make new volunteers understand their commitments, and old volunteers to change their ways. But the success of a project is very rewarding. You just need to get involved somewhere. Actually, the best leadership training I got was not in any of the PPA circles. It happened when I ascended to the presidency of my local Rotary Club! They have the finest leadership training program in the world.

The purpose of this affiliate section is to get all of you out of the "camera club" mentality. So let's open this up to agree/disagree and see if we can further the learning process for all volunteers of all levels.

11-19-2009, 08:45 PM
Actually, Michael - I just contact PPA Nat'l about this last week. There's no affiliates in Europe (outside GB I think). Someone needs to change that... now if there were only someone with a LOT of free time who's already heavily vested in PPA... Can you give me a call tomorrow?

11-19-2009, 11:21 PM
Go girl Steff; you're the one. You CAN make a difference! Italy, right?
And Michael also, great. Keep at it.
I never had aspirations to go to any presidency. By default, people asked and I did not say no. First was take photographs to record an NHPPA convention - new member, in 1978! Be Certification liaison, since you just were Certified; I did not say no, and that was 1980. Soon, with two year terms I became talent chair and then President in 1987. So then I was on the regional's board, PPANE, voting for 16 years including president in 2001. I think the most rewarding positions are VPs and talent convention chairs. I never considered myself an outgoing leader, but I get thanked for my activities of those positions, even to this day, at both state and regional. One of the speakers I booked for regional convention of 2000, said to me you know George, once I am booked I always get booked to return. What do ya know, that gentleman has been booked numerous times to return around New England. When I attend Imaging, speakers I had booked see me and move to greet me. I have no regrets about any of my bookings, except I regret that several are no longer with us.
Both of you, keep going! You may not be appreciated now, but you will! Go for it, George

04-12-2011, 11:31 PM
Good governance is the key to success of any affiliate association. Think of your association as your business.. Do you conduct business in the "old fashioned" way, or do your change with the times and market yourself, customer experience, and handle your finances differently?

This is what all associations need to do: They need to reexamine their governance structure and make the necessary changes in order to attract and retain their customers, or, "members". PPA learned its lesson back in the mid 1990's when business as usual nearly lead itself into bankruptcy. From that lesson, PPA learned to constantly evolve and create new avenues of service and experience for the members.

If your association is struggling right now, sit down with your board of directors and take a real hard look at yourselves. You'll find that the problems are not with the members themselves, but with the leadership and the way things are governed. Learn to be the steward of your association during your time on the board.