What to expect from your affiliate?
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  1. #1

    Default What to expect from your affiliate?

    This is sort of spun out of the Craftsman discussion going on. What exactly should you expect from your afiliate? What can you expect to learn, or what should you try to get out of the experience of being a member? How has being a member of your affiliate benefitted you (personally, artistically, business-wise).

    Also, what should your affiliate expect of its membership? How can you contribute to the advancement of the organization and consequenly yourself? What does an affiliate need to prosper and benefit its membership?

    This is coming from someone who hasn't yet joined or gotten involved, but it looking for the relevant opportunity and very interested in the role that each (the member and the organization) plays for the other.

    thanks!

    - trr

  2. #2
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    Petaluma, CA
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    This newer generation seems to be moving farther away from personal interaction. With the proliferation of online shopping, text messaging and Cell phones, there just seems to be that personal connection. And when they do get together, it seems to be more on a social level where personal intimacy is not involved. It cracks me up when our daughter spends 3 hours on her cell phone, then goes out to a club with that same person right afterwards. What's up with that?

    Your local association gives you that personal interaction on a monthly basis. That, combined with Imaging USA, the regional conventions and WPPI is part of the complete package of the learning experience. It also gets you away from your studio for a while, which people really need to do on a more consistant basis. "All work and no play makes Jack (no not that one) a dull boy".

    For me, I attend our monthly meetings as a time to get together with friends, and watch our members blossom as practicing photographers. I can't tell you how proud I am of the way their print qualities have improved over the last 5 years. Some of the "newbies" are now making more money than some of us old guys. Deb Wat is one of them and you should see how many contracts she has secured for a studio only less than 2 years old!

    Key thing is to get involved right away, it will pay you back 10 fold.
    Michael Gan,M.Photog.Cr. CPP,
    Meritage House of Photography

    If your business depends on you, you don't own a business-you have a job. And it's the worst job in the world because you're working for a lunatic... You can't close it when you want to, because if it's closed you don't get paid. You can't leave it when you want to, because if you leave there's nobody there to do the work. You can't sell it when you want to, because who wants to buy a job?
    —Michael Gerber
    http://www.meritageonmain.blogspot.com

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Gan View Post
    Key thing is to get involved right away, it will pay you back 10 fold.
    Well said.

    Personal interaction has always been a huge, but under appreciated benefit of locals.

  4. #4
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    Well, I am a relative noob to the business, but I find our state affiliate to be very valuable indeed. Let's start with the educational opportunities. We have mini-Mondays (hey, I even taught one!), the Photo Festival, speakers at our monthly meetings, a quality convention with great speakers and a print competition that has attracted such participation that they had to lower the number of entries allowed per person from 6 to 5. Oh, and as our illustrious President reminded me, we have two day long seminars (summer and winter), one of which was held a week ago, featuring David Jay.

    Next comes camaraderie, the of which is something that really ought not be underestimated. I have met so many great people, some of whom have helped me with technique, philosophy and/or equipment. And some whom I've been able to help in one way or another (usually technical). But there is a great deal of personal interaction and it is overwhelmingly positive. Where else are you going to meet people willing to lend you expertise and equipment? (Thanks a million Jeff and Carolle, for everything.)

    And speaking of "giving back and getting a ten-fold return", how about this? We have an auction at NHPPA's convention, and various people donate items or services or expertise. Well, last year I won the auction for an afternoon of Don Chick's lighting instruction in my studio (meaning he will show me how to get results with the equipment and space that I have- how valuable is that?) This will be a one on one session with a master for an entire afternoon. And the price of this training? The princely sum of $100 (and a meal to follow). It's like stealing.

    There's a lot of value in our state affiliate. Now I am to understand we have a good one. I really have no frame of reference except MA, which my buddy belongs to and he doesn't have a lot to say about it. But the bottom line is your affiliate is about people, and what they put into it. It saddens me when people learn what they need and then drop out when they become personally successful because they don't need the help anymore. But there are selfish people in every line of business. Personally speaking, I find it rewarding when people come to the meeting with their laptop and a problem with Lightroom that I can help them solve. Or when I get an email with a question that I can answer. Doesn't it make everyone feel good to help someone else?
    Last edited by Mark_Levesque; 02-11-2008 at 12:36 AM.
    Mark Levesque, CPP, M. Photog., Cr. Photog, A.C. Ph., CPP Liaison, PPCC Judge

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Gan View Post

    Key thing is to get involved right away, it will pay you back 10 fold.
    Agreed, and along with all the networking. If I need help, I can get it, or another will join me at an event, if I need a second photographer.

    George
    George Hawkins
    Cr. Photog.

  6. #6
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    Default Call to Action

    Unfortunately, there is an ongoing need and continuing change among the newer generation and our affiliates. I belong to 2 organizations in our state- Northern Illinois at www.ppani.org and Illinois at www.appillinois.com . Being a member of both, I can see a vast difference beween organizations.

    To answer the question of how does your affiliate benefit you (specifically) is dependent upon the organization you are a member of.

    As the second part of the question you posted, Todd, here is one huge way that we can help our organization. I have posted this letter with permission- this letter appeared in our current Exposure magazine, which you can find at www.appillinois.com/html/Exposure.php . This was addressed directly to the members of the state of Illinois organization.

    A Call to Arms

    When I first started to write this, I intended to avoid the dreaded V word, but then I thought, "By gum, the FCC doesn't think it's a dirty word, so why should anyone else?" Yes, I'm talking about Volunteering. C'mon, say it out loud. Really. Open your mouth, force air past your vocal cords, articulate with lips and tongue. "Volunteer." Not so bad, is it? For some people, especially those with military backgrounds, "Volunteer" has bad connotations. It keeps people from speaking up, because they don't want "to get stuck doing something." But what does volunteering really mean? It means that you are a generous person. You are willing to share your time and knowledge to help others and to keep the organization going. You're good hearted. Why would anyone see this as a Very Bad Thing?

    From conversations I've heard at conventions there seems to be a mentality pervading our organization that the Board does everything and the membership sits back and reaps the benefits. It appears to me that even some on our board may believe this way. I know that not everyone follows this line of thought, because there are some people you see always pitching in to help out, and many of them have been doing so for years. Unfortunately, it has taken its toll on some of them who have been doing so much for so long that they don't even want to be around anymore. I challenge the viewpoint that a select few should "do" and the rest of us reap the benefits. By definition, a Director is supposed to direct.

    Let me spin a different scenario for you. I used to devote a lot of my time to folk dancing. Dancers have getaway weekends just like photographers have conventions. Travel to distant communities, eat, learn new dances, drink, song circles, dancing, camaraderie, more dancing, late night parties, maybe get some sleep - unless you’re dancing. One difference is that folkies generally aren't very formal or businesslike. Food was always potluck, events were at a camp, lodging was frequently bring-your-own tent or floor space at a local's house. We didn't have restaurant and hotel staff to feed and clean up after us. This meant there was a lot of work for attendees to do - registration table, dividing food, setting up for meals, serving food, cleaning up after meals, sweeping floors between dance sets, taking out trash, running sound, playing in pick-up bands, and on, and on. The way we handled it was that everybody that attended the weekend - every single person - helped out for a short time. At the registration desk were signup sheets. As you registered, paid, and got your packet you also signed up for one volunteer task, such as keeping the water coolers full from 9-10pm. Spread much work out among a couple hundred people and no one misses any of the fun and a great weekend is had by all. The smartest ones figured out how to work it right - like a group of friends arranging to all work Friday night dinner setup, and having a party in the kitchen while they got food ready.

    We in the APPI belong to a Volunteer Organization. That means the people that work for this organization are doing it for free. Yes, we probably could hire staff to do everything during convention, but that would mean higher convention fees, and who wants that? Being in a volunteer organization also means that each of us who belong to the APPI has an obligation to volunteer some part of him or her self - knowledge if you're confident you have it, or time if you don't believe you are very wise yet. Everybody is capable of helping in some small way. Really, how hard do you think it is to spend 15 minutes passing out door prize tickets as people come into a program?

    Transfer your vision now to a post-apocalyptic, humans scrounging amid the rubble, darkness reigning, sci-fi version of the APPI approximately 3 years from now. Volunteers have been scarce. The board members doing all the work, running themselves ragged, burning out, and dropping like flies. No member is willing to stand forth and take up the helm because being on the board is Too Much Work. Convention quality deteriorates due to missing personnel. Fewer people are willing to make the trek to the semi-annual gatherings, causing funds to evaporate and hiring speakers becomes outside of the budget. As time marches inevitably onward, convention attendance dwindles further. Previously stalwart vendors abandon the die-hard stragglers and leave the trade show floor deserted. Gasp! No vendors means no free beer in the trade show! Horrors! Time warp two years further into this bleak, alcohol-free future and find that convention has been reduced to four people gathered around a card table hidden in a dank, musty basement lit by a single bare light bulb hanging from the ceiling, spending their weekend plotting how to send one of their number back into the past to save the organization. But once there, how to motivate the members of the past? A taser, maybe, for those who won't help? (Insert ominous, minor-key chord here (End of flash-foward).)

    I would like for each of you reading this to take my words here as a call to arms. We need - right now - to battle that dreary future described above, before we start on the downward spiral that can expand beyond the point of no return. Because I’m a number crunching kind of guy, I've done some rough thinking and estimate that we need at least 195 people to run convention. For example, for the upcoming Spring Convention we have 10 speakers, so far. For each program, we need 5 people - props needs 3, one to help set up before the program, one to watch ID badges as people come in and one to run lights and be a gopher for the speaker, tradeshow needs 1 to pass out door prize tickets, PR needs 1 to get a few candids and photograph the speakers receiving their merits at the end of the program. That's 50 people just for programs alone. The membership desk is open 24 or more hours and needs 1-2 people for each hour open. That's another 36 people. Yes, these 86 people will only be working an hour, tops (and some of them only a few minutes), so none of them will miss much, if any, of the convention. To see what the other 109+ people are needed for, go to the website and look on the Volunteer page.

    I, and probably the board as well, would be thrilled to no end if we were to see 100% participation among our convention attendees. Yes, I know that some of you have given of yourselves for so long that at this point you are little more than an empty husk inside that the rest of us need to refill. But I am presumptuous enough to ask for you to reach out just one more time. Spend an hour advising the newcomers who don't know what they're doing yet so that we are more able to carry the mantle. Give us guidance. If it really is beyond your abilities to lend much effort, maybe you can corner me and I'll buy you a drink while you tell me tales from the glory days of APPI. I'd really like to expand our website with a vision of what potential this organization has, and set that as a goal for our members.

    So the trumpet is blown and the call to arms sounded. If every single person is willing to do a tiny bit, there's no telling what glory our future - both the organization’s and we as individuals - might hold. Maybe five years from now the new member packets will even contain a halo and harp.


    Wayne Winders has been a member of APPI since 2003, worked on Print Committee, has lent a hand to Props on occasion, and is now part of Trade Show crew. He is currently the APPI Webmaster. If you'd like to spend some time in his bizarre fantasy world, you can contact him at photog@windportraits.com.
    Last edited by Jackie_Haggerty; 02-10-2008 at 10:40 PM.
    Jackie Haggerty
    M.Photog.Cr., CPP


    www.jackiehaggerty.com


    I have come to accept the feeling of not knowing where I am going. And I have trained myself to love it. Because it is only when we are suspended in mid-air with no landing in sight, that we force our wings to unravel and alas begin our flight. And as we fly, we still may not know where we are going to. But the miracle is in the unfolding of the wings. You may not know where you're going, but you know that so long as you spread your wings, the winds will carry you.

    ― C. JoyBell C.

  7. #7
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    Normal, Illinois
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    To answer the question of how does your affiliate benefit you (specifically) is dependent upon the organization you are a member of.
    Jackie, I've asked you this question privately, but perhaps you could mention some good things one organization you're familiar with does well that the other does not (without naming names, although I'm sure the guilty will recognize itself).
    --Elephants can swim...
    ...and very gracefully.
    Knowing that,
    I do believe
    Anything is possible for me.

    Kirk Darling, CPP

  8. #8

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    Yes, I'd love to hear as well, since I'm considering membership in both.

    - trr

  9. #9
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    Kirk,

    Basically, Illinois breaks down into 3 (er, well, 4-kinda) organizations.

    1. APPI (state as a whole)
    2. Northern IL
    3. Southern IL

    1. APPI has a gathering or two each year- in the past a golf outing- I believe being replaced by or having in addition to a picnic this year, fall state convention and now our MARC regional (the 4-kinda I mentioned above, which is our regional with Indiana). All in all, then, 3 formal gatherings a year. $100 to join the organization, then approx. $125 or so to attend the regional convention and another approx. $75 or so to attend the fall convention, plus the fees to enter a print case, and another fee to attend the banquet. I don't know about the outing- I am not a golfer so I was never interested in attending it in the past. To enter your regional, though,you need to be a member of Illinois (APPI) and send your case to the regional competition coming up in March. I have been a member going into my 3rd year now. This year I think there are around 10 speakers and 3 local member speakers for the 4-5 days. www.appillinois.com

    2. Northern Illinois - $135 your first year, $100 each year after and $40 per monthly meeting you attend. There is usually a car pool option from Bloomington (Kirk!). If it is a Continuing Education meeting then it is $80 for the meeting. Each meeting brings a speaker in - usually a well known national speaker ( this year Dave Junion, Mike Fulton and Sarah Petty to name a few) for a FULL DAY program, and the meeting includes lunch. 4 print competitions a year to work out images for other competitions and/or work on your fellowship degree with Northern. I love Northern- even though it is a treck to get to some of the meetings (in the Chicago area) I have gotten to know a lot of photographers there since it meets regularly and many of them are in the same younger generation I like to think I am in also. www.ppani.org

    3. Southern Illinois I don't know much about, except that they don't meet very often and they have a print competition occasionally. I do know their meetings are not monthly.
    Last edited by Jackie_Haggerty; 02-11-2008 at 12:16 AM.
    Jackie Haggerty
    M.Photog.Cr., CPP


    www.jackiehaggerty.com


    I have come to accept the feeling of not knowing where I am going. And I have trained myself to love it. Because it is only when we are suspended in mid-air with no landing in sight, that we force our wings to unravel and alas begin our flight. And as we fly, we still may not know where we are going to. But the miracle is in the unfolding of the wings. You may not know where you're going, but you know that so long as you spread your wings, the winds will carry you.

    ― C. JoyBell C.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Reichman View Post
    What exactly should you expect from your afiliate? What can you expect to learn, or what should you try to get out of the experience of being a member? How has being a member of your affiliate benefitted you (personally, artistically, business-wise).

    How can you contribute to the advancement of the organization and consequenly yourself? What does an affiliate need to prosper and benefit its membership?


    - trr
    As a new member coming into an organization, I believe you have the right to expect an organization that welcomes new members with open arms, willing to share and help you in your personal growth as a photographer, and a wealth of information. You should be provided with all of the information of how your organization works and runs. You should be made aware of all activities that benefit both you and, by your involvement, the organization. You should be 'taken under the wing' for a couple of meetings or days by one of the more experienced members to be shown the ropes, introduced, included and have your questions answered.

    IMO, and those of you that have had the opportunity to meet and spend time with other ourppa members will know what I am talking about, there is a sense of comraderie that should exist between members, and by merely being around your associates, you should expect growth in your potential, and the knowledge that you contribute and receive will be retuned tenfold for all involved.

    Last but not least, an organization needs to continually make itself aware of what is happening within it's membership, within the photographic community, and be willing to adjust to the changing times. Just as we find continuing ways to market our businesses to maintain and grow in our profession, an organization must do the same to maintain and grow membership, be aware of the needs of the members and adjust to the changes to best fit the membership. It's part of how it works, and without it, its a losing battle.
    Jackie Haggerty
    M.Photog.Cr., CPP


    www.jackiehaggerty.com


    I have come to accept the feeling of not knowing where I am going. And I have trained myself to love it. Because it is only when we are suspended in mid-air with no landing in sight, that we force our wings to unravel and alas begin our flight. And as we fly, we still may not know where we are going to. But the miracle is in the unfolding of the wings. You may not know where you're going, but you know that so long as you spread your wings, the winds will carry you.

    ― C. JoyBell C.

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