Tomorrow I head off to the annual ACSESS conference… this time held in Montreal. ACSESS (Association of Canadian Search, Employment and Staffing Services) represents Canada’s staffing companies that provide everything from search to placement, from temporary help to contract labour and from blue collar to the boardroom! The industry exists to serve clients by providing efficient access to talent and a flexible workforce; and to serve job seekers by providing efficient access to contract, temporary and permanent job opportunities. ACSESS works to serve this industry!
From time to time I have written about the importance of industry associations, the great work they do in education, promotion and legislative issues and their efforts to create a healthier, stronger, more ethical industry. One of those entries was called Be Passionate for Your Industry Association … and it talks about all of the good work that industry associations do.
Today I want to talk a little about the volunteers who work for your industry association … the people who give their own time, over and above their day jobs to ensure that your industry continues to evolve, grow and prosper in a fast changing world.
In our industry association (ACSESS) there are volunteers at the national level, who tackle the big issues, who provide guidance and support across all aspects of our industry sector and who help to promote best practices, create a positive view of the industry and who work tirelessly with all levels of government to ensure our industry has a voice when legislative has the capacity to impact us.
There are volunteers at the grass roots level, who work in the various cities, bringing value to the membership through education, networking and local lobbying initiatives.
There are volunteers on specific committees, it might be an education committee, a public relations committee, a government committee, or an event committee.
Volunteers are the lifeblood of any association … and without them we would all be much poorer. I continue to volunteer for the association, currently chairing the PR Committee, and tomorrow I will get together with a bunch more volunteers like myself and the other members of our association and we will enjoy a couple of days of networking, education, sharing and relationship building. Its the kind of stuff that builds communities, that keeps associations growing.
Associations need volunteers, but why should volunteers take up that challenge? It is extra work, and there is little recognition for that work, but here are my views om why this is a worthwhile thing to do:
1. I want my industry to be strong … and I believe that I can make a difference.
2. I know that someone needs to do the work and if I am not going to step up then I am expecting others to do my work for me … that’s not who I am.
3. I have learned a ton of stuff in the years that I have been a volunteer for this and other associations.
4. On a more selfish note, I believe that I am viewed as a leader in the industry because of my involvement with the association at the highest levels.
5. I get to sit with, and build relationships with, the most influential people in our industry … and hopefully, ultimately be counted amongst them.
6. My clients get the benefit of my national level understanding of the issues affecting our industry.
7. I get to influence and shape the industry’s future.
8. I get stretched to understand bigger issues, and to wrestle with answers that can affect a whole industry … that is a challenge I have enjoyed.
9. The people who volunteer are always the positive voices … and I like to hang with positive people.
10 It is the right thing to do.
So … set yourself a GOAL (I blog about those a lot too) … get involved as a volunteer with your industry association.
PS. I expect I will blog/tweet about the conference over the next couple of days. If you are in the staffing industry in Canada you should be there!