Volunteering for Committees: Frequently Asked Questions
Due to the large number of volunteers — at any time, we may have up to 150 people serving on committees! — AAA cannot provide complementary registration or travel reimbursement to everyone. Some committee members, such as those serving on the Committee for Early-Career Anatomists, are provided with certain monetary benefits due to the nature of their required duties.
For the same reason we cannot offer free registration or travel support to our Annual Meeting, we cannot provide free membership packages for volunteers. We do, however, offer unmatched networking opportunities, the chance to work side-by-side with thought leaders worldwide, and the unique opportunity to help guide and shape your professional association!
The time commitment varies by committee. Meeting times and the intensity of various commitments are detailed on each committee’s landing page. Most committees meet face-to-face at the Annual Meeting and hold regular conference calls to discuss committee business.
Every year, we receive many more volunteer applications than available spots on committees, which is a wonderful problem to have, but one that means we sometimes have disappointed candidates. We strive for diversity, and committee chairs review applications to their committee through a lens that also considers other factors related to background, expertise, and other criteria. We always hope that candidates will re-apply if they weren’t successful the first time.
Yes! You may apply again to be on any committee with an open slot.
Committee scopes and rosters are available online. We always encourage prospective candidates to reach out to current members of the committee in which they’re interested to ask them about their experiences and duties, to ensure that the committee will be a good fit for their interests and availability.
Commitment: Serving as an Association leader is an honor and a reward, but it requires a demonstrated commitment to the organization and its mission and goals.
Time to serve: Perhaps the most important component of successful volunteerism is time to serve. Participating fully in Association activities requires extra time to prepare for and attend conference calls and travel to in-person meetings.
Good health: The often hectic or strenuous pace of volunteer leadership should not be taken lightly. It requires a healthy mental and physical condition.
Ability to think strategically: Whether at the Board level or on task force, volunteer leaders must be able to leave personal agendas and politics at the door in order to work on behalf of the Association. Visionary leaders must see past daily operations and focus on larger needs.
Exemplary personal conduct: Leaders’ behaviors and attitudes can greatly influence others in the Association. You are the “face” of the Association and should be sensitive to issues of confidentiality and interpersonal matters.
Communication and teaching skills: By virtue of the position, volunteer leaders serve as mentors and teachers to future leaders and current members. Enthusiasm and passion for the mission and goals of the Association are visible characteristics that other members can emulate.
Adapted from: John B. Cox, Professional Practices in Association Management: The Essential Resource for Effective Management of Nonprofit Organizations (ASAE & The Center for Association Leadership; 2nd Edition 2007), page 7.