Amy Colver, LCSW
Melody Griffith, MSW, LMSW, OSW-C
AOSW Communications Director
Jeanice Hansen, LCSW, OSW-C
To submit a story or information for inclusion in a future issue of AOSW Newsletter, contact Amy Colver or Melody Griffith on the list above.
On January 20, 1961, the 35th U.S. President, John F. Kennedy, gave his inaugural address. He ended with a quote that is still famous nearly 57 years later: “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.” My fellow AOSW members, what can you do for AOSW?
As my term as Membership Director ends, I have been reflecting on the numerous conversations I’ve had with so many of you via phone, e-mail and at our annual conferences. I’m left wondering whether or not the way we (the Board of Directors and Membership Committee) measure the benefits of being an AOSW member is the same as how you measure the benefits you receive. We’ve often told you about your member benefits. While that’s important, it leads me to think that instead of focusing this article on what we do for you, I’d like to focus on what you may be able to do for your professional organization.
AOSW members are among the most talented colleagues I’ve ever worked with. As I read your replies to SWON posts, I’m reminded daily of your expertise, professionalism and passion for this very complex work. We’ve all got areas where we excel and, quite frankly, it’s beautiful to witness the sharing of knowledge and support. Without our members, there would be no AOSW. The organization is only as great as our members and the effort our members put forth. In fact, our 2016 member survey showed that 39 percent of you have been members for seven years or more. Of that 39 percent, 15 percent have been members for at least 15 years! Thank you, “legacy members,” for continuing to be involved!
I want to end this year with a challenge—ask yourself the following questions:
- Have you ever joined a committee?
- Have you ever joined a Special Interest Group (SIG)?
- Have you ever interacted with your State Rep?
- Have you volunteered at our Annual Conference?
- Has it been more than a few years since you were involved at any level?
If you answer no to the majority of the questions, then I’m talking especially to you. The #1 reason many of you have told me you haven’t been as involved as you’d like boils down to one thing— time (or rather lack thereof).
Before you stop reading, stick with me! This challenge is probably quite different than what you expect. It even takes into account the fact that we understand and respect the fact that most of our members are working and have family responsibilities. My challenge to you is—“micro-volunteering.”
What is micro-volunteering? I’m glad you asked! There’s actually a Wikipedia page where you can read all about it: “micro-volunteering describes a volunteer, or team of volunteers, completing small tasks that make up a larger project. It differs from normal volunteerism as the tasks take only minutes to a few hours, and the volunteer does not make a long-term commitment.”
While we have committees in place, at times members of those committees are working on projects where extra help is desired (and needed!) for project completion. An example would be something like data-mining, which requires searching for information online.
Beginning in 2018, the Board may occasionally request the assistance of micro-volunteers; another part of the challenge is to say “yes” when a request is made. This is a perfect way to be engaged with your professional organization in a very time-conscious, concrete way, and it doesn’t mean you are committing beyond your current availability. We have such diverse talent within this organization and who knows? There just might be a type of activity where you excel. Why not take a small step that will have a huge impact? Our collective skills make AOSW even better!
About the Author
Eucharia Borden, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C
Eucharia Borden, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C
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