Monday, March 30, 2009

We're just two people that like warm roles.

As you may know, I have the honor of being the leader of San Francisco's chapter of AVEN. For quite some time, I wasn't sure how a "chapter", in our case, was any different from what we were already doing. But then, about two weeks ago, I went to a program called "Social Action Bootcamp". It was a little strange, but I did come away with at least one interesting conclusion-- the difference between a chapter and a group of people.

I think the difference is roles. In a chapter, people need roles, titles, and some description of what they do. I'm learning the same thing in my "day job" as a volunteer coordinator. Apparently, if you can't put the job on a business card, no one wants it. And I certainly can't blame people for that. In a large group, there would be a few "officers" and many regular members. But in a group as small as ours, it would be ideal for most active members to have some sort of defined role. It doesn't have to be something major-- any defined role (such as "the E-mail Czar sends reminder e-mails to people about meetups a week before they happen") would be a good start. Here, I'll brainstorm some roles that AVEN chapters might be able to use. I'll start with myself:
  • Head of Local Chapter: This is the hardest role to define, probably because I've already technically been doing it. I feel like this person should organize the rest of the "officers", plan official meetings, and figure out the direction of the group (with input from others, of course). What else?
These roles are what I see as the "Big 3":
  • Public Relations: Dealing with the media-- writing press releases, keeping up press contacts, writing articles, making sure we do stuff that people would be interested in writing about.
  • Community Outreach: Dealing with other community groups and finding ways to reach more potential members.
  • Fundraising and Special Events: Pretty self-explanatory.
If you want to add something fancy like "Emperor" or "Guru" to these titles, I think that would be great. This is all supposed to be somewhat fun and enjoyable, after all. Don't forget that, now!

Of course there would be other roles, too, of varying levels. The possibilities are really endless. They're only limited right now by my imagination and impending carpal tunnel syndrome.

I know that some of us, myself included, have wished that AVEN could be our full-time job. Maybe that will happen someday, but we can't be a more official organization unless people have roles. That seems to be the beginning and end of it. So, at the risk of over-using a word, if you could have any role, in AVEN internationally or in a local chapter, what would it be? Let your imagination run wilder than mine seems to be capable of at the moment.

(Also, you get a virtual brownie if you know what the title of this post is a reference to.)


The Impossible K said...

Ha... I like "E-mail Czar"... that seems to fit me pretty well at the moment, for Seattle meetups :P
I'm not sure how necessary it would be to have a PR person in every chapter. Maybe just a main one for now, then more when the demand increases?
Also... how about an AVEN mascot? Or a "Photo-Op Ace" (aka POP Ace?)- someone who's not shy of the camera?
Or like in Facebook, someone could maintain that...?

Ily said...

Ooh, cool, we already have a mascot in SF-- but it's not getting a business card. I like your idea of assigning someone to take pictures. I tend to bring my camera and then get caught up in other stuff.

Lia said...

I think your ideas about roles (and rolls) are excellent and I hope this will help people find ways to be more involved in the planning and carrying out of AVEN activities. Now, the real reason for my post: Jack Nicholson in "As Good as it Gets" -hand over the virtual brownie please ;-)

Ily said...

Yay Lia! *brownie with frosting*