Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteer Opportunities

If you want to make the most of your Association Forum membership, consider volunteering for one of our committees, advisory and working groups, task force, SIGs, or donating your time as an author:


Working Groups & Advisory Groups

Additional Volunteer Opportunities

Forum Forward Working Group

The Forum Forward Working Group collaborates with Association Forum staff to plan the annual meeting. Forum Forward attracts more than 300 attendees every year.

The Working Group:

  • Reviews session proposals for Forum Forward.
  • Makes recommendations on Forum Forward content and programs.
  • Makes recommendations on Forum Forward networking activities, ensuring a positive networking experience for attendees.
  • Volunteers’ onsite at Forum Forward as necessary.
  • Increases the diversification of programming through inclusive activities and program topics from a wide variety of diverse subject-matter experts.

This Working Group Is Recommended for Members Who Are:

  • Seasoned association executives interested in developing education topics of importance to CEO, Association Professional and Supplier Partner members.
  • Supplier Partners who have demonstrated an advanced understanding of association structures, issues and best practices.

Time Commitment:

  • The Forum Forward Working Group is planning Forum Forward 2019 and begins their work in the Fall, 2018.
  • Members will be asked to attend at least two face-to-face working group meetings.
  • Participate on conference calls.
  • Attend 2018 Forum Forward.

*Please note that participation in this Working Group does not result in discounted or free registration for Forum Forward.

Awards and Scholarship Committee

Association Forum’s awards honor the best and brightest in the association community. The committee is responsible for all of Association Forum’s awards, unless specifically excluded by Board policy. Additionally, Association Forum and USAE have joined together to provide the Forty Under Forty® recognition program which will be managed by the Awards and Scholarship Committee. This committee will work with staff to develop and promote the next generation of leaders and the Association Forum Awards and Scholarship program.

The Committee:

  • Reviews and modifies criteria for award application, nomination and selection of the Honors and Forty Under 40 Awards.
  • Actively encourages other Association Forum members and non-members to apply for the Forty Under 40 Awards.
  • Actively encourages other Association Forum members to nominate deserving candidates for the Honor Awards.
  • Abides by the committee’s nomination policy to not nominate colleagues or participate in discussions if committee members have a personal or professional relationship with the nominee.
  • Develops/manages the award process to ensure nominations and applications submitted meet the criteria of the committee’s eligibility policies.
  • Makes recommendations to the Board of Directors on Honors Awards honoree selections.
  • Solicits awards applications and nominations from a diverse population of professionals to ensure equal representation of applicants.

This Committee Is Recommended for Members Who Are:

  • Willing to actively seek out and encourage peers to submit applications and/or nominations for awards.
  • Familiar with association awards programs.
  • Actively engaged in the association industry.
  • Past chairs of the Association Forum Board of Directors, past honorees and Association Professional or Supplier Partner members.
  • Interested in recognizing and developing more seasoned and the next generation of association industry leaders.
  • Are Association Professional, Consultant or Supplier Partner members of Association Forum.

Time Commitment:

  • Attend face-to-face committee meetings (minimum of two).
  • If schedule permits, attend attend Forum Forward, Honors Gala and Holiday Showcase.
  • Participate on conference calls as scheduled throughout the year. 

*Please note that participation on this committee does not result in discounted or free registration for Association Forum events.

Be a Content Contributor

FORUM authors and other content contributors are not required to be Association Forum members. However, they must stress the applicability of their topic to the profession, as well as describe their expertise in and relationship to the association industry. Association professionals as well as supplier partners are invited to submit articles and engage in thought leadership.

CAE Working Group

The Certified Association Executive (CAE) Working Group is comprised of members who have earned their CAE, who convene in order to develop best practices for encouraging and preparing candidates for the CAE exam. Members of this group will work with staff to ensure that the format and content of the CAE Study Groups help candidates successfully achieve the CAE designation.

The Working Group:

  • Suggests, trains and monitors evaluations of facilitators and content for the CAE Study Groups.
  • Conducts CAE orientation sessions (two per year).
  • Conducts CAE brown bag webinars (two per year).
  • Conducts CAE Round Robin Review Sessions (four per year).
  • Actively promotes the CAE designation, study groups, and scholarships to the Association Forum community.
  • Encourages diverse professionals to participate as exam candidates as well as study course facilitators.

The Working Group Is Recommended for Members Who:

  • Have attained their CAE designation.
  • Are interested in promoting the designation as a sign of commitment to the association management profession.
  • Are willing to review CAE study group materials, refine the facilitator training program and make suggestions on the Association Forum’s CAE Study Group program.

Time Commitment:

  • Attendance at face-to-face committee meetings (minimum of two).
  • Participation in conference calls as necessary (minimum of two).
  • Participation in CAE orientation sessions.
  • Participation in CAE Study Groups for both the Fall and Spring sessions as either a facilitator or online discussion board participant. 

Content Strategy Advisory Group

To provide expertise from the field from individuals who represent the members/customers the Forum is actively trying to reach through its education. This group should be nimble and strategic, with focus on tangible outcomes in three months. The Advisory Group should be made up of project leads, board liaison, key Forum staff and individuals representing each of the following categories: young professionals, mid-careerists and CEOs.

The Advisory Group:

  • Provides insights and recommendations to continually enhance and update the integrated content strategy for relevancy and value.

The Advisory Group Is Recommended for Members Who:

  • Association professionals and industry partners with a learning, knowledge management, professional development, and marketing and communications backgrounds.

Time Commitment:

  • One meeting per year.
  • One conference call per year.

Welcoming Environment™ Committee

The Welcoming Environment™ Committee  plays an integral role in promoting diversity and inclusion by ensuring that Association Forum makes everyone who interacts with Association Forum feel welcomed and valued. A Welcoming Environment™ is defined as the creation of a sense of belonging and connectedness that engages individuals in an authentic manner in which uniqueness is valued, respected and supported through opportunities and interaction. 

The Committee:

  • Encourages the development of a Welcoming Environment™ within every aspect of Association Forum.
  • Monitors metrics to gauge the efficacy of Welcoming Environment™ efforts.
  • Scans the association community to contribute to the development of the online Welcoming Environment Resource Kit.
  • Actively promotes and encourages diversity and inclusion within Association Forum.
  • Engages in new member onboarding calls
  • Promotes diversity initiatives in associations using #assnWE on social media.

These Opportunities Are Recommended for Members Who:

  • Are passionate about increasing diversity and inclusion within Association Forum.
  • Actively participate in Association Forum events.

Time Commitment:

  • Bimonthly or Quarterly committee meetings.
  • Participation in conference calls and sub-committee meetings as necessary.
  • Act as a Welcome Ambassadors at programs and events when available. 

FORUM Editorial Working Group

The FORUM Editorial Working Group plans and solicits articles for FORUM magazine, published nine times per year by the Association Forum. The goal for each issue of FORUM is to provide innovative and actionable information regarding association management.

Working Group Members:

  • Attend two half-day, in-person meetings—in April and October—to assist with story ideas and sources for FORUM magazine. Broad topic coverage will be presented; working group members will recommend specific story angles based on trends, emerging issues, best practices or case studies with which they are familiar.
  • Take the lead on two to three articles. This may be done in three ways: 1) secure diverse volunteer authors, 2) interview diverse subject matter experts or 3) write the manuscripts per FORUM’s editorial guidelines.
  • Do NOT need to edit articles for style or grammar.
  • Are credited in every issue of FORUM.
  • On occasion, provide feedback and advice on FORUM magazine’s editorial strategy, topic coverage and content delivery vehicles (print, web, mobile).

The Working Group is Recommended for Members Who:

  • Are association professionals or supplier partner members in good standing.
  • Can support the mission of FORUM, which is to: serve as an innovative resource that anticipates the needs of the association management profession.
  • Represent a variety of organizational sizes and scopes.
  • Represent a diversity of perspective.
  • Have publishing experience (not required).
  • Have attained their CAE designation (not required).

Time Commitment:

  • Attend two Working Group meetings per year (two to three hours) to offer story ideas, recommend interview subjects and authors and/or volunteer for writing assignments.
  • Spend the time necessary to take the lead on two to three articles via securing authors, interviewing sources or writing the manuscripts.
  • Be willing and available to participate in occasional polls, surveys and conference calls to provide feedback and advice on FORUM’s editorial strategy, topic coverage and content delivery.

Holiday Showcase Program Advisory Working Group

In addition to being a very successful trade show, Holiday Showcase provides outstanding educational content in a variety of topic areas for both association professionals and suppliers.

The Advisory Group:

  • Reviews and scores the Holiday Showcase speaker presentation proposals.
  • Helps to select the best submissions that will ensure a positive learning and networking experience for attendees and exhibitors who participate in education at Holiday Showcase.
  • Helps to identify additional speakers if there is a void in the diversity or quality of topic submissions.
  • Attends Holiday Showcase and volunteers’ onsite as a session moderator.
  • Sends direct communication (as needed) to potential attendees/speakers to market the opening of our Call for Presentations or to register to attend Holiday Showcase.

The Advisory Group Is Recommended for Members Who Are: 

  • Innovative association executives and supplier partners who have a broad understanding of their colleagues’ educational needs.
  • Previous Holiday Showcase attendees and are willing to offer honest feedback and solutions to improve future education sessions and the overall presence of Holiday Showcase.
  • Willing to volunteer at Holiday Showcase as needed.

Time Commitment:

  • In-person speaker selection meeting.
  • Review speaker submissions for inclusion into the Holiday Showcase program (approximately 3 hours).
  • Monthly conference calls (approximately .5 to 1 hour).
  • Attends the Holiday Showcase morning education sessions (half-day or full/day). 

Holiday Showcase Tradeshow Advisory Group

Holiday Showcase continues to be the Association Forum’s largest annual event, not to mention Chicagoland's No. 1 meeting sites and business services exhibition. Receiving high marks for bringing together association professionals and suppliers, the Holiday Showcase Tradeshow Advisory Group is charged with ensuring the show floor continues to meet and exceed expectations.

The Advisory Group:

  • Provides insight and makes recommendations to continually enhance value on the tradeshow floor for both exhibitors and attendees.
  • Works with staff to enhance and create innovation on tradeshow floor.
  • Develops initiatives to improve the return on investment (ROI) for exhibitors and attendees.
  • Provides feedback on official show rules and regulations.

The Advisory Group Is Recommended for Members Who Are:

  • Exhibitors and/or partners who have participated in Holiday Showcase.
  • Are association professionals who can provide insight into the attendee perspective.

Time Commitment:

  • Four to six committee meetings via conference call.

Professional Practices Committee

The Professional Practices Committee is a policy and strategy recommending body that reports to the Board of Directors. Its primary function is to review and provide updates to Association Forum’s Professional Practice Statements and to develop new statements.

The Committee:

  • Is subdivided into task forces to work on revising and creating statements.
  • Reviews Professional Practice Statements to determine if the statements should be updated, retired or left as is.
  • Revises those statements in need of updating by submitting a revised draft to the Board of Directors for consideration.
  • Develops new statements on issues/areas not currently addressed. This requires drafting a scope statement for consideration by the Board of Directors first and then once approved; the full statement is drafted and submitted to the Board of Directors for consideration.
  • Reviews and develops professional practice statements containing inclusive language and topics related to diversity & inclusion.

The Committee Is Recommended for Members Who Are:

  • Seasoned association executives who have a broad understanding of association management issues and leadership experience.
  • Seasoned supplier partners who have a broad understanding of association management issues and leadership experience.

Time Commitment:

  • Full committee meeting
  • Face-to-face meetings (1-2)
  • Conference calls as necessary

Task force meetings 

  • Conference calls (preferred medium-at least 2)
  • Face-to-face meetings as necessary
  • Review and editing of statements

Shared Interest Group Chair or Vice-Chair

Members with shared interests meet regularly to discuss issues, ideas, trends and thoughts on many areas of association and nonprofit management. Association Forum has 15 Shared Interest Groups (SIGs) that are open to all members in good standing. Any member may join and attend all SIGs.

This Position:

  • Works with SIG vice-chair to plan SIG events (minimum of three events per year including SIG Summit).
  • Works with staff to promote the events and encourage participation.
  • Assists in identifying a successor.

This Position is Recommended for:

  • Active participants in a SIG or anyone interested in further developing the activity of a SIG.
  • Members who are passionate about a particular interest area and in sharing experiences with colleagues.
  • Members who would like to further develop their leadership skills and be recognized as a leader in their area of interest.

Time Commitment:

  • Mandatory participation in SIG Chair Orientation in April.
  • Participation in leadership calls three times per year.
  • Coordination of a minimum of three SIG programs per fiscal year including the SIG Summit.