514 Strangers

Image Credit: Jose Martin
Image Credit: Jose Martin

In our first guest post, IMI welcomes Marc Aronson of the Property Records Industry Association (PRIA). We are honored to have been partners with PRIA since 2003.

514 Strangers

By Marc Aronson, quintessential volunteer, Property Records Industry Association (PRIA)

Right now, of the 571 members on the PRIA roster, I can say I personally know 57 of you. So, if you’re a PRIA member, there’s only about a 10 percent chance that we know each other. Maybe we got to know each other by going to conferences once or twice a year. Of course, not every member can make it to a conference.

The other way we get to know each other is by volunteering. Volunteering is an interesting concept. Some of you volunteer at your church, hospital or children’s school. You build houses for Habitat for Humanity. You paint houses for the elderly. You are a Big Sister or Big Brother. Why do you do this? It’s fulfilling. It’s different. You get to work with bright, caring people who care about the same things you care about.

I volunteer too. Why? Well, just like you, I want to be engaged with bright, like-minded individuals who can educate me, reinforce my sense of duty to society, provide me with insight, and support me as a businessman. I volunteer with friend and foe alike. We learn from each other. There is the joy that I get in knowing I was part of a group project that will do some good for others. I volunteer because I enjoy continual learning. I try to volunteer with people who are smarter and more experienced than I am. We learn together, we learn about each other. Sometimes we argue, but we never go home (or hang up at the end of a conference call) mad at each other. We iron out the details of the project in which we are involved and move forward. There is nothing like doing a good job together, doing it right, knowing that our efforts benefit someone other than ourselves.

Look back at those words. Can you find the word “work” in this article so far? No, you will not. Volunteering is not work. Volunteering is fun. It is an adventure. It is a learning experience. You make friends. You get to know your enemies (and find out that they are just like you; just trying to do the right thing). Volunteering is an opportunity. Volunteering gives you something to look forward to, something beyond the humdrum of your day. It is an advantage you have over others who do not take the opportunity. And volunteering does not “take time,” it gives you time – time to think, mature, learn and grow as a person. As a volunteer, you put in as many minutes, hours or days as you wish. No one can force you to volunteer. But by choosing not volunteering, you deny yourself the opportunity for fun, learning and growth. How many of those opportunities do you find in your work environment now?

A membership organization is composed of volunteers. Without those of us who volunteer our time, there would be no association. At a meeting, board members and committee chairs listed members who should be approached to volunteer. The good news is that we jointly named around 40 members. The bad news is we only named 40 members! We have 571 members today. We really wanted to put your name on the list of bright, interesting, interested members who want to help the association.

I volunteered to write this story. Will you please volunteer to help write the next story? I know you are good at what you do. Research proves that individuals who belong to an association are at the top of their game and are the most successful in their field of endeavor. May we please borrow your insights for the good of all? Give us an hour, a day, or whatever period of time that makes you comfortable.

Do I know you? Maybe. Do you know me? Maybe not. Should we know each other? Absolutely!

-Marc Aronson, PRIA

This post first appeared in PRIA’s member eNewsletter, In Touch, and is reprinted with permission.

Want to know more about association management? Contact us at info@imiae.com to find out more about what IMI Association Executives can do for your organization.

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