All That Glitters Is the (Newly Redesigned) Column

Allison Hardy  the Column co-editor

Ladies, I’m conducting a poll. Who here keeps glitter around in their homes? While I haven’t touched the stuff since elementary school, I recently learned that glitter is a staple at the homes of League members Sara Huse, Katie Triplett and Jennifer Peters. I also learned that it’s quite difficult to photograph.

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To introduce some major (read: incredible) changes we’ve made to to the League’s magazine, we, the editorial staff of the Column, thought it would be fun to do a fall photo shoot with our incredibly talented Social Media Coordinator, Jillian Humphries. For the finale, we thought we’d throw some red glitter up in the air and would get some great shots of it sparkling in the September sunshine. Long story short: what we got, in addition to these shots, was glitter everywhere – eyes, hair and covering our bodies. I’m quite sure my pillow is still sparkling.

When you try something new, you take risks with the hope that they are outweighed by the reward. This year’s Communications Committee, headed by our fearless, visionary leaders Communication Committee Chair Katie Triplett and Vice Chair Jennifer Peters, and armed with our ambitious Graphic Designer Sara Huse, decided to take the plunge to provide you, our readers of the Column, with a fresh new look. To that end, we’ve moved the Column to a full color, 20-page, magazine-like publication to keep you updated with what’s happening in the League. We’re putting a new spin on stories to make them more engaging and are including more attention-grabbing photos and infographics.

While it’s not entirely clear if our glitter photoshoot passed the risk-reward test (but hey, we had fun), we think you’ll agree that the redesign of the Column has. We invite you to check out our new style and weigh in with your comments. The Fall edition of the Column will be hitting mailboxes in early December.

For now, check out some of the fun outtakes from our sparkling photo shoot.

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Top five ways to maximize social media for your event both before and after!

Planning an event can be stressful. You spend months figuring out every detail, from venue to food to programming to donor recognition. So the last thing on your radar may be your social media plan of action. Never fear, here are our top five ways to maximize social media for your event both before and after!

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  1. Facebook Event Pages – Talk about a one-stop shop! Facebook event pages allow you to do so much, for instance: share time, date and location, ticket link, gather a head count, allow people to continue to invite their friends, give updates to attendees, share donation links to those who may be out of town and not be able to attend themselves, tag sponsors… the list goes on.  

We create a Facebook event pages for almost all League events open to the public.

  1. Instagram & Facebook Ads – Does your event need participants? Make a Facebook Advert –  it lends itself over to Instagram as well. You can manage this from a business or personal page. Just head over to your Ad Manager page to get started. Not sure where that is? On the left bar of your Facebook home page, at the very bottom is a button that says “CREATE” with Advert, Page, Group, Event, etc. below it.

We used Facebook & Instagram Adverts to advertise registration for our American Girl Fashion Show.

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  1. Live tweet your events – Now you don’t have to go all news reporter and we won’t expect your AP Style to be on point, so don’t be shy. Prior to the event, ticket links can be shared along with raffle prizes and auction items. Add to that showcasing and thanking sponsors via Twitter which can help get your tweets shared fast! Then, during the event you can share your event hashtag like #BRBP2016 (this should be used in all tweets prior to event as well) with attendees and give incentives for tweeting, or even have a live stream of tweets being shared at the event. Don’t forget to give shout outs during the event! Live tweeting allows social media users who follow your guests to see the fun during and after the event.

We love sharing details about our events and community partners via Twitter before and after events for the League.

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  1. Instagram videos & Boomerang – Photos can capture a moment, but video & boomerang tell a story! Log into Instagram and you can capture or upload videos you’ve already taken. (We always recommend horizontal for Instagram. Leave the vertical videos for Snapchat.) Or, create a Boomerang! What’s a Boomerang, you ask? It’s Instagram’s take on stop-motion and it often gets a lot of likes (which will turn into follows!) Open Instagram, click on the photo button, look for the infinity symbol and you will be taken to the Boomerang app.

This year Big Red Block Party has made quite the impression with their Boomerang videos.

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  1. Snapchat Geofilters – Who doesn’t love a good filter? Am I right ladies? Some may say oh, it’s just a filter for those attending your event, but trust me it goes WAY beyond that. How many people are going to see their friends on Snapchat that attend your event and want to know how they can attend next year? Or, join the organization that put on the event? A LOT. Everyone wants to a part of something fun and Snapchat is a way to touch an audience you may not have realized you could reach. Head over to Snapchat.com to create or upload your filter. You choose where, when and how long your filter lives with a corresponding cost and after a day or so, BOOM, it’s approved and your guests are ready to get your Snap on. Even better, it won’t break your budget!

The league has created filters for several upcoming events, the American Girl Show this weekend for instance! Prepare for the cuteness.
And there you have it. These are five amazing options, but don’t be afraid to get a little out of the box. Social media is all about having fun and being creative.

Special thanks to Jillian Humphries, Junior League of Omaha Social Media Coordinator, for sharing these tips!

JLO Summer Wrap-Up

In just a few days, the Junior League of Omaha will be kicking off its 98th year with the first General Membership Meeting. It has been a busy summer for our League filled with training sessions, committees kicking off their projects and fundraisers and meetings to gear up for the upcoming year.

Many of our members have already been hard at work throughout the summer donating their time to various projects. In July, many members volunteered at the Color Run during packet pick-up and on race day at water and color stations throughout the race course.

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Done-In-A-Day partnered with FITGirl, Inc. and provided volunteers for the FITGirl Empowerment Camp for girls ages 8-14. Junior League of Omaha members were assigned a group of girls and assisted them through activities during the day that included focusing on fitness, good eating choices and group team building activities.

Project shifts have also started with volunteers sorting books for A Book Of My Own and getting backpacks ready for distribution through Project Hope Pack. In addition to all of the volunteer opportunities for our Active Members, the League is also excited to welcome 92 New Members to our organization this year.

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Each year, the incoming President is tasked with choosing a theme for the League year. For 2016-2017, our President, Chaley Chandler, selected the theme of “Giving Back is Always in Style.” Giving back is just one part of the mission of The Junior League of Omaha and voluntarism has always been second nature to our members. All of our League Members share many different strengths that make make an impact on each other and our actions. Our members gain training and knowledge from both our General and Committee meetings, and also from each other. Supporting other League Members, learning from each other and giving back to one another are all of the keys we’ll need to have a successful year. Our mission and our relentless act of giving back to the community and to each other will always be in style! You’ll be seeing this year’s logo all year long to help serve as a reminder of the one goal we all are working towards.

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As fall rapidly approaches, there’s even more exciting things to look forward to beginning with Barn Bash on September 9th. There will be salsa and guacamole tasting, a nacho bar and BINGO! The League will also be hosting the American Girl Fashion Show Grand Finale on October 8th and 9th at Shadow Ridge Country Club. Please join other League Members as we commemorate the Fashion Show and how it has created shining stars out of both children and adults. Rounding out the season is the seventh annual Big Red Block Party on November 5th. Watch the Nebraska vs. Ohio State football game on multiple big screen TVs while enjoying tailgate-themed faire and the opportunity to bid on a wide variety of silent auction items. Finally, Our Cookbook Committee is also hard at work and needs your submissions. If you have any great recipes to share, please visit www.JLOCookbook.com.

Tip the Fundraising Scale with TAGG by Guest Blogger Katy Spratte

The Junior League of Omaha supports this vibrant community through countless volunteer hours, amazing fundraisers, and women and child-focused projects and scholarships. As a first year active in the League, I am thrilled to be able to present a great new fundraising option for our membership. That opportunity is through a local start up, called Together A Greater Good (TAGG). TAGG is an app that empowers users to support local nonprofits just by visiting participating businesses. That’s right, visit a participating business, TAGG a purchase, and the business will donate 5 percent of your purchase to the cause of your choice.

During the first month of being live on TAGG, the Junior League of Omaha has already raised $16.79. Six active league members have TAGGed so far, and I’m really excited to see what our whole group can accomplish. Those who have TAGGed have done so at Blue Sushi, Plank Seafood & Provisions, Beansmith Coffee Roasters, Railcar Modern American Kitchen, Bliss Boutique, Newman’s Pasta Cafe, Everbloom Floral & Gift, and Smoothie King. There are about 130 local businesses that are participating partners in TAGG, and will donate to causes of your choice. Additionally, the first $1,000 raised each month through the app is automatically matched by the 88 Restaurant Group, so that 5 percent donation is actually 10 percent at the beginning go the month.

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 It’s easy to see how simply frequenting TAGG businesses, that many of us already visit, can really add up to major funds for a worthwhile organization. Please consider downloading “Together A Greater Good” app today, and choosing to support the Junior League of Omaha without spending an extra dime. TAGGing a purchase takes about 30 seconds, watch this video tutorial. Start TAGGing today!
–Katy Spratte

#JLOGivesThanks with Guest Blogger Megan Nelson

Networking, professional development, socializing, empowering connections. These are just a few of the takeaways from the Junior League of Omaha’s New Member Program I have experienced thus far. And I have a feeling there are so many more exciting memories, unforgettable volunteer shifts and professional development opportunities yet to come.

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I am Megan Nelson, and am excited to share my insight with you through JLO’s very own Connections Blog! Although I am only a few months in to my stent as a JLO New Member, I can already see the powerful network that makes up this amazing organization of intelligent, impressive and distinguished women of Omaha, and maybe most importantly, charitable women – there is much to be thankful for.

Just last week our November New Meeting was held at Project Harmony, a child protection center that strives to end child abuse and neglect in Nebraska. Wow, was I shocked to learn of the many resources Project Harmony provides the state, and the meaningful presence JLO brings through Project Hope Pack. As we toured the facility last week, I was nearly brought to tears to learn of the impact our efforts make on so many children and families, and at such a vulnerable time in their lives. Through this fascinating behind-the-scenes look of Project Harmony, I am inspired to devote my time and energy to making a difference for those children and families through my involvement with JLO, and I encourage you to do the same.

As we all embrace (and maybe brace for) the upcoming holiday season, let’s strive to look past the piles of gifts, endless shopping sprees, glitz and glamour (for those who know me, you know how much I love glitz!), and let’s make it a priority to lend a helping hand to those who need it most. Whether that means sponsoring a family for Christmas, donating warm clothing, or simply smiling at a stranger passing by, we all have so much to be grateful for, and so many opportunities to bring joy to someone’s day.

As the #JLOGivesThanks campaign comes to a close, I challenge each of you to search for the real reason for the season. Share why you are grateful for a loved one, hold the door open for someone and strive to improve someone’s day – you might be surprised by the joy it brings you, as well.

I am so honored to be a member of the Junior League of Omaha, and the positive impact our organization has throughout the community. We are truly making a difference in Omaha and beyond. Let’s continue to count our blessings and be inspired to give thanks, now and always! #JLOGivesThanks

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Establishing My Own Identity – A Guest Blog by Mary Lynn Hallett

I transferred to the Junior League of Omaha at the beginning of my second active year from the Junior League of St Paul, Minnesota. I can honestly say transferring my membership here was the best decision I made in our move. Omaha is my husband’s hometown and joining the Junior League of Omaha allowed me the chance to establish my own identity and network here. Now I never want to leave.

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My first placement in the Omaha League was with the My Closet committee, the League’s thrift store. I was lucky enough to have very friendly chairwomen who made me feel welcomed and valued. By the end of that year, the committee was without leadership and the League president asked for a volunteer for the position. It took me a few days to think about it, but I decided to accept the position.

Leading the My Closet committee was completely out of my comfort zone. It was a crazy decision, but looking back, it is the best crazy decision I ever made. Even though a co-chair was named, she was a total stranger to me. Imagine being new in the League and chairing one of the largest and least popular committees with a stranger.  It all worked out and we turned out to be friends. We made a great team as our talents complimented each other. The women who served on the committee were wonderful. Although we didn’t know what we were doing, we learned together and had lots of fun. I have never worked so hard for a volunteer project and I learned so much. I was part of a team essentially running a small business for one year.

Another position I held in the League was transfer placement coordinator. It was a newly-created position, so I started with a clean slate. My goal was to be welcoming and remember what it was like when I was new in the Omaha League. A lot of people don’t realize how different leagues are across the country. The concept is the same but many have different terminology, requirements and traditions. So like any new member, transfers need help with some of the Omaha League basics – particularly our placement process. I also tried to make them feel welcome–make the transfers themselves a close-knit group so they would hopefully connect and feel less alone. I always tried to get the transfers to sit together at the General Meeting because that is the number one place a new transfer can get lost. It is really hard to walk into a room full of women who already know each other and then sit through a meeting about topics that are totally foreign. It’s much easier if you are sitting next to another transfer feeling just as bewildered and then a League member like myself leans over and explains what is going on.

When I look back over the years, I can say without a doubt many of my closest friends in Omaha have either served with me on a committee or I have met them through other League duties. Omaha will always be my husband’s hometown where most people know his family and are familiar with the work he does in the community. However, as I am more active in the League, through different committees, my husband now occasionally meets someone and they ask if he is married to me! That is a funny switch for both of us.

–Mary Lynn Hallett

A Cross Country League Experience – Guest Blogger Beth Breunsbach

I joined the Junior League in 2007 when I lived in Hilton Head, South Carolina. The closest League was in Savannah, Georgia but Hilton Head had a ‘Lowcountry’ group that met on a regular basis and helped the local community with events. We then went to Savannah for occasional general meetings and the annual thrift sale fundraiser.

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I was approached at a business lunch by a woman asking if I would be interested in joining the Junior League, so I went to a social. You had to be sponsored there, which is something many Leagues have moved away from, but was customary when my mom and aunt joined in Lincoln, Nebraska many, many years ago. The girls I met through the League became some of my closest friends in Hilton Head and it was such a great experience.

My husband and I then moved to Chicago, Illinois when he was admitted to business school and I transferred my membership. I didn’t think twice about doing so, as it was a great way to meet people and get involved in a new city. Chicago was a much bigger League and accepted anyone and everyone – it was more corporate-focused. While I met many new people, I also recruited some friends to join, which was fun. They had a historic house in the Gold Coast where smaller meetings and functions were held, which was neat as you could literally see the history of the Chicago League. It was very easy to get lost in that League due to its size, but you were as involved as you motivated yourself to be. I continued my involvement in the League through internal positions and enjoyed learning about the League from that perspective.

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After about five years in Chicago, family and a job for my husband moved us to Omaha, Nebraska. Again, I didn’t think twice about transferring my membership. I knew Omaha had a League so I asked Chicago to initiate the transfer and was then contacted by Omaha League. I did consider becoming a Sustaining Member, but decided I wanted to be involved and support the local community before making that transition. I had a great transfer year and was on the American Girl committee, which was a neat event that I had not seen in Hilton Head or Chicago. I’m active again this year and find the Omaha League to be a happy medium between Hilton Head and Chicago. It’s a great way to meet people and impact the community in a new city!

–Beth Breunsbach

 

Junior League of Omaha Members Out and About Enjoying Autumn Events

Vivid colored leaves still hang from trees in Omaha. The ones that have made their way to the ground, crunch and crackle under step. It is autumn, or fall, in the heartland and there is one thing on which we can all agree…

Autumn leaves are most beautiful when being raked by someone else.

There was a steady cool breeze in the air this weekend and many Junior League of Omaha members reached for their tall boots and vests officially marking the start of Han Solo Season.

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The cool air inspires many League members to fire up the oven or the slow cooker and whip up something delicious. Tracy Cartwright baked a batch of Mini Pumpkin Poppers.

Tracy Weis made a batch of yummy taco soup and cornbread. (Make something similar with this recipe.) And now that the slow cooker is working overtime, make sure it stays squeaky clean.

Melissa Carlberg and her husband Zach hosted a fall-theme dinner party for friends featuring recipes that gave a nod to the season including: roasted walnuts, apple parsnip soup and baked apple roses.

Other League members ventured out and about this weekend.

Many members attended the Women’s Center for Advancement TGIF event. Angela Cutler was one of three co-chairs for the western-themed event and Veronica Wortman served on the silent auction committee. Many league members put together silent auction items and attended the event that raised money to help women in the Omaha area out of domestic crisis.

Junior League of Omaha members attended the 2015 Women's Center for Advancement's TGIF event include: Angela Kros Cutler, Veronica Wortman, Melissa Hoeman Carlberg, Kate Hansen, Jen Olson Alloway (sustainer), Meghan Hope, Shelly Marsh, Tina Nelson, Chaley Smith Chandler, Mary Jane Tritsch, Lindsey Snyder, Alysia Radica and Liz Akert (not pictured)
Junior League of Omaha members attended the 2015 Women’s Center for Advancement’s TGIF event include: Angela Cutler, Veronica Wortman, Melissa Carlberg, Kate Hansen,  Jen Alloway (sustainer), Lindsey Buchanan, Meghan Hope, Shelly Marsh, Tina Nelson, Chaley Chandler, Mary Jane Tritsch, Lindsey Snyder, Alysia Radica and Liz Akert (not pictured)

League sustainer Catherine McAllister and her friend served as co-chairs for Omaha’s Great Pumpkin event this weekend. The event supports Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska‘s adoption and foster care awareness. Catherine has been involved in supporting the organization for five years.

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Done in a Day project organized volunteers to assist with the Omaha Symphony Spooktacular. League members helped decorate the lobby of the Holland Performing Arts Center, set up trick-or-treat stations, run pre-concert activities including instrument petting zoo, costume contest, and a Halloween-themed craft. Thank you to Kristen Bladt, Kelly Brooks, Melissa Hoeman Carlberg, Beverly Gorman, Kimberly Johnston, Racheal McMahon, Meghan Bothe, Caroline Drumm, Erin Fairchild, Megan Gerwick, Katie Lange Allebone, Terri Sharpe, Leigh Shea, Sarah Smith, and Ashlee Young for participating.

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Other League members were in the Halloween spirit. Megan Riebe and friends went to the Ranch of Terror at the Bellevue Berry Farm.

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Heather Vanourney ran the Bones 5K this weekend. The Omaha Running Club sponsored the run through the moonlit trails of Standing Bear Lake. Runners’ hearts raced in fear of all things that go bump in the night, according to the event page.

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Katie Triplett and Veronica Wortman spent an afternoon decorating Halloween and fall cookies to share with friends and colleagues.

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Before heading out to Trick-or-Treat with the kiddos, the Omaha Fire Department suggests several safety tips, such as adding a strip of reflective tape to trick-or-treat bags or clothing and costumes for greater visibility.

Going to a costume party? Revisit recent pop culture phenomenon for inspiration in creating a costume. Kelly Giese and her husband Matt, created this Double Rainbow costume.
(It was soo beautiful.)

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The party doesn’t stop when we put Halloween 2015 in the books. Tickets to the 3rd annual Barn Bash are available now through the Junior League of Omaha website. The event features a chili cook-off, BINGO, cash bar, pumpkin pie martinis, bonfire and s’mores. Members, significant others and friends welcome at the event.

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New Member Successfully Applies League Experience to Profession

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My name is Andrea Padilla-Rosas and I am a New Member this year to the Junior League of Omaha. I am excited to be a guest blogger for Connections. Although I have only been a member for a few weeks I can already tell that joining the League has been a great decision for me, both personally and professionally. I first heard of Junior League in early 2014 through my friend Jamie Ryder. I even volunteered with her at the Color Run, the first year the League staffed the event. I enjoyed speaking with the ladies I met that day and left with a good impression of the League.

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At the first general meeting on Sept. 14, the guest speaker was Sustainer Gail Graeve. I really enjoyed her humor and her thoughts on being a member of the League.  She spoke about work-life balance, family, her experience in the League, her career and the importance of women supporting women. As I sat there listening to her, I could not help but realize how satisfied I am with my experience, thus far, in the League.  As the weeks go on, and I volunteer at events to fulfill my member requirements, I am reminded of how my career and participation in the League are closely aligned. I can say, without a doubt, that I am the most fulfilled I have ever felt in my professional life. I know that may sound strange coming from a New Member but it is how I feel right now.

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Have you heard of AIM Careerlink? I work for AIM in the Youth Department as a College and Career Coordinator at Bryan High School.  Specifically, I am the TRiO Upward Bound Coordinator at Bryan. Upward Bound is a program designed to help first-generation and/or low-income students go to college.  I work with 60 students in grades nine through 12 and I love my job.  We offer an after-school program, college tours, ACT test prep and help with college applications and scholarships, just to name a few of the benefits.

Despite the fact that I have a self-imposed PhD in procrastination, I am working to complete my project shifts early this year as work will only get busier as the school year continues. A few weeks ago, I volunteered at the Open Door Mission with fellow League members. The opportunity was part of the Done-in-a-Day community volunteer project offerings that the League offers to members. I had such a positive experience there that I decided to set up a volunteer shift for my high school students. This shift would help them to complete the volunteer shifts they are required to have as members of the Upward Bound program. In addition to that, I proposed an idea to my Youth team for a week-long volunteer academy as part of the summer academies we offer our students. My idea was well-received .

Being a part of the League opened up that idea and opportunity to me. It inspired me to pass on the gift of service to my students. I am looking forward to meeting more New Members and actives and learning more about the League this year.

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Before Joining a Guild: Ask Yourself These Questions

A guild is an association of people for mutual aid or the pursuit of a common goal. Most nonprofit organizations have a guild made up of volunteers who support the organization through volunteering, fundraising and generating awareness for the organization. Each organization’s guild has their own set of rules, terms and responsibilities. Chances are, if you are the type of person who performs well in the professional world or is a strong community volunteer you may be approached to join a guild. It is an honor to be thought of and invited. Guilds and board are fantastic ways to support organizations within your community and become a more well-rounded individual through service and development. But before you join, consider asking a few questions. We asked League members and one of our sustainers to suggests questions.
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League member Katie Triplett looks to understand if joining a guild is going to result in a mutually beneficial relationship for both her and the organization. “In many cases the guild position is just like a job, you want to ensure it’s the right fit for both the potential member and the guild,” says Katie.
  • Does my skill set match what the guild is looking for in their members?
  • Will my experiences be of benefit to the guild?
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Because each guild is different, you’ll find that some groups are very structured with clear roles and responsibilities while others are organized in a more casual fashion.  It’s helpful to know this before making a decision.
  • What is the organizational structure of the guild?
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Defining clear expectations before joining a guild is also important. “I like to ensure I’m am working alongside a group of volunteers who all are on the same page in terms of commitment of time and resources,” says Katie.
  • What is the level of engagement of guild members and what will the expectations be?
League member Angela Kros Cutler also focuses on logistics before she commits to adding something to her already busy schedule. She is interested in understanding expectations but also the requirements for the position.
  • Do I have time to contribute at the level that is expected with my other obligations to family/work/organizations?
  • Will there be program volunteer opportunities?
  • Is the guild expected to fundraise?
  • Is there a fun/social aspect?
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Sustaining member of the League, Kate Schafer, asks direct questions about financial commitment of the organization and philosophical questions of herself when evaluating her involvement. “Ask specifically about the financial requirements. Some guilds ask for more than others and there’s nothing wrong with considering your budget. In terms of being passionate, there are so many guilds you can join, don’t join a guild if you don’t believe in the cause,” says Kate.
  • How much should I expect to contribute financially by paying dues, making donations, funding events?
  • Am I passionate about this organization or cause?
  • Will I enjoy the work this organization is doing?
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And you have several offers on the table, League member Ashley Hall offers advise about widening your circle. “Sometimes if I’m split between two choices, I may choose the one where I’ll get to work with a whole new group of amazing people and learn from them,” says Ashley.