Written by Allison Green, Craft NB Vice President
If you had asked me when I started my craft education if I would ever want to volunteer on the board of a non-profit organization, I would have said: “Are you crazy? I have enough trouble keeping track of my own projects.” Volunteering can be a tough sell when the demands of work are so high.
Nonetheless, after I graduated I felt a bit like a ship lost at sea, without connection to community, and so when I was asked to serve on the board I decided it was worth a one-year trial. Since that day I have learned that volunteering for Craft NB, both on the board and the committees, is not a duty but a perk. I did not start seeing what I would consider to be the very best benefits of juried membership until I took on a more active role.
Consider some of the many benefits of volunteering, as described by your daring Craft NB board members:
Contribute to the Growth of Local Craft
“I volunteer with Craft NB because I want to be involved in supporting and promoting local craft. I feel much more connected to the craft community since joining the board, especially since I work alone in my studio, and I’ve learned a lot about what’s happening with opportunities for craftspeople in New Brunswick. Volunteering gives me the ability to get involved in things that directly affect me and my business and to find out what sort of work needs to be done in order to make events like festivals and residencies happen – that way I can help make those things successful!”
– Megan MacKinley, Board Member
Network & Discover Opportunities
“I volunteer because I quickly realized that the members I met through Craft NB really encouraged me to be the best I can be in all aspects of my work. Without this network of professionals, I would never have been able to make a living as a self-taught craftsperson/ artist. Volunteering has helped me meet more of the membership and foster these relationships.
“It has absolutely helped me as people have referred me and my work to many more opportunities, from public works to one of a kind commissions and retail partners. I can’t thank Craft NB and the members enough! I highly recommend joining and participating.”
– Jamie Brown, President
Learn New Things & Get Excited
“I have learned so much about how to govern, how to work as a team, how to encourage participation from other awesome people. I was surprised to discover that most board and committee meetings happen through online video conferencing, so it does not take a huge amount of time out of my day to have an impact.
“I have had a small hand in making some amazing projects happen, and have been invited to contribute to the conversation about where craft in our province should go next. I have found a fountain of enthusiasm toward craft within the people I work alongside. I have been given a hundred new reasons to get excited about craft and the place I call home.”
– Allison Green, Vice President
Make Change Happen
“I primarily joined the board because I felt there was a lack of communication between the office/board and members. I figured that if I didn’t get involved and try to change the things I disliked, then I had no right to complain about what I felt should be different.
“This has been an interesting experience. I have a much better understanding about the direction Craft NB is trying to head and the status of each strategic plan item. I’m still not convinced that the level of communication has reached the place I think it should be, so I plan to stick around a bit longer.”
– Emily McCumber, Treasurer
Connect to Community & Give Back
“I joined Craft NB during my Graduate Studies year at NBCCD with the encouragement of my instructor, Craig Schneider. I wanted to participate in their festivals. I discovered the organization has so much more to offer. I went to a wholesale trade show with them to present my work to retailers, I’ve participated in their artist residency program, exhibited my work at a touring group exhibition resulting from the residency, and I currently have my work in the Beaverbrook Art Gallery shop through their collaboration with that gallery.
“I find that joining Craft NB provided an opportunity to stay connected with an arts community outside of the Craft College. I think that networking is crucial to remaining connected to my studio practice because the Craft NB community is a bridge between my artistic practice within my studio and its place in the community. I learned that this organization had so much more to offer than just the festivals, the initial reason I joined, and when I realized that it accomplishes everything it does thanks to volunteer committees and board I couldn’t say no when I was asked to join the board. I have no experience with serving on a board however I have been slowly learning and it is nice to be able to contribute to the dialogue and help evolve the organization. The organization is made of real people and serving on the board has made me feel a stronger connection to the crafts community because I am seeing my peers evolve through their own artistic practices, which inspires me to not let go of my own goals for mine. We help each other out and support each other.
“I will be participating in some governance training and hopefully learn how to be a more effective board member. For now, I offer my insights when applicable but mostly observe. As I gain experience and confidence I hope I will be able to offer more to the organization.”
– Kate White, Board Member
Convinced? Contact the office to learn more about the volunteer opportunities that are currently available at Craft NB. You could make a one-year commitment to a board or committee or a short-term commitment as an event volunteer. Feeling good about giving your time is about finding the right fit, so don’t be afraid to explain your skills and interests, and seek out a role that makes you excited.