The PASS Summit just wrapped up and I’m riding a giant wave of excitement about the entire organization, not just the summit. I met so many great people over the last week who were excited to be a part of PASS. On top of that, there were even more people who asked how they could get involved in PASS.
You can start off by volunteering locally. This is probably the easiest way to get involved with the organization. If there is a local chapter or user group in your area, contact the person in charge and find out how you can help. User groups always need someone to set up before meetings, call sponsors and ask for money or swag, book speakers, or maintain the web site. The work isn’t always full of glory, but no volunteering work is. If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, don’t despair. There are a lot of other things you can do locally, just talk to the leader of the user group and find another way to help out. Of course, if there isn’t a user group in your area, you could always call PASS HQ and find out how to start up a PASS chapter. I’m not going to lie and say that it’s an easy process because it isn’t. This is how I got involved in PASS, I can tell you that it’s been a lot of hard work but it has been incredibly rewarding.
In addition to the local chapters, PASS has a number of Virtual Chapters. What is a Virtual Chapter? A Virtual Chapter is similar to a physical chapter, it just meets virtually. The Virtual Chapters are currently focused on specific topics within SQL Server – Database Administration, Database Development, Business Intelligence, Virtualization, to name a few. Just like the physical chapters and user groups, Virtual Chapters need volunteers to find speakers, sponsors, and market the user group meetings. If there is a particular Virtual Chapter that you would like to work with, contact the person in charge of the Virtual Chapter, the Board member in charge of Virtual Chapters, or PASS HQ.
So you’d like to help PASS out on the international scene, eh? Maybe you want to work on something for the Summit, maybe you want to make the PASS website better, maybe you know that you want to help on a grander scale but you don’t know where to start. If that’s the case, you should definitely call PASS HQ and tell them that you would love to help, but you’re not sure where to get started. There are two ways to get involved on the international stage – task based volunteering and project based volunteering.
Task Based Volunteering
Task based volunteering is, in many ways, the easiest way to get involved with PASS at the international level. You are paired up with someone at PASS HQ, a Board member, or another volunteer who gives you a specific task to accomplish. Then, hopefully, you do it and report back. It’s just that simple. If you aren’t sure how much time you have, this is probably the best way to get started – you can test the waters and see how this whole volunteering thing sits with you and make sure that you have the time to do it. If you don’t have the time, you can finish up what you’re working on and stop there. You can always come back once you have more time. Nobody will fault you for that.
Project Based Volunteering
This is it: you love PASS and you’re in it for the long haul. Well, you don’t need to be that enthusiastic, but it helps. Project based volunteering is very long term and is best suited for people who want to have a constant level of involvement with PASS. An example of this is the Summit Programming Committee. These volunteers work tirelessly from April until the last day of the Summit reviewing session abstracts and making sure that Summit attendees get top notch speakers and presentations. If you’re interested in this sort of thing, get in touch with PASS HQ. Board members have specific portfolios and initiatives that they are tasked with – you can take a look at the Board of Directors page and determine which projects you would might like to get involved with. If there’s something that catches your eye, get in touch with that board member and tell them that you would like to help out. I’m sure they’ll appreciate it.
So, Remind Me – How Can I Help Out?
There are four main ways you can help out: locally, virtually, specific tasks, and special projects. If you want to help out locally, contact your local chapter leader. If you want to help out virtually, contact the virtual chapter leader, board member, or call PASS HQ. Finally, if you would like to help out with specific tasks or special projects you’ll want to call PASS HQ or talk directly to a board member or the volunteer in charge of a specific project.