I’ve been a GMC member for several years and have taken advantage of many programs, including being paired with a mentor that helped me through a very stressful transition and taking advantage of the membership stipend when I lost my job during the pandemic. I now have a great job (thank goodness) and feel like I’m in a position where I have time to give back to the proposal community. But I’m stuck on how to do that. What opportunities are there and how do I get involved?
I’m a big fan of the term “first and foremost,” but here I’m at a loss for where to begin. I want to simultaneously acknowledge the tough time you’ve had, congratulate you on making it through, commend you for taking advantage of the resources GMC offers, and express my excitement that you are looking at becoming more involved. I’m a whirlwind of emotions over here, so just know that is all swirling around in my head as I launch into the more practical side of my response.
Believe it or not, how to get involved in the chapter is one of the questions I get asked most often, second only to “where did you get those glasses” (my optometrist) and “how did you get to be so tall” (you’ll have to ask my parents). If I’m feeling a little sassy I’ll just say “raise your hand,” but I acknowledge that it is not as easy as that. First, I’m going to give you a secret look into the workings of your GMC Board of Directors and how stuff gets done. Second, I’m going to give you some tips to narrow down the many ways you could get involved to discover what makes sense for you.
How GMC Works
So first, there is APMP as a whole. APMP International includes a few paid staff members that are advised and supported by a (volunteer) Board of Directors. APMP sets the main direction of the association, while regional chapters operate with their own (volunteer) Board of Directors. The GMC Board, for example, has 18 members. There is also a slew of (volunteer) committee members that support the programs that GMC offers.
Let’s all pause for a moment and give a “thank you!” to all the volunteers helping to make this chapter and the whole association a success. If you’re feeling extra grateful, maybe send a note or two to someone who has made a particular impact on you.
So, the secret to getting involved? There is no secret. All of the Board members and committee members are just like you: professionals in the business of winning business who also want to support others. When people ask me how to get involved and I say “raise your hand,” it really is as simple as that. But, I would encourage everyone to be thoughtful about how and when to raise your hand.
How and When to Raise Your Hand
There are a lot of opportunities to give back and get involved. Before launching into something, it’s worth it to take a step back and think not only about what skills you have that you can give back, but what benefits you might gain. You are much more likely to have success and stay engaged in the endeavors that make you feel energized or challenged in a good way. Here are some ideas of how to get involved based on what you are drawn to, what could make you step outside your comfort zone, or what you are seeking.
· I am energized by: Being social with others and planning parties.
· I want to challenge myself by: Reaching out to others.
· I am seeking: A broader local professional network.
· Solution: Organize a local meetup. We’ll provide you with the framework, all you need to do is pick a time and place and invite local GMC members.
· I am energized by: sharing ideas.
· I want to challenge myself by: developing my presentation skills.
· I am seeking: to establish myself as an expert.
· Solution: Host a webinar or present at the next symposium. Share your passion and expertise with other professionals in the industry. Not sure if you are ready for a full presentation? Think about a topic you could share on our Shortlisted Podcast.
· I am energized by: creating and driving new projects.
· I want to challenge myself by: coming up with a new idea.
· I am seeking: something out of the ordinary.
· Solution: Create a new program! GMC is all about innovating and implementing new ideas around creating new content and resources for our members. Reach out to one of our board members, or if you aren’t sure who to contact, drop a line to [email protected].
· I am energized by: content and social media.
· I want to challenge myself by: writing for a broader audience.
· I am seeking: the creativity of writing and marketing.
· Solution: Write content for our blog or social media. We have a lot going on, and providing valuable content to our members is paramount to our mission! If you aren’t ready to write something yourself, liking and commenting on our LinkedIn page is also immensely helpful in spreading the word.
· I am energized by: supporting and advising others.
· I want to challenge myself by: taking a different perspective.
· I am seeking: opportunities to share my perspective.
· Solution: Volunteer to review resumes or become a mentor. No, you do not have to be a 20-year veteran of the industry to help others advance their career (though that certainly does not hurt!). Anyone with a few years of experience can offer a unique perspective that will help others.
· I am energized by: I don’t know.
· I want to challenge myself by: I’m figuring that out.
· I am seeking: to know what will help me.
· Solution: raise your hand to serve on a committee! Send a note to [email protected] to let the Board know you are interested. Or, talk to a mentor, trusted colleague, or Board Member to brainstorm ideas.
Well, you made it to the end of a very long blog. Kudos to you for having the interest in finding ways that you can get involved and Give Back to your GMC community. I sincerely hope you can find the activity that piques your interest and Gives You the energy or challenge you are seeking.
Do you have a proposal problem? A sticky situation with a submission? Send your questions to Dear GMC using our online form here.
Just a little disclaimer: The advice offered in this column is intended for informational purposes only. Use of this column is not intended to replace or substitute any financial, medical, legal, or other professional advice. This column, its author, and APMP GMC are not responsible for the outcome or results of following any advice in any given situation. You, and only you, are completely responsible for your actions.
Heather Finch first encountered the acronym “RFP” when seeking ways to diversify funding sources for a human services company in 2012 and hasn’t looked back since. Since then, she’s moved on to lead proposal teams in both the commercial and government sectors, refining processes and developing efficiencies along the way.