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Volunteer at the AIA

Volunteer Opportunities

There are many volunteer opportunities within the AIA network. After you decide how you can best serve as a volunteer, explore the various national opportunities available via AIA committees and AIA Knowledge Communities. Visit the emerging professional committee webpages below to learn more about the National Associates Committee (NAC) and the Young Architects Forum (YAF).

Are you a current AIA National volunteer? View information for current volunteers >>

What it Takes to Volunteer at the AIA

Do you think you have what it takes to volunteer with the AIA? We are always looking for energetic and enthusiastic volunteers that want to make a positive change on the profession.

A volunteer should have the following attributes:



Proven Performance

Leadership requires knowledge, talent, skill, vitality, and the ability to make a difference. In an association, this often translates into contributing to the success of programs, events, or projects. Keep track of your contributions and build your professional resume with volunteer activities.


Serving as an association leader is an honor and a privilege, but it also requires a demonstrated commitment to the organization and its missions and goals. Read about the mission of the AIA here.

Understanding Team Work

It takes many people working together to achieve goals and objectives at an association. Well-developed interpersonal and communication skills are essential to effective teamwork.

Ability to Think Strategically

Volunteers must be able to leave personal agendas and politics at the door in order to work for the greater good of the entire organization.

Exemplary Personal Conduct

A volunteer’s behavior and attitude can greatly influence others in the association. The AIA looks for positive attitudes that are optimistic and ready for a challenge.

Organizational Experience

To learn about the AIA and take small steps into the world of volunteering, it often is best to start at the local level. After a few successes at the local level it may be worth considering volunteering at the state, regional, or national level as well. Once involved, more and more opportunities will come your way.

Logistics of Volunteering

Before you commit to a volunteer position, please consider the following:



Time to Serve

Participating fully in association activities requires extra time to prepare for, travel to, and attend meetings. Do you have the support of your employer and family to volunteer? Volunteering usually includes conference calls during business hours and follow-up work during your free time. Do you have enough free time to commit to the AIA?

Good Health

The often hectic and strenuous pace of volunteer leadership requires good mental and physical condition. Volunteering will add one more potential stress to your daily life; if you cannot handle additional responsibilities at this time that is ok. The AIA will still be here when life calms down and you have time to volunteer.

Support Systems

The extra effort required of volunteer leaders involves a substantial time commitment. Before you volunteer, talk about the time implications of the commitment with your employer and your family. Grassroots and Convention typically require a few days out of the office and away from home. Other commitments may include conference calls, attending local events, or developing a program which may be easier to fit into a busy schedule.

Financial Stability

The AIA will reimburse volunteers for approved expenses related to travel, meals, and supplies. Though the AIA does try to reimburse all volunteers in a timely manner, it may take up to 8 weeks after an event occurs for a check to arrive. If travel is booked a month in advance of the trip, the volunteer must be able to cover the cost without financial hardship for up to three months.

Source: John B. Cox, Professional Practices in Association Management: The Essential Resource for Effective Management of Nonprofit Organizations (ASAE & The Center for Association Leadership; 2nd Edition 2007), page 7.


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