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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).

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.

Information for Current Volunteers

Thank you for volunteering with AIA National and the Center for Emerging Professionals. We appreciate the time that you dedicate to the Institute and we are excited to work with you throughout your volunteer tenure.



Getting Started

There are many volunteer opportunities within the AIA network; we’re excited that you’ve chose to volunteer with AIA National and the Center for Emerging Professionals. Below are some of the items AIA staff will need from you to begin your volunteer experience.

Volunteer Information Form



Please download and complete the National Volunteer Information form below. In addition, please take a moment to review and update your personal information in your AIA profile by visiting Accompanying this form, please provide a 300-word professional biography and a professional photo (view bio and photo requirements below). Send completed materials to

Biography Requirements

In an effort to further integrate emerging professional leaders into the strategic planning and activities of the Institute, volunteers are required to write a professional biography following the guidelines and general outline below:

    • 300-word maximum

    • Education information, including degree(s) and school(s) attended. Dates are not necessary.

    • Credentials earned including licenses, certifications, specialized formal training.

    • Current professional position/title and name of your firm and/or organization.

    • Areas of expertise in the profession of architecture.

    • Areas of interest to you (i.e. AIA Knowledge Communities, strategic initiatives in and surrounding the profession) beyond your committee role(s).

    • Notable prior activities or AIA volunteer positions held.

Additional Tips:

    • DO NOT include personal information or interests unless they clearly relate to or support your participation in AIA activities.

    • DO NOT include personal information such as spouse name, family details, pets, hobbies, etc.

    • DO consider updating your LinkedIn profile. Publicly available resumes are often reviewed for consideration for volunteer opportunities and nominations.

    • DO select a primary email address that will be active for the tenure of your position. If you hope to change jobs do not use your business email. Consider setting up a Gmail account to publicly post on Be advised that all AIA correspondence (email blasts, AIArchitect, etc.) will be sent to only ONE primary email account.

A professional biography will allow emerging professional volunteers to be more easily considered for committee, jury, and task force opportunities that arise throughout the year. Many of these opportunities are nominations made to the AIA President for his/her appointment. This responsibility requires that the President personally review your biography. Please consider this prominent exposure when writing your biography.

Please Note: The AIA reserves the right to edit all biographies not meeting the criteria outlined above.

Professional Photo Requirements

Please send us a professional photo to include with your biography. All photographs should be black and white headshots in portrait orientation. Please provide files in .jpg file format. There is no file size requirement for the photos.

No photographs that are overly personal in nature will be accepted. No one else should be visible in the photograph.

Please Note: The AIA reserves the right to reject all photographs deemed inappropriate for public use on

Committee Funding and Reimbursements



Reimbursement Form

Please download and complete the appropriate reimbursement form below. Completed reimbursement forms must be received within 2 weeks of event. Receipts for all expenditures must accompany the form. No reimbursements will be issued until the event has occurred.

All reimbursement forms should be saved as a pdf and titled "Last Name_First Name.pdf" and submitted with all receipts as ONE pdf file. Please return all forms to


Volunteers are expected to fully prepare for all meetings in advance of arrival. Preparation may include reading supplied materials, preparing talking points and questions, requesting additional information, speaking with Component Executives, regional representatives, and form committee members, if necessary. AIA meetings should be approached like a business trip in terms of decorum, dress, and demeanor. The AIA expects that you will attend and fully participate in all scheduled meetings and events. If you do not attend the meeting that you are being funded to attend, you will forfeit your reimbursement and agree to repay any expenses incurred by the AIA due to your absence.

When AIA National funds are used to support your participation in an event, the AIA expects that you will return this investment through such actions as:

  • Writing a brief report of your involvement in the event, to be distributed to the committee and/or its constituents
  • Communicating your activities and outcomes of the event to your region, component, executive directors, and members
  • Writing an article for a component or national newsletter
  • Providing ideas, suggestions, and “next steps” for future programs and events
  • At Convention you are expected to earn a minimum of 3 CEUs. Failure to attend educational sessions and earn CEUs may result in the forfeit of your reimbursement. Please submit a pdf copy of your AIA transcript with your reimbursements.

Please note: Failure to meet the above expectations may result in forfeit of reimbursement.

Reimbursement Policy

Early bird registration rates will be reimbursed for events required for your volunteer role and approved by the AIA staff liaison. Most AIA committee meetings do not have a registration fee.

The AIA will book lodging on your behalf when you register for an event. The number of nights that will be funded will be noted when you register. Therefore, lodging is not a reimbursable expense. If the AIA has not covered this expense, please contact the committee staff liaison for this meeting to discuss lodging reimbursement. Additional nights may be booked at your personal expense by contacting the AIA meetings department at

The AIA committee staff liaison may authorize an extra night’s stay either before or after a meeting due to travel restriction, particularly in the event that reasonable travel arrangements cannot be obtained (e.g., East Coast to West Coast travel in the same day).

Exceptions to the above lodging reimbursement policy may apply to AIA Grassroots and AIA Convention. Volunteers will be notified in advance of these exceptions. Additional exceptions may be granted if travel options are limited and if approved by the AIA staff liaison in advance.

In connection with AIA business, AIA encourages travel to be booked through AIA’s official travel agency, Ovation Corporate Travel, for committee meetings. All transportation booked through Ovation Corporate Travel (1-800-925-4055) is billed directly to AIA, eliminating out-of pocket expenses. The AIA reimburses airfare up to $500 for reservations not booked with Ovation. Higher costs require prior approval by the staff liaison.

All air travel should be purchased 21 days in advance of travel date. You are required to purchase a nonrefundable ticket (the lowest fare possible). The use of Ovation Corporate Travel eliminates the time required to obtain reimbursement from AIA. Exceptions may be granted where the facts and circumstances make 21-day advance purchases impractical; all such requests must be directed to the Senior Director, Meetings at the AIA. The AIA will only reimburse for the cost of coach airfare.

Baggage fees will be reimbursed for trips longer than three (3) nights. Exceptions may be approved by the AIA staff liaison.

Qualifying travel involving the use of a personal automobile will be reimbursed at the maximum per-mileage rate for business travel established annually by the Internal Revenue Service (currently $0.565/mile). The standard mileage rate for business is based on a biannual study by the Internal Revenue Service of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile. All variable costs include gasoline, repairs, and insurance. Please attach a map of the designated route with mileage, if you are driving. Ground transportation from the volunteer’s hometown and the airport or meeting city will be reimbursed. The use of public transportation is encouraged whenever feasible. Receipts are required for all travel-related expenses, including but not limited to airfare, train fare, mileage, parking, tolls, taxis, and public transportation.

Car rentals are not reimbursable unless approved in advance by the AIA staff liaison. If car rental is a more economical travel option than available flights, an exception may be made.

Meals may be reimbursed on approved days of AIA business-related travel. The reimbursement total for meals is included in the $75 per diem rate. (See “PER DIEM” section below.) Most meals are provided during AIA committee meetings.

The AIA reimburses for meals, taxis, airport shuttles, tolls, airport parking and miscellaneous business related expenses actually incurred, up to the amount of $75 per approved day for AIA related business (inclusive of “Meals” and “Travel” categories above). “Approved days” are defined as travel days to and from an event as well as days that include an overnight stay. The $75 per diem is inclusive of all reasonable expenditures. If AIA has already paid for three meals on a given day, there will not be per diem allotted for that day.

The AIA committee staff liaison may authorize reimbursement of the daily per diem amount for an extra night’s stay either before or after a meeting due to travel restriction. In the event that reasonable travel arrangements cannot be obtained (e.g., East Coast to West Coast travel in the same day), the committee staff liaison may authorize one additional day’s per diem.

Members of the Board of Directors who are part of or involved in committee meetings are subject to the same reimbursement policies as other committee members.

Any additional reimbursement requests that do not fall into the categories above should be entered as “Other” with a brief explanation of the expense. It is recommended that all expenses not directly related to travel be approved by the staff liaison in advance.

Receipts for all expenditures over $25.00 must accompany the Request for Reimbursement form. The completed Request for Reimbursement form must be received within two weeks of the event.

Expenses for guests and significant others will not be reimbursed. Reimbursements will not be given to one volunteer on behalf of another. Other non-reimbursable expenses include, but are not limited to:

  • Car rental
  • Telephone expenses
  • Internet access
  • Room service
  • Personal entertainment (i.e. in-room/in-flight movies, golf outings, spa services)
  • Travel insurance


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