Hi, my name is Kendall and I have a hard time saying no.
It’s not as if my household with two kids, two careers, and two dogs really has room for tons of volunteer activities, too. But I can’t help myself.
At the ScienceWriters 2013 meeting in Gainesville last week, though, I was reminded why I continue to raise my hand despite my busy life. This is my larger tribe, the wider community of science writers. And I care about making sure it is the best community it can be. It sounds corny. But it’s the truth.
I’ve been a member of the NASW Freelance Committee for the past seven years. It’s a group of freelancers from all corners of the science writing world who work quietly behind the scenes to try to make NASW a better organization for freelancers. I’m proud to say that I think we’ve done that. The Freelance Committee has written reports about health insurance, tax issues, media liability and business entity formation for freelancers. It has also created Words’ Worth, a pay rate database open to all members, and the forthcoming contracts database.
Finally, this year, I’ve had the pleasure of putting together the NASW Compensation Survey to gather information about how our members are paid for their work as writers. The data will be available next spring and will help establish standard ranges of rates for all the various types of freelance assignments that we do. It’s been a labor of love for the Freelance Committee for the past three years that required hacking through some red tape and overcoming inertia. After all, almost all of NASW works on a volunteer basis and our personal lives and workloads often interfere. Those of us who persevere do so because it’s work worth doing.
As Sarah Webb [bio] described earlier, volunteerism is a good way to break into a new organization. But for me, it’s a good way to stay connected to the professional organization that I call home. To work within that organization–imperfect and overstretched though it may be–is a privilege to make things better for the whole tribe.
NASW members can volunteer on any of several committees, including Program, Workshops, Education, Freelance, and Finance. I encourage everyone to get involved and spread the love.
Image credit: random act of kind colleague