Information for Volunteer Professionals
Whether you happened upon this page or were asked by a BAAMA member to volunteer your time, thank you for considering participating in Connections. Your efforts enrich the GIS profession by helping those new to the field. We sometimes forget what it took to learn about the profession, determine what direction to take, and get established.
Being a Volunteer Professional is simple. All you need is a little time and the desire to share your experience, one of the easiest and most rewarding ways to help others.
GIS professionals choose to participate in BAAMA Connections for a number of reasons. On the broadest level, volunteers enrich the profession by disseminating what they've learned over years of work. Connections makes sharing easy and effective.
Besides enhancing their profession, Volunteer Professionals give an invaluable boost to fellow BAAMA members who are new to the profession. Volunteer Professionals inform them about specializations within the profession, work environments, and required skills. Informational interviews enable Students and New Professionals to focus your experience to provide the most value for their situations.
Volunteer Professionals find it rewarding to interact with Students and New Professionals, who tend to be excited by their new profession, well prepared for the interview, and appreciative of the time and experience shared by the Volunteer Professionals. The process helps some Volunteer Professionals get a fresh perspective and recapture the enthusiasm they felt starting out in GIS.
Some volunteers are deeply rewarded by the opportunity to repay the help they received from professionals more experienced than themselves. Whether from contact with a mentor, boss, or colleague, many of us have benefited enormously from the help offered by others. Volunteering is one way to acknowledge those benefits and continue the tradition of helping others professionally.
What Does Volunteering Entail?
To volunteer, simply fill out and submit the the information indicated in the Contact/Apply page. For posting on the web, the Coordinator will omit identifying information such as your contact information (except for your first name and general location). This information will be provided only when a Student or New Professional requests it from the Connections Coordinator, who will notify you by email that you will soon be contacted.
The Student or New Professional will contact you to arrange an interview by phone or email, according to your preference. The two of you will agree on the details of the informational interview, such as the day and time, location, and length of the interview.
As for the format of the meeting, we suggest an in-person interview. This allows for a richer experience than being interviewed by phone or email, but those are formats some Volunteer Professionals might prefer. You will indicate your preferences on the application.
BAAMA Connections asks that Students and New Professionals conduct themselves professionally. This includes knowing how to conduct an informational interview, having questions prepared, arriving on time, and respecting time limits. We make it clear that Connections is not a job placement program. Under no circumstance may they ask for a job, although they may ask if your organization is hiring or about its hiring practices. If their conduct does not satisfy these requirements, we ask that you inform the Connections Coordinator.
You are not expected to know every detail about the GIS profession. Your experience alone is enough to be of great value to someone new to the field. If you are being interviewed for the first time, you might want to look over the Sample Informational Interview Questions in the Sample Materials page.
If you have questions or comments about the program, please contact the Connections Coordinator. And thanks for considering helping out by participating in BAAMA Connections!