Ways to volunteer

NASW is an organization that relies on the energy and enthusiasm of volunteers. As volunteers, members can help shape programming as part of a committee or working group, lead or contribute to projects and programs, or run for the board. NASW member volunteers are recognized each year in our ScienceWriters member magazine, as well as via our annual Diane McGurgan Volunteer Service Awards. Thank you to all who contribute and help NASW reflect the needs and interests of members.

Below is a list of currently open calls for volunteers.

  • Diversity Committee
  • Finance Committee
  • Information Access Committee

    Awards Committee

    The Awards Committee is excited to seek candidates for its long-term volunteer opportunities. The committee organizes the annual Science in Society (SIS) Journalism Awards and the Excellence in Institutional Writing Awards (EIWA).

    Project Volunteers: We are looking for enthusiastic volunteers to join us in carrying out various tasks during the upcoming awards cycle (February to October 2023). These include publicizing the awards through various channels and screening entries for eligibility. We have openings for both the SIS Awards and EIWA. These positions have a minimum term of one award cycle. (Filled — thanks to all who answered this call!)

    Coordinators: These are longer-term volunteer positions with a minimum term of three years. Awards Coordinators work closely with the committee chairs to manage the awards programs, including recruiting judges, overseeing the judging process and ensuring that internal deadlines are met. Coordinators may also participate in preparing press releases, budget requests and annual reports for the board. (Filled — thanks to all who answered this call!)

    Diversity Committee

    The Diversity Committee is growing and in need of additional members. At NASW, we believe that efforts to increase diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility should infuse all programs, projects, and initiatives. Similarly, we believe these efforts should be the work of all members, and we encourage interested volunteers to join in the important work being done by members of the Diversity Committee.

    A little about the Diversity Committee, which was founded in 2014.

    • The Diversity Committee manages several grant programs, which award ~$20,000 annually;
    • The Committee leads multiple projects that support BIPOC students and writers, including its flagship Summer Diversity Fellowship, which allows students and early-career journalists from underrepresented groups to take on internships in otherwise unaffordable cities;
    • The Committee develops ideas for new programs and projects, and regularly consults with the board and other committees to support diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility.

    The Diversity Committee meets twice a year and communicates primarily by email.

    The Diversity Committee is especially looking for volunteers to help with the following opportunities:

    • Diversity Summer Fellowship Program
      Committee members are working on transforming this flagship Fellowship. Members put out a call for applications, recruit judges — or serve as a judge, reviewing applications. The active period is generally February-May, with the majority of the judging taking place in May.

    • Culture Dish
      Committee members handle the @culturedish Twitter account, where we highlight diversity in science writing, as well as RT job postings so that more BIPOC people can see them.

    • Diversity Reporting Grants
      Committee members develop the call for applications, recruit judges if needed, help review applications, and deliver the good news to winners. Staff assist with the administrative aspects. The active period is generally three months beginning in autumn. We’re currently looking at ways to shape these grants to better serve our community.

    Can you help? Interested volunteers should send a note to diversity@nasw.org. In the note, tell us a little bit about yourself and let us know which program or program(s) you would like to be part of or what you are most interested in helping with.

    Finance Committee

    The Finance Committee is looking for a few additional members interested in helping oversee NASW's finances and balance the organization’s budget. The committee meets almost every month to review NASW finances, including quarterly reviews of the organization’s income and expenditures, and also help support NASW's annual independent audit. Committee members prepare a proposed budget every year for the NASW board to review, and try to balance NASW’s long-term financial stability and the organization’s ability to continue funding critical grants and programs for our members.

    Recent initiatives proposed by the Finance Committee have included setting hardship rates for membership renewals and a discounted introductory rate for new members to help members dealing with pandemic-related financial hardships; implementing standardized NASW membership rates for U.S., Canada, and international members; offering discounted dues for members based in low- and middle-income countries.

    No specific experience necessary to join, although keep in mind the more interactive nature of this committee and its critical role in keeping our association running smoothly. Anyone with an interest in understanding how NASW works from within, working with budgets and numbers, and sustaining member benefits like fellowships, grants, and conferences — would be a great fit. Likewise, anyone looking to build their career skills in organizational finance and management would benefit from this volunteer experience.

    If you are interested in joining or have questions, please email NASW Treasurer Shraddha Chakradhar.

    Information Access Committee

    Do you want to improve how public scientific information is shared with the public? If so, please consider joining the NASW Information Access Committee.

    COVID-19, climate change, and other scientific issues dominate the news. The need for the public to understand how science agencies function, make decisions, conduct and interpret research, and interact with the press has never been greater.

    In the past few years, the Information Access Committee has brought together journalists and PIOs for an "Information Access Summit." At the summit, we drafted, then published a set of information access standards to guide interactions between journalists, PIOs and sources at federal agencies. We’ve surveyed NASW members about challenges faced when accessing government sources and experiences accessing and sharing public information, authored numerous letters that called for greater transparency and access to government experts and sources, and assisted members with FOIA requests.

    We are currently developing our plans for 2022 and beyond and would love to have your help to advance this important cause.

    All NASW members, including journalists, PIOs, and other science communication professionals, are encouraged to join. No specific experience is necessary; the only requirement is a strong commitment to transparency and a belief that public information should be public. Please email teresacarey003@gmail.com to join or if you have questions about the committee.

    Annual Volunteer Calls

    Some volunteer needs follow a rough annual pattern. Watch the website for volunteer calls during these times:

    Questions? Contact aed@nasw.org

    Committee chairs: Are you in need of volunteers for your committee or help with a special project? Write up a call and send it to aed@nasw.org for posting here.

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