Why you should volunteer for a professional body

November 12th, 2019

Last night at the CIPR Inside AGM it was announced that I will be stepping down from the committee at the end of the year (and passing the Vice Chair baton to the lovely Martin Flegg).

After three and a half years I felt it was time for a break – I’ve achieved a huge amount and it’s now time to make way for some new people with fresh ideas.

The Inside committee is now looking for new members, so this is your chance to get involved. But what does being involved actually mean?

What does a committee member do?

Being part of the committee is a big commitment – you’re involved in driving the profession forward after all! It’s easy to forget that every person on the committee is a volunteer delivering all the fantastic events, guides, webinars etc in their spare time. And the social team are in a different league – we have a team of four who ensure that we’re active on social media every single day.

So why do it? Because it’s incredibly rewarding to do something that makes a difference, to be a part of making internal communication a profession to be proud of. And it’s even better to do it alongside people you trust, that make you laugh and inspire you.

On a practical level, there’s regular calls and face-to-face meetings, a WhatsApp group with regular conversation and you’ll also be part of subgroups responsible for delivering certain things such as running the social media feeds, organising an event, writing a skills guide, conducting research, or organising the conference.

You can also share your ideas on how to best support members and find a team of willing IC professionals ready to help you make it a reality.

What did I achieve on the committee?

I can’t believe three and a half years have whizzed by already and I’m so grateful for the amount I was able to be involved in under three different Chairs (Steve Murgatroyd, Jenni Field and Advita Patel). In that time I:

  • Contributed to two research reports
  • Contributed to an ethics guide
  • Contributed to a GDPR guide
  • Took part in webinars
  • Spoke on stage multiple times
  • Organised events on the topics of ethics and mental health
  • Helped organise three conferences
  • Judged awards
  • Ran a subgroup to support content creation
  • Raised my profile within the industry
  • Gained experience on how to support and communicate with a team of volunteers
  • Found a network of supportive internal comms professionals.

Volunteering for professional bodies has been one of the best things I’ve done. It’s given me skills, knowledge, confidence and friends. And it’s that last point that has made leaving the hardest decision. The people on the committee (past and present) are exceptionally committed, talented, kind and generous and I feel very privileged to have worked alongside them.

The 2019 Inside committee (minus me!)

I want to say a special thank you previous Chairs Jenni and Steve, and to Advita for her passion and drive to push the profession forward. The sheer amount of hours she puts in alongside a full time job is incredible and she still has the energy and enthusiasm to inspire a group of volunteers to achieve brilliance.

And a huge thank you to the 2019 committee (Martin, Jenni, Debbie, Dan, Marsha, Sam, Noel, Trudy, Sara and Katie) – we achieved a huge amount this year and I am so proud of all of us and the way we worked together. It has truly been an absolute pleasure.


To volunteer for the Inside committee, contact Advita Patel (@advita_p).


Categories: CIPR insideInternal communicationVolunteering

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“Helen’s passion for her profession shines through very clearly and she manages to combine her deep knowledge of internal communications with a mix of pragmatism and fresh thinking. She is a delight to work with and has a high level of integrity.”

Richard Fitzmaurice, TMF Group