Linda Ruggeri speaking on a panel about volunteering at EFACON 2023. Photo credit: Annan Productions.
All the great things that have happened in my career as a freelance editor and writer are connected by one strong continuous thread: volunteering. Volunteering opened, and continues to open, a myriad of wonderful, fun doors where I’ve met so many great people I collaborate with on a daily basis. Genuine and non-transactional networking. Volunteering at EFACON 2023 as director of programming was no exception.
And it turns out, I’m not alone in that experience. During the panel “Freelancing Success: Where Networking and Volunteering Meet,” EFA members Marcella Lopez, Brittany Dowdle, Tenesha Curtis, Kellie M. Hultgren, and myself, discussed how to stretch your comfort zone and learn to say YES to opportunities, what questions you should ask about volunteering roles, how to set boundaries and implement self-care to avoid burnout, and when it’s maybe you who needs to create the opportunity for others. We weren’t sure people would be interested in the topic, but it ended up being a packed room with standing room only.
Give yourself permission to volunteer for something you enjoy and believe in, and then let the magic happen. And if you don’t know where to start, look at the Editorial Freelancers Association. We are always looking for volunteers to pitch in and make a difference.
Director of Programming, EFACON 2023
Director, EFA Welcome Program