I’ve been a longtime member of a private, mostly virtual network of 250+ DC-area freelancers who specialize in various areas within the field of communications (writers, editors, technical experts, web programmers, designers, marketing experts, etc.). A colleague of mine from a freelance gig back in 2000 recommended me for membership, and I did the same for another colleague with whom I’ve worked since the mid-90s.
I haven’t made it to very many of the monthly meetings, as worthwhile as they are, because the location is not close enough to my home office to make it worth the commuting time (usually midday on a Friday, which tends to be deadline day). But I’ve stayed in the group because of the many virtual benefits of being an email away from a few hundred great minds with lots of great advice on all things freelance.
Today I received an email from the group’s founder and most passionate cheerleader, explaining what membership in the group means, how it works, and how it has enhanced everyone’s professional experience. I thought it was so concise and well-written that I wanted to post it here (sans identifying information, of course).
Membership can be extended to anybody any of our members feel (1) would benefit from such membership and (2) would be a benefit to the other members.
(1) [The group] differs from other lists and online groups in that we are a community. Some of what we share online is strictly business – rates, job leads, articles. Much is not – announcements of personal triumphs, pleas for pet causes, the occasional bit of humor. All is offered warmly and accepted graciously, because in [our group], everybody is somebody’s friend.
(2) [The group's] only criterion for membership is that the person being recommended be someone whose work the sponsor can vouch for. That criterion gives us the comfort of knowing that everybody in [the group] is considered by someone else to be a pro…
We are an unusual group, and the reason we work so well is that everyone here wants to be here and wants to contribute to the group’s continued success. It’s quality (of relationships and interactions), not quantity (of member rolls), that we’re all about.
Amen to that.