From student to peer, I am often confronted with questions related to the Return on Investment in RGD and similar organizations. “Is it worth the fees?” and “What do I get out of it?” are often the questions fielded. For this designer, joining RGD is less about how it will benefit me, and more about what benefits are provided to all of us. RGD, GDC and other industry-based organizations are here for us. They organize events suited to our interests; they give us the opportunity to meet industry heavyweights; they commission research important to our industry and they advocate for us when others devalue our services.
As a professional, I believe it is critical that I be a Member of those organizations that are champions for the industry in which I practice. Quite simply, we should support organizations that support us. Cost, value and perks are not part of the equation. My decision to join RGD is based on community and advocacy.
It is a cliché that “you only get out what you put into it,” but I believe it wholeheartedly. Organizations like RGD expend great effort organizing events, bringing the community together, raising awareness of what we do in our day-to-day work. The ability of these organizations to do what they do depends on our involvement and engagement. Our regular participation allows organizations like RGD to run more events, have a wider reach and attract the best in the industry. And, our feedback ensures the organization is providing content we want.
The first week, I joined RGD, I was welcomed by the Executive Director and shortly thereafter by other staff and volunteers. Encouraged to fill-in my profile, I did. Asked if would be interested in contributing a case study, I was. Invited to participate as a judge for the So(cial) Good Design Awards, I accepted. I look forward to other opportunities that I expect will arise in the future. At this point, I have so enjoyed the opportunities RGD has provided, I cannot see turning down any request they might make for my future involvement. The more actively I engage, the more I get out of this relationship.
Living on the East Coast, away from the centre that is Ontario, I don’t have access to the same quantity of events and opportunities, however the staff and volunteers have worked to bridge that divide, ensuring I feel—no, I am—part of a greater community. If I have questions, or need to contact a designer with a special expertise or area of knowledge somewhere else in the country, RGD has been there to connect me, via their online directory or through requests to help make connections.
Take advantage of the great opportunities RGD offers. Go to an event, contribute a case study or new project, mentor an emerging designer or get involved on a Committee. Our involvement creates a stronger design community. And this is perhaps the greatest reward of Membership: deeper sense of community.
I joined for greater exposure for my company. But I do not measure ROI in RGD based on that. For this designer, joining RGD is about becoming more committed to an industry. It’s about getting to know your peers and letting them get to know me. It's about making lifelong connections and having support on issues that matter to us all. I feel pride in being a Member of the RGD community, valued for my many contributions to the growth of our community as for my annual support in Membership dues.