• Volunteering Opportunities

    Ways to Help the Club

    Like many non-profit organizations, reliance on volunteers is essential. With no paid staff, what gets done is the result of the hard work and commitment of volunteers. What follows are ways in which you can help your club achieve its mission while gaining the personal satisfaction that comes from participating in a good cause. You will also learn a lot from your efforts.

    Our Mission

    • Promote the science of Astronomy by offering a forum for the interaction and collaboration of amateur and professional astronomers and members of the general public; 
    • Engage in outreach activities for children and adults that excite and educate about the wonders of our universe;
    • Assist schools and libraries with curricula and special projects related to Astronomy;
    • Collaborate with local astronomical societies in the above objectives
    • Actively engage as a member of the International Dark Sky Association in efforts to curtail light pollution and preserve dark Maine skies.

    Club Organization

    • Dark Sky – engage in proactive efforts to control light pollution
    • Equipment – manage club assets and operate the Equipment Lending program
    • Fundraising – seek additional outside sources of funding and build an endowment
    • Membership – Maintain and grow membership, manage in person meetings (once resumed) and member recognition
    • Outreach – Manage star party requests and club-scheduled events; external communications
    • Program – Monthly meeting content (especially main speaker), design and communication and special programs for member education

    Each of these committees has a board member as chair and usually one other board member for support and back-up. Regular members of the club can join these committees to help out as they can

    Ways in which you could volunteer to help our club and committees achieve our mission:

    • Dark Sky:
      • Gather local news stories on light pollution topics including proposed lighting ordinance changes in our footprint communities;
      • Research local lighting ordinances in search of model standards
      • Serve as a club liaison to others working on light pollution issues
      • Become a club outreach speaker on the topic of light pollution to civic organizations, clubs, etc., to raise awareness
      • Organize a Globe at Night observing session or a “Seeing Stars” community lights-out event
      • Write letters to the editor of local papers
      • Help develop a recognition program by SMA for good actors (businesses or communities who use lighting responsibly)
      • Identify Dark Sky observing sites in SMA footprint communities & put on website


    • Equipment:
      • Assist with incoming donations to evaluate them for “Retain for Club Use,” “Equipment Lending Program” or “Sell”
      • For items to be sold, prepare for market, photograph, and place ads; negotiate final price
      • Participate in Check-out / Check-in process for club Equipment Lending program
      • Obtain user manuals for all club equipment and basic operating instructions for all Equipment Lending program telescopes
      • Maintain and Fix Club Equipment
      • Maintain shed
      • Assist with the Library Telescope Program in concert with Cornerstones of Science
      • Maintain an up-to-date inventory of all equipment for insurance and management purposes
      • Develop a wish list for accessories to club equipment or new instruments on the market useful to the club mission


    • Fundraising:
      • Help identify prospective funding sources of local and regional foundations
      • Grant writing; proof reading
      • Follow-up reports to grantors
      • Develop program for bequests/ estate plan funding


    • Membership:
      • Provide high-touch follow up with new members – a warm welcome
      • Renewal thank you communications
      • Devise relevant surveys of the membership
      • Search out local student astronomy clubs; liaise with same to grow student membership
      • Assist with LLBean/club logoed clothing items promotion, ordering and distribution
      • Analyze membership trends: growth/attrition, and why
      • When in-person meetings resume, act as greeters
      • When in-person meetings resume, manage refreshments, name tags, etc.
      • Point of Contact for inquiries to club from Google Groups, SMA website and NSN 
      • Assist with developing a recognition program for distinguished service by members


    • Outreach:
      • Help recruit volunteers for ad hoc star party requests
      • Help recruit volunteers for monthly Neptune Drive star parties; Open House
      • Participate in star parties as laser-pointer constellation tour guide, telescope operator, speaker, welcome table, general helper
      • Develop star party content
      • Research/advise Board on “safety of children standards”
      • Maintain/expand Media contacts lists
      • Coordinate outgoing SMA communications on meetings, events
      • Expand SMA social media presence to new platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, etc.
      • Develop lists of area Middle and High School science teachers for club outreach
      • Website management and enhancements
      • Newsletter


    • Program:
      • Help recruit speakers
      • Periodically review meeting format for time allocation, content
      • Recruit club members to present 5-minute bios on famous/little known astronomers
      • Publicize club meetings and other educational events inside and outside the club
      • Help develop programs and content for new member education
      • Assist with meeting summary preparation
      • Assist with recording meetings on Zoom, editing and then posting to an appropriate platform
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