Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the new PPAI Volunteer Engagement Model?
  2. How did PPAI arrive at the recommendations included in the new Volunteer Engagement Model?
  3. How will the new model differ from the current one?
  4. How will the roles of the Board, staff and the volunteers change?
  5. How will information about the work of the Standing Committees, Action Groups and Task Forces be communicated in the future?

Q: What is the new PPAI Volunteer Engagement Model?

The PPAI Board of Directors in 2012 moved forward a Board-approved motion known as “Self-Define,” based on recommendations made by a PPAI committee to rebrand volunteer action groups as committees and allow all committees to self-define their own mission statements and job descriptions including term of service among other criteria. This new 2012 Board-approved motion allows for a more efficient and effective volunteer experience for all volunteers.

The new model and looking ahead
The new Board-approved motion known as “Self-Define,” allows each committee to self-define their mission statements and job descriptions and review them on a yearly basis to ensure they are efficiently and effectively carrying out work that addresses ongoing and essential strategic missions important to the Association, the industry and PPAI members. The volunteer model still has four components that offer a variety of ways for volunteers to participate and provide value. The four choices reflect PPAI’s understanding that volunteers may wish to be involved for different reasons, that some are constrained by time and work from participating the same way as others and that some association projects are strategic while some are more tactical.

Volunteer Resource Pool — Be More Accessible! — Open to all members. Participants who may be asked to join standing committees, task forces and advisory groups; complete surveys; participate on conference calls; serve on focus groups; work on a “Shared Volunteer Program” project with a regional association; or offer their feedback, ideas and opinions about Association programs and services in a variety of other ways.

Committees — Be More Focused! — Address ongoing and essential strategic missions important to the Association, or industry.

  • Broader strategic assignment
  • Fixed job descriptions
  • Fixed term for members
  • Fixed meeting schedule
  • Regular reporting to the Board of Directors
  • Fixed size (three-year maximum term limit unless appointed Chair in second year which would allow for a fourth year of committee service)
  • Restricted company representation (no more than one volunteer per member company represented per committee)


  1. Awards & Recognition Committee
  2. Certification Committee
  3. Distributors Committee
  4. Events Committee
  5. Leadership Advisory Committee (LAC)
  6. Marketing Information & Research Committee
  7. Membership Services Committee
  8. PPB Editorial Committee
  9. Professional Development Committee
  10. Suppliers Committee
  11. Technology Committee
  12. Regional Association Council (RAC) will maintain its current structure and still function as a committee of PPAI. The RAC Board’s composition and terms of service differ from PPAI’s other committees and will not change due to election requirements to serve on the RAC Board.
  13. Promotional Products Education Foundation (PPEF) will maintain its current structure and only be listed in order to inform volunteers of its existence.
  14. Promotional Products Education Foundation (PPEF) is governed by an 18-member Board of Trustees with trustees serving three-year terms with the option to run for two terms. PPEF Trustees are determined through a nomination and election process with a focus on establishing a diversified Board spread across the country and representing a variety of membership categories.

    Trustees provide fiscal oversight and are morally responsible for carrying out the mission and goals of PPEF. Each trustee is expected to commit his/her time, talent and financial resources to the organization. As part of service on the Board, trustees are assigned to one of five committees: Fundraising, Scholarship, Marketing, Recognition, or Strategic Planning/Budget. Trustees are expected to actively participate in the committee work to assist with the operation of the Foundation. All trustees are expected to assist with fundraising efforts directly and indirectly by serving as ambassadors in their local regions and making introductions for the Fundraising Committee.

Advisory Groups — Be More Flexible!
— Focused on specific tactical assignments and offer flexibility with time commitments, meetings, group size and multiple volunteer opportunities:

  • Focused tactical assignment
  • Normally recurring meetings
  • Flexible term
  • Flexible focus for advisory projects
  • Flexible meeting schedule on as-needed basis
  • Occasional reporting to the Board of Directors
  • Flexible group size
  • Non-restrictive company representation (multiple volunteers from a member company are allowed)

Advisory Groups:

  1. Government Relations Advisory Council (GRAC)
  2. Product Responsibility Advisory Group (PRAG)
  3. Public Relations Advisory Group (PR)

Task Forces — Be More Goal-oriented!  
Assigned to review and evaluate strategic initiatives, or issues determined by the Board to have a significant impact for the Association, or industry:

  • Normally strategic issue
  • Normally one-time/non-recurring
  • Board-assigned with special budget allocation
  • Report recommendations to the Board

Q: How did PPAI arrive at the recommendations included in the new Volunteer Engagement Model?

The Board-approved motion known as “Self-Define” was approved after receiving four separate motions recommended to the Board after a full 360-review process was conducted on orders from the PPAI Board of Directors. After a 360-process training session was held at the Leadership Development Workshop in June 2012, the 360-review process was launched which investigated volunteer experiences and feedback received by PPAI committees, committee chairs, volunteers, the Board of Directors and PPAI staff who were either satisfied, or dissatisfied with the previous action groups and standing committee volunteer model. The 360-review process was conducted and meetings were held by conference call to consider options and developed four separate motions for the Board to consider as an update to the volunteer model. After careful review of all four motions, the motion “Self-Define” was approved by the Board in October 2012.

Q: How will the new model differ from the current one?

We have moved away from action groups which limited volunteers to a short-term service project that many volunteers felt demoted them from full, active committee service. We have rebranded the action groups to committees and have allowed each committee to self-define their committee’s mission statement and develop a job description. The new model includes four key components:

1. Volunteer Resource Pool — Be More Diverse! — Establishes a diverse pool of volunteers to be engaged through surveys, focus groups, assignments to advisory groups, committees with open positions and appointments to task forces. Volunteers in the volunteer pool can also choose to work on projects established by the Shared Volunteer Program that PPAI has created to assist the regional associations. This volunteer pool will include PPAI members not assigned to a committee. There are typically more volunteers than are currently identified for committee service and volunteers will have more options to offer their ideas, expertise and viewpoints on a variety of projects needing volunteer input with an industry perspective.

In order to be entered into the volunteer pool, PPAI members must complete a volunteer profile on the Volunteer Central website. The profile captures the experiences and interests of individuals and will be key to successfully aligning our volunteers to the types of service they really want to be involved in.

2. Committees — Be More Focused! — All action groups will now be rebranded as committees as well as keeping the five standing committees as currently structured in the PPAI Policies and Procedures, with the committees being able to self-define their mission statements and job descriptions. Areas for committees to self-define include mission statement, term length, meeting frequency, number of committee members and project members, ideal education background, occupation, relevant skills, industry certification, industry experience, previous volunteer service and any P&P requirements. The standing committees per the PPAI Bylaws and P&P are: Regional Association Council Board, Leadership Advisory Committee (LAC), Suppliers Committee, Distributors Committee and Certification Committee. Non-Bylaw committees known as committees are: Awards & Recognition, Events, Marketing Information and Research, Membership Services, PPB Editorial, Professional Development and Technology. These committees will reach out more actively to gain our members’ feedback on their respective agendas and to ask for opinions and suggestions.

Both the Distributors and Suppliers Committees represent the interests of our two largest membership constituencies and we want to maintain that connection to our members. The RAC Board has a unique place in our structure and provides a solid bridge between the regional associations and PPAI. The LAC is a critical link to our identification of new, interested volunteers wishing to serve at any number of levels. The Certification Committee’s role has always been different from other committees and PPAI believes it is important to maintain the committee and its singular focus on the industry’s certification program.

3. Advisory Groups — Be More Flexible! — These have been carved out of the active committees and are more flexible groups of volunteers interacting with staff and the Board in the form of advisory groups. These groups are allowed to self-define based on the Board-approved motion, but these groups are based on one, or more strategic criteria and do not conform to the three-year maximum service term (their term length is flexible). In addition, based on the overall industry impact, some of the groups may have one non-PPAI member. These advisory groups are: Government Relations Advisory Council (GRAC), Product Responsibility Advisory Group (PRAG) and the Public Relations Advisory Group (PR).

4. Task Forces — Be More Goal-oriented! — Identification of task forces comes from the PPAI Board of Directors. Task forces address important strategic issues, or challenges that arise during the year that the Board feels needs specific attention.

Q: How will the roles of the Board, the staff and the volunteers change?

Board Liaisons — First-, second-, third- and fourth-year members of the Board not on the Executive Committee may be assigned as liaisons to standing committees and advisory groups. They will attend the committee and advisory group meetings, participate in discussions and report to the Board about the committees’ and advisory groups’ activities. The Board Liaisons serve in a supporting role and fill in for the Committee Chair when the Chair is not available. The Board Liaisons will also participate with the Vice Chairs and staff in selecting volunteers to serve on the advisory groups.

Staff Liaisons To maximize committee and advisory group effectiveness, Staff Liaisons will administer all activities within the jurisdiction of their respective standing committees and advisory groups, will inform the committees and advisory groups of matters pertinent to these activities and will solicit committee and advisory group input in an effort to enhance the effectiveness of these activities. Staff Liaisons are responsible for taking minutes at all committee (except the Nominating Committee) and advisory group meetings. Staff Liaisons will be selected to support each committee and advisory group by the PPAI President/CEO along with the PPAI CFO.

Committee Chairs — The chairs of all Association committees are members of the committees and serve a two-year term. The Chairman of the Board, or the Chairman of the Board-Elect, as the case may be, shall appoint the chairman of each committee who shall serve a two-year term as Chairman and shall be a member of the committee. Service as Committee Chairman may extend only one year beyond the three-year committee term. Acceptance of a chairmanship requires attendance at a committee chairmen training session.

Each Committee Chair should:
1. Adhere to procedures for committee member selection.
2. Keep the Board Liaison fully informed of committee activities.
3. Work in concert with Staff Liaisons to ensure that at least two committee meetings are held yearly,
establish goals for the meetings and maintain contact with committee members as needed.

Advisory Group Leaders — The leaders of all Association advisory groups are members of the advisory group and serve a one-year term. The Chairman of the Board, or the Chairman of the Board-Elect, as the case may be, shall appoint the leader of each advisory group who shall serve a one-year term as Leader and shall be a member of the advisory group. Service as Advisory Group Leader may extend beyond the one-year term. Acceptance of a leader position requires attendance at an advisory group training session.

Each Advisory Group Leader should:
1. Adhere to procedures for advisory group member selection.
2. Keep the Board Liaison fully informed of advisory group activities.
3. Work in concert with Staff Liaisons to ensure meetings are held yearly, establish goals for the meetings
 and maintain contact with advisory group members as needed.

Q: How will information about the work of the committees, advisory groups and task forces be communicated in the future?

We will continue to use Volunteer Central as a communications hub for our volunteer community. Information ranging from committee rosters, agendas, minutes, projects in process, archived materials, project progress, important notices and content will be housed in Volunteer Central. In addition to Volunteer Central, a quarterly volunteer newsletter is distributed to all volunteers whether assigned to an active committee, serving in the volunteer pool, or on the Board. It is important for PPAI to report in a timely way to keep all volunteers aware of progress and the opportunities they have to influence decision-making.








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