Volunteer

Get involved with The Site of Big Shoulders and learn professional-level Web publishing, Internet marketing and arts management in a highly creative environment. We seek new staff members to assist our mission of publishing and promoting arts content and creators from the Chicagoland region.

Our activities include:

  • Online arts publishing
    Publishing The Site of Big Shoulders Web site at http://sobs.org is the primary activity of our organization, which we have been engaged in since 1996.  Our feature content resides in our six departments of Art, Chicago Local, Fiction, Music, Photography and Poetry — all of which have been designed, produced and published by our all-volunteer staff. We employ a virtual office environment and the Joomla content management system to power our publishing capabilities and make it easy for staff members to participate remotely ... and without needing to know HTML.

  •  Programs and events
    The Site of Big Shoulders regularly produces public-facing programs and/or hosts events. In the past, this has involved participating in local arts walks like Around the Coyote and the Pilsen Artists Open House. Since 2010, The Site of Big Shoulders has produced its own annual program called Art+Poetry Chicago, which brings together the art and poetry of the Windy City.
     
  • Monthly meetings
    The staff of The Site of Big Shoulders meets on a monthly basis to plan activities, conduct training, publish new features, deliberate submissions and enjoy some libations. We meet at our headquarters in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago, typically on the second Thursday evening of the month, starting at 7 p.m. 

How can you get involved?  We need help in all kinds of areas, from general assistance that doesn't require any specific technical knowledge or skills to interesting opportunities for Web software development and organization management.  We're specifically seeking individuals who would be a good for the following roles:

  • Editors
    Work with contributors and other staff members to shepherd editorial features to publication.  Develop and solicit new sources of editorial content and present this to the staff for deliberation.  Assist with copywriting, copy editing and other general editorial duties and/or lead the direction of a specific sobs.org department as a Department Editor.

  • Web Producers and Designers
    Design and deploy custom Web interfaces and design elements for editorial features.  Work within our content management system to quickly implement sophisticated custom designs for features and/or get involved with managing the overall look and feel of The Site of Big Shoulders.  Learn the ins and outs of managing content and features on a Joomla-based Web site.

  • Director of Development
    Take the reigns of this senior staff role to create and implement a strategic development plan that brings funding to The Site of Big Shoulders by leveraging our high-quality product, our 501(c)(3) status, our long history of service to Chicago arts, and our pattern of successful grant applications.  

  • Promoters and Marketers
    Spread the word about The Site of Big Shoulders through new and established marketing channels, including our social media accounts, e-mail newsletter, printed promotions and mass media.  Implement Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques for sobs.org content and track and assess site traffic through Google Analytics. Create new marketing initiatives to bring more traffic and attention to The Site of Big Shoulders.

  • Event Managers 
    Manage the production and presentation of events sponsored by The Site of Big Shoulders, in particular, Art+Poetry Chicago.  Solicit and organize the involvement of other staff members, participants and audience.  Work with promotion resources to properly promote the event; also look for opportunities for event sponsorship by businesses.

  • Internet Developers and Admins
    Work within The Site of Big Shoulders' established Joomla-based Web site to manage administrative tasks and develop and deploy new site features and capabilities.  Assist other staff members with technical support.  Investigate and pursue opportunities to enhance site administration, performance and security.

We try to match staffers' work with their interests, train staff members in new topics and skills, and let staffers grow with our organization.  We are very forgiving of our all-volunteer staff's employment and life commitments and happily work to find appropriate levels of involvement.  We also welcome former staffers who may wish to get active again. 

Are you ready to get started?
Click here to fill out our prospective staff questionnaire.

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