1. Who should join OWAA?
OWAA welcomes all individuals engaged in communicating the outdoor experience and groups, agencies and businesses that support that goal. Members of OWAA are experienced outdoor people, and the nation’s best:
- outdoor writers
- book authors
- radio and television broadcasters
- film and video producers
- bloggers and new media communicators
- communications and PR professionals
Our Supporting Groups include
- Product manufacturers and retailers
- Public relations and marketing agencies
- CVBs and destination marketing organizations
- Conversation groups and agencies
- Outdoor publications and media outlets
- Outdoor interest groups and associations
- State and Federal agencies
2. What benefits does OWAA provide?
OWAA is dedicated to helping its members increase profitability and grow intellectually — both professionally and personally. The association:
- facilitates craft improvement of individual members
- encourages contact among communicators in the outdoor field
- promotes expansion of outdoor coverage in the nation’s media
- focuses public attention on natural resource conservation
- mentors the next generation of outdoors communicators
In addition, OWAA helps provide access for outdoor groups, agencies and business to connect with our media members for collaboration and mutual benefit.
3. Am I an individual member or a supporting group?
OWAA individual membership is intended to improve the personal and professional skills of our members. Individual membership should not be used to promote products, services, agencies, organizations or businesses. We do have communications and public relations representatives that choose to be individual members for their own personal use and to connect with other outdoor communicators, but unless the company you represent is also a supporting group, you may not use your membership on behalf of your group, business or agency.
Any promotion of products, services, agencies, organizations or businesses should be done through a supporting group affiliation. Supporting group affiliations are intended to provide access to our individual media members.
4. I am a PR company, can I join to promote my clients?
Whatever company is being promoted to OWAA members should be the one joining OWAA, but public relations companies are more than welcome to be the contact for their client and handle the entire affiliation. Int that case, you can fill out the form on behalf of your client and put yourself as the contact or one of the contacts. This way all OWAA communications from both headquarters and members will be directed to your PR company. If you represent multiple companies/brands that you would like to promote, they should all join as Supporting Groups. If you are a PR company, you are also more than welcome to join OWAA as a Supporting Group and several choose to do so, but in that case it would be to promote your PR company and its services.
5. I do not know any current OWAA members, how can I find a sponsor for my application?
For individuals wishing to submit an application for membership who do not have a sponsor, there is a box to check on both the downloadable and online applications indicating you would like OWAA to help you find a sponsor. OWAA HQ will then use your information provided to connect you with a sponsor.
Student member applicants should have your application sponsored by a faculty member at the institution in which you are enrolled.
For prospective members applying without a sponsor, you will also need to submit a brief cover letter with your application indicating what membership classification (Active or Associate) you are applying for and which elements under Criteria for Membership you meet. Along with the completed application, you will also need to attach copies or electronic links to the published work that meets the membership criteria along with dates and publishers of that work for verification.
6. Why do I need a sponsor for my application?
Application sponsors are asked to verify that you meet the requirements for one or more criteria for membership as an Active, Associate or Student level. Having a current OWAA Active member sponsoring your application also provides you with a contact within the organization for membership questions and advice.
7. How long does it take to process my application?
Applications are processed on the 25th of every month. Supporting Group applicants will be announced as new Supporters at the beginning of the next month. Individual Member applicants will be announced as proposed members at the beginning of the next month, and then will become new members 30 days later following a mandatory comment period. For full details, view our application process page.
8. How will I know if my application has been approved?
After individual membership applications are reviewed on the 25th of the month, you will receive an email from OWAA headquarters confirming that your application has been processed and outlining your expected join date. During the processing, OWAA’s membership coordinator will also be in touch with any additional questions about your application or to request any additional information. Once your application has been processed, there is a mandatory comment period; if no issues arise during this process, you will receive your welcome packet and press card approximately 6 weeks after your application is processed.
For Supporting Groups, there is no formal approval process, so you will receive your welcome packet approximately 1 week after to your announcement as a new Supporting Group. This can be anywhere from 2-5 weeks after your application is submitted, depending on when your application is received in our office.
9. If I join in the middle of the year, are my dues reduced?
All new members and supporting group pay the full dues rate with their application, regardless of when they apply; however, your second year’s dues will be prorated to reflect your join date. Annual dues are due the first Friday in January each year.
10. If I only want access to certain benefits, can I get a discount?
At this time our member benefits are not available individually. Certain benefits such as the membership mailing list or our annual conference are available to non-members for a fee; however, the costs typically make full membership the most cost-effective solution. We feel our member benefits are best used in conjunction with one another and their total individual values are worth far more than the cost of membership, so we do not divide benefits at different cost levels.
11. More questions
If you have addition questions about membership or the application process, contact OWAA membership coordinator Jessica Pollett, membership[at]owaa.org, 406-728-7434.