How can I help?
At regular intervals, new faces appear in the Community Relations team as open positions for Community Volunteers are filled. All these new additions to the team can spark interest in volunteering for dA and can inspire people to ask "What can I do to support my favourite gallery?". You don't have to be a Community Volunteers or have a fancy symbol next to your name to promote and support artists within your favourite gallery. The suggestions listed below are for everyone, and in case you want something a little more useful than just my ideas I've included links to FAQ entries with more information.
To avoid repeating myself, I'd like to point you in the direction of an article called How to promote other people's work on dA that I wrote back in December 2008. It's a few years old but the information contained is still relevant, including...
Featuring art in your journal
Featuring art in news articles
Making sure your features are accessible to all
Suggesting Daily Deviations
Contests and collaborations
While dA almost always has a few official contests on the go, hosted by the CR team or run in conjunction with an outside sponsor, anyone is welcome to run their own contest. Running a contest can be great fun and is a wonderful way to inspire your fellow deviants and encourage participation in a community-wide event. Please bear in mind though, if you want to run a contest with prizes you can't rely on other people to provide these prizes.
Volunteers (people with ^ and @ symbols in front of their username) do not have a contest prize budget, so while some of us may volunteer to offer prizes for unofficial contests relating to the galleries we moderate it is unfair to expect this. GMs are here to help though, so we can help you to promote your contest through our journals and news articles.
You can find out more about running your own contests on dA in this dA Life article at fella.
Running a contest with big prizes isn't the only way to hold an inspirational and exciting event for your fellow artists. If you're not in a position to give big-money prizes but would still like to run your own event, here are some alternatives...
Have an art trade, where you create a piece of art dedicated to someone else and they create one dedicated to you.
Offer gift art or ask your friends to inspire you by suggesting topics or subjects to base your next work on.
Instead of prints and subs, offer journal or userpage features as prizes. On a site as big as dA, a bit of extra exposure can really make someone's day.
Start a thread in the Thumbshare Forum asking people to link you to pieces of art that they'd like critique on, or ask for examples of work on a theme to illustrate a news article or journal entry.
Start a collaboration project to encourage people to work together, either on small creations shared between two people or on something bigger than you create as a group.
Be a teacher or a mentor
If you have a brain packed full of useful information, share it! Anyone can submit a tutorial to the Resources gallery and whatever you write about, someone will appreciate you sharing your knowledge. If you enjoy writing tutorials, make a folder for them in your gallery and display it on your userpage so that other people can easily find all the useful things you've made. If you enjoy collecting other people's tutorials, you can feature the collection on your userpage.
FAQ #90: How do I customize my profile page?
If you'd like to share your knowledge in a more personal and involved way, you can offer critique on other people's art (keep it polite and constructive, please!) or volunteer your time as a mentor. Check out ArtistsHospital or write a journal to let people know that you'd like to critique people's work or help a younger or less experienced artist by mentoring them. I can guarantee that you'll have people jumping at the chance to receive helpful comments on their work from someone who knows what they're talking about!
You can browse deviations with critique enabled here and find out more about how to use dA's official critique feature in this FAQ...
FAQ #95: What is the Critique Feature and how do I use it?
Set an example
Who inspires you more - the person who submits three dArama-filled journal entries a day, bitches about other people all the time and publicly insults everything that isn't to their taste? Or the person who writes tutorials and helpful news articles, features art in their journal and helps out with promoting other deviants' projects?
I'm not saying that everyone should censor their opinions or silently tolerate unpleasantness, but when the majority of your journal entries are based around complaining about things you hate without offering suggestions, you aren't doing anyone any good. If you've got a problem with something, try and deal with it maturely.
You get out what you put in, so if your interactions are based in positivity you'll have a much more positive experience. It sounds obvious, but it never hurts to have a reminder...do unto others, and all that.
Make yourself known
Say hi to a Community Volunteer today! We aren't scary and unapproachable, and when you send us notes or leave comments talking about the galleries we look after you are NOT bothering us or annoying us. We want to get to know you better, to be introduced to the artists who submit to and care about the galleries we moderate. We love it when community members help us out with promoting projects and contests and give us a hand with sharing important information, so displaying stamps and linking to our informative journals is definitely appreciated.
We also want to know all about the contests and clubs YOU run, the news articles you write, the art you love and the artists you admire. We're here to help you promote your projects and we actively want you to feed us with awesome things to pimp. We aren't just here for the good stuff either. We're also here to help you deal with any problems that you're having and bad stuff that you've noticed going on. If we can't help you directly, we'll be able to let you know who can help or contact a staff member on your behalf if necessary.
So don't be scared to make friends with your GM - we WANT you to and we love meeting active members of the community! When you dedicate time and enthusiasm to supporting us and each other, your efforts certainly don't go unnoticed. If you aren't sure who your GM is, you can find a list of the current CR team at communityrelations.
If you do want to volunteer in an official capacity...
If you do want to volunteer for dA, whether as a Gallery Moderator in the Community Relations team or a Message Network Administrator in Community Operations, check out this FAQ for more information:
FAQ #85: Can I be a volunteer on DeviantArt?
Read this in Spanish, by JacquiJax, and in German by Shadowelve.