The role of the National Membership Development Chair is to educate and support efforts for NLAPW to flourish and grow. Many things have been new and updated since my role started and I wanted to share some of these with you.
Of course we are all aware of the New Bylaw amendments that directly affect the Music (Composition in Music and Dance) and the new Allied Professional classification of membership. We hope everyone has had a chance to read and digest what this means to each and every branch. It allows many more eligible women to become members in many different careers.
We have also updated ALL of the membership forms since August 1, 2016, not just the ones for the two affected classifications mentioned above. After listening to former Credentials Officers, Membership Chairs and applicants, we made changes. Now there are checklists on the application, an added instruction sheet and a Frequently Asked Questions section. We thank you for your feedback that helped to demystify and streamline this process. Now you need to destroy all of the previous ones – our credentials officers are still receiving applications on the old forms. Because of this, several things are being missed, and the process takes longer than needed. At the end of each application is a list of the following items to be sent:
- Letter of Branch’s Recommendation of Applicant
- One page biography
- Two copies of the application
- Check (s)
- One copy of the three submitted works, in physical or electronic form.
We are now asking for a recommendation from the Branch, not just the Membership Chair. You’ll notice there is a major shift in responsibility from the Credentials Officer back to the Branches in the vetting process. There are several reasons for this. First, our bylaws are actually written this way – encouraging the individual branch to approve their own members if they meet the credential qualifications. We were suggesting in our instructions that this be done by secret ballot, but we are not requiring this. Each branch needs to determine how they would like to vet a new applicant. Secret ballots may seem too “sorority-like” or polarizing to some people. To others, it is a way to assure their vote is cast in privacy, and also that it is not just one person making the decision for their whole branch on approvals.
Once the application is sent to the National Credentials Officers, it should only have to be verified, not judged, like the Branch would. The Branch is going to be the deciding factor since those applicants will be co-existing with their group. A branch would know much more about an applicant’s true credentials than a credentials officer hundreds of miles away. They will be confirming and verifying the applications so we have a consistent level of quality among our organization. If there is an ethics question about an applicant, each branch should have something in their Standing Rules that addresses such an issue.
We now hope you understand why we need all of the signatures, checked items and TWO copies of the application. (One stays with the Credentials Chair, and one is sent to National. This became important when we had a hurricane recently, and when the post office lost another.) We have to cut down what can be filed at the National Office because of space, and to stay green. Wherever a website, electronic link, or scan can be used to supply an applicant’s credentials; do it. You can always e-mail the credentials officers in advance if you have any specific questions, or me. Questions and comments are always welcome. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note a few more things:
1. We have an International Affiliate designation to encourage diversity.
2. We do not pro-rate our National Dues, but we have made the provision that any application received and approved on or after February 15th would not have to pay dues again until the following fiscal year. This may be important for your applicants to know at this point in the year. We will not hold onto applications once received.
3. Please look online for the new Power Point video about “Signs of a Strong, Successful Branch,” which may fortify your own branch.
4. Kathleen Vermaelen, our National Publications Chair, has a call for sharing Inspiring Methods or Tips for Success in the creative world. Initiatives like this help us to share our entrepreneurial success and passion for creativity nationally.
If you have other suggestions for ways to add value to our membership, please e-mail me. I will give it full consideration.
Yours in Service,
Bev Goldie, National Membership Development Chair