compiled by Ardis Bazyn, ACB Membership Chair
On our last ACB membership focus call, we discussed how to get at-large members more involved in affiliates. Rosemarie Facilla from Michigan outlined how they started an at-large members’ chapter to get more members participating in the affiliate. The interested at-large members had several calls before deciding to start a chapter. She said it started slowly, adding more members to each call.
Most at-large members are not part of local chapters because of the lack of transportation in rural areas. Some cannot attend the local chapter because of work or family commitments. In order to start the group meetings, a time was set for meeting each month. Email reminders were sent a few days ahead and someone phoned those without email. The calls were a combination of business-related and social calls. A phone vote was taken on confidentiality. The vote didn’t decrease attendees.
In order to have an at-large chapter affiliated, the Michigan Council had to change its constitution. The convention passed a resolution, and a special notice was prepared to suspend the bylaws.
After affiliation was allowed, the group had another meeting to discuss duties of officers in bylaws. Before a vote was taken, the proposed bylaws were sent in the mail and email 30 days ahead. The group felt the new chapter would lead to the engagement of more members. The group included three younger members. Dues are $20. If other affiliates would like more information on how the group started, contact Rosemarie via email, firstname.lastname@example.org. The affiliate website is https://www.michigancounciloftheblind.org/.
The discussion evolved to other ways to involve additional members. Ohio and Indiana have had joint conferences to draw more members. To accomplish this, a larger committee with more members was created. The affiliates needed to coordinate transportation and rented vans. Each state funded the vans. Time was set aside for each affiliate to have its own business meeting. With leadership aging, the affiliates need to get more new members participating.
The next ACB membership focus call is January 26 at 5 p.m. Pacific/8 p.m. Eastern. The topic will be “How affiliates can communicate better within and outside of ACB.” Next quarter’s call will be held on April 27 at 5:30 p.m. Pacific/8:30 p.m. Eastern. The topic will be conference call etiquette and include a how-to on the Zoom phone conference system.