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    A Little Something for Eveyone

    It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a blog, and I’ve been collecting items that I just know you’ll love.  I’ll save the big thought pieces on the future of fraternalism and the procedure for rolling out the association’s new name for later in the month.  In the meantime, I hope these interesting bits of tid will whet your holiday appetite for making a difference in your society, in your community, and in the nation…

    • Give a gift to the children of America’s military families – It’s the season of giving and no one knows more about the power of charitable contributions than America’s fraternals.  For the first time, NFCA has embarked on a campaign to have every member society contribute to a single national cause, in addition to the hundreds of local activities in which your councils, chapters, lodges, and nests are engaged.  We’ve partnered with the National Military Family Association to have fraternals raise much needed funds to send the children of our nation’s military families to “Operation Purple” summer camps in the summer of 2011.  NFCA selected the “Operation Purple” program because so many members share a common bond of patriotism and are already engaged in efforts to support military organizations.  The NFCA Board felt that supporting this program would provide members the chance to unite behind one cause and establish a much needed identity for the association’s branding effort.  As you’ll note from this recent article in USA Today, these funds are needed more than ever.  Please join Modern Woodmen of America, the Virginia Fraternal Congress, First Catholic Slovak Ladies Association, Woodmen of the World/Assured Life Association, United Commercial Travelers, Equitable Reserve Association, Ladies Pennsylvania Slovak Catholic Union, and the Pennsylvania Fraternal Congress by making a commitment to support “Operation Purple” by the end of this year – note that pledges are due by January 1, but funds may be submitted until March 1, 2011.  Your participation can come in many forms: a corporate contribution or pledge; a promise to encourage your local lodges to raise funds for the program this spring; a commitment to match the funds raised by your local lodges for this initiative.  These children need your help.  What better way to demonstrate your societies’ commitment to patriotism and national defense – and demonstrate the value of the fraternal tax exemption – than by filling this very real need.  For more information, please contact Elizabeth Snyder, Director of Advocacy & Public Policy, at esnyder@nfcanet.org.
    • One society’s rebranding effort turns into positive media coverage – United Commercial Traveler’s (UCT) effort to overhaul its image, re-energize current members, and enhance its appeal to the next generation of members is not only paying dividends within the organization, but is also attracting attention from the local business media.  Check out this article in Business First, one of the best read publications in the Ohio business community.  It’s a great example of making fraternalism relevant in 2010 and beyond.  Congratulations to UCT’s CEO Joseph Hoffman and the society’s Board and executive team for undertaking this ambitious project!
    • Wisconsin becomes the latest state to apply RBC standards to fraternals – In case you didn’t see our recent Bulletin on the issue, the Wisconsin Insurance Department is proposing a regulation to require fraternals to meet the same RBC requirements as their commercial peers.  NFCA has expressed its support for such an initiative, which closely mirrors requirements on the books in New York and Minnesota.  If approved (and it’s likely to be), the new regulation would take effect on January 1, 2011.  At least two other states, Ohio and Pennsylvania, are likely to consider legislation to require fraternals to meet RBC requirements in 2011.  If enacted, these laws would take effect in January 2012.  Other states, most notably Illinois and Iowa, are also considering RBC rules or statutes. 
    • Society of Actuaries reinsurance study to include fraternals – The Society of Actuaries (SOA) is conducting a comprehensive study on reinsurance market conditions for smaller insurers.  SOA member Larry Schreiber of Modern Woodmen of America brought the study to our attention and suggested that fraternals might not only be interested in the results, but should also be included in the project.  It only took one e-mail from NFCA to have SOA embrace the idea.  SOA has recently selected a researcher for the project (a past president of the SOA Fraternal Actuaries Section, no less) and are finalizing contract terms with the firm.  The project will kick off later this month and we’ll keep you posted on its expectations, timeline and scope.  Look for a survey form to arrive in your office soon after the New Year.  
    • “Every board member of every fraternal society should undergo this training program” – Those comments came from a member of the Sons of Norway Board of Directors after having viewed the NFCA’s latest Board member education program, the “Board Institute Boot Camp.”  This four DVD set provides fraternal executives an easy and affordable way to provide their societies’ board members with the basic educational building blocks that explain the role and responsibilities of Boards of Directors and tangible ways to improve the effectiveness of both the society’s Board and executive team.  Each of the four DVDs covers different topics, which make them perfect for viewing individually or collectively during the course of your society’s regular board meetings.  If you’re not comfortable presenting the DVDs yourself, NFCA will provide a moderator to help guide the discussion.  Having led the presentation to the Sons of Norway Board, I can attest to the value of the program and the thought-provoking discussions it will generate.  For more information on this outstanding new member benefit, please contact Allison Koppel, Vice President of Membership & Marketing, at akoppel@nfcanet.org.
    • The power of marketing alliances – Check out the results of the Inter-Company Marketing Group’s latest survey on strategic alliances.  More than two-thirds of respondents have added revenue to their firms by engaging in such alliances and nearly 90% believe that such alliances will become more important over the next three years.  Is your society engaged in such marketing alliances?  If so, we’d love to hear about them.  Post your comment here…

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