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Give the Gift of Separation – from the Herd

We talk frequently about the “fraternal difference” – the characteristics that separate our unique business model from other financial institutions and charitable organizations. Traits like:

  • We’re there to deliver long-term, lifetime values to members; not quarterly results to Wall Street investors;
  • Our community service activities represent “accountable altruism” because the funds that drive our charitable contributions and fuel members’ volunteerism are a result of our ability to manage our financial services operations wisely;
  • As member-owned mutual aid organizations, we take great pride in being able to rely on our own financial resources – rather than government-mandated safety nets – to carry us through tough times;
  • We’re built on old fashioned family values that are as relevant today as they were a century ago.

I’ve come across an individual – and a concept – that can help us put one more degree of separation between us and everyone else. Her name is Ellen Sabin; she runs a company called Watering Can Press, and she writes books that can help fraternals connect to their members and communities to serve their outreach missions, marketing, and mission-driven initiatives.

Ellen creates interactive children’s books that are inherently “fraternal.” They provide lessons about values like giving and volunteering, finding positive role models, being “green”, getting fit and staying healthy, coping with grief, financial education, and more. So not only do these tie-in to the building blocks of family life so important to fraternals, they also address tough issues – such as the loss of a loved one – that are part and parcel of the life insurance business.

The books invite children to be the co-authors… prompting valuable and supportive family conversations about the things that really matter in our lives. Corporations – even not-for-profit ones like fraternals – can sometimes be viewed as cold and uncaring. Ellen’s books connect your society to its family of members in deep and meaningful ways.


Ellen’s books have gained widespread acclaim and have been endorsed by many advocates for children. Even more important, they can empower your society to promote its values, and convey its messages in a clear, influential, and innovative way. Quite simply, they are a wonderful way that you, your agents, and your local chapters can stand apart from the crowd by making a difference with the people that matter most to you. This PDF describes the books and ways that they might be used and shared to fill your mission, align with your values, and support your work.

These books are a perfect fit for fraternals because they:

  • Can be shared through youth programs;
  • Can be branded/customized and edited to incorporate religious or fraternal language into custom print runs;
  • Can be given to members at certain touch-points to show the company’s mission and values. For example, sending The HEALING BOOK with death claims to families creates a truly valued support and connection ; or sharing The GIVING BOOK at the holiday season or year-round to support community volunteerism efforts; Giving The NICKELS, DIMES and DOLLARS BOOK to families buying certain financial products.

Nickle, dimes front_cover_ndd

Ellen is already working with several Alliance member societies and has agreed to provide members who order bulk supplies of the books a discount of between 10-30 percent based on the quantity ordered. I hope you’ll give yourself an early Christmas present and learn more about how Ellen and Watering Can Press can help your society by contacting her directly at 917-348-4848 or emailing her at ellen@wateringcanpress.com.

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