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    Giving Till It Helps

    Join Hands Day155

    The fraternal business model is built on taking care of one another in a cooperative and collaborative way.  It’s an organizational marvel, if you ask me.

    A society’s first duty is to take care of its members.  We accomplish this in large part by providing a variety of financial services products to families to help them secure their fiscal futures with minimal reliance on government safety nets.

    But, the miracle of the fraternal model is what happens next.  When individuals and families feel comfortable about their own financial security, they become more cognizant about the need to help their neighbors who might not be so fortunate and more generous with both their time and their treasure.  Fraternals offer members dozens of philanthropic and volunteer opportunities based on each society’s shared values that help build stronger communities across the U.S. and Canada.  This not only strengthens the social fabric of these neighborhoods, it reduces the need for costly (and often less than efficient) government programs.  There is simply no more cost effective way to deliver these services – particularly in the smaller towns and rural areas where fraternals thrive – than through the “neighbor-helping-neighbor” model.

    Fraternal members may also be among the most modest group of people on the planet.  Unfortunately, this characteristic has a couple of downsides: 1) it has resulted in fraternals being virtually unknown to individuals under 50 years old (but that’s a topic for another posting); and 2) our contributions are often overlooked by the state and federal policymakers who will be making decisions on the tax-exempt status of fraternals.

    FraternalsGIVE_logo1Last year we introduced FrateralsGIVE.org – an entirely new way for member societies to collect this community service and member activity data from their local chapters in an online platform.  And we’re pleased to announce that we’ve reached an important milestone: More than 1000 fraternal chapter events have been entered into FraternalsGIVE.org.

    This system was designed to help fraternal home offices minimize the large volume of paperwork and the manual data needed to keep track of chapter activities.  Four societies have purchased access to this system and have been busy training their chapter leaders – young and old – on how easy it is to enter their fraternal activity data.  Plus, the Alliance now has even more wonderful REAL stories to share with legislators and others who should know about the significant contributions that fraternals are making in their communities.

    Here is a small sampling of the hundreds of events logged into FraternalsGIVE.org.  Wouldn’t it be great to see your society’s activities in this list?  Contact the Alliance to find out how affordable and easy FraternalsGIVE.org is.

    • SPJST Lodge 054, West, Texas – Raised and donated $11,182 for West Texas Ambulance. They also raised and donated $11,100 to the West Rest Haven Nursing Home on 3/7/2014.
    • SPJST Lodge 196, Bellville, Texas – Members collected teddy bears for the Joe Joe Bear Foundation. Joe Joe Bear is a 501c(3) that gives teddy bears to children with life threatening illnesses. More than 100 teddy bears were collected. 5/3/2014 (6 members attended for a total of 36 hours with $500 in kind donations).
    • SPJST Lodge 196, Richmond, Texas – Members collected and donated $1,500 worth of clothes to the women’s Shelter for Battered Women.  The clothes included boys and girls clothes for the children along with clothes for the women.  The shelter provides refuge for battered women and their children.  5/24/2014 (5 members spent 15 hours gathering and delivering the clothing donations).
    • KSKJ Life, American Slovenian Catholic Union Lodge 29, Joliet, Illinois – Members cleaned the St. Joseph’s Park on Theodore Street from 9am – 12 noon. 5/17/2014 (4 members spent 12 hours total).
    • Sons of Norway Lodge 2046 Bernt Balchen, Anchorage, Alaska – Members held an adult spelling bee to benefit the Alaska Literacy Project (raised $3,000).  Teams from 16-18 local businesses participated, i.e.: BP, Conoco Phillips, DAR, Mensa, GCI, University of AK, AKLA (librarians). 14 members and 10 non-members combined for a total of 100 hours of volunteer time.

    Folks, this “Internet thing” is going to catch on.  I’m guessing your local chapter leaders will embrace FraternalsGIVE.org in the same way they abandoned their abacuses for pocket calculators.  It’s an easy, fast, and affordable way to document your societies’ contributions – to members, to prospects, to the local media, and to public policymakers that have the fate of your tax exempt status in their hands.

    Want to see for yourself? Get an inside look at how the site works on a live demo this Thursday, January 22, at 7:00 pm. Education Manager Andrea Litewski is providing online training for some 600+ chapter leaders from two participating societies via this webinar. Click here to register – if you can’t make the live demo, register anyway and we’ll send you a link to the recording afterwards.

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