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What in the world is “data-driven advocacy?”

I know there are times when members may get a little annoyed by all the information their association asks them to provide.  We ask you to provide feedback on potential products and services, to evaluate meetings, to give your opinion on public policy positions under consideration by the Board, and to rate our performance and the value of association membership.  Most importantly, we ask for detailed information on your fraternal activities – everything from member benefits, to social events, to community service projects on which your society and its lodges are engaged.

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10 reasons why supporting military families makes sense for fraternals…

As you know, earlier this year NFCA’s Board of Directors adopted a resolution encouraging its member societies to support the National Military Family Association’s (NMFA) “Operation Purple” program.  “Operation Purple” is NMFA’s summer camp program for children of military families.  NMFA designs the camp curriculum specifically for children with one or both parents actively serving in the military and provides scholarships to every camp participant.  The cost of sending one child to camp is $500 and NMFA operates hundreds of camps serving thousands of military children across the country.

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A Day on the Hill – Part 2

In my last post, I talked about the results of my recent series of meetings with congressional staff.  In that report, I mentioned how effective NFCA’s “Fraternals Serve” brochure was in setting the table for a discussion of the value and validity of the fraternal tax exemption with public policymakers.  Evidently, quite a few folks took note of that item because the brochures – which are available to members at no charge – are flying off the shelves.  Thanks to all of you for being dedicated readers.

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A Day on the Hill

I spent last week in Washington, D.C., doing my best to educate lawmakers, federal government officials, industry groups, think tanks, and charitable organizations about the good work that fraternals do in communities across the U.S.  But I didn’t go alone.  I was armed with brochures and fact sheets detailing the economic impact of our contributions; the anecdotes that you provided, through the new fraternal survey, highlighting the difference we make in the lives of members and the countless people we assist on a daily basis; and ably assisted by one or more of the professionals from our federal advocacy firm, McBee Strategic Consulting.

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Five Reasons the Fraternal Tax Exemption Should Be Repealed

Now that I’ve got your attention, I need your help.  I will be in Washington, D.C., next week for a series of meetings with public policymakers, congressional staffers, think-tank representatives, and insurance industry leaders.  No doubt the value and validity of the fraternal tax exemption will come up in those conversations – probably more than once. 

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Time to Walk Our Talk… Especially this Summer

We all know what tremendous contributions fraternals make to individuals and organizations in communities across the country every day.  We improve our society by building homes, feeding the hungry, supporting the military, offering scholarships, helping the less fortunate.  And the impact of our efforts goes well beyond the people and charities we support directly.  By organizing and implementing a variety of seemingly small fraternal initiatives, our combined efforts result in a healthier social fabric for all those in a community.  In this way, the value of the good works of one lodge or society is multiplied.  And the more good works we do, the greater the value – and growth – of our fraternal system.

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You like us! You really, really like us!

The results of the NFCA member-satisfaction survey are in and, while there is always room for improvement, members of all sizes are satisfied with the association’s performance over the past year.  Here’s a LINK to the full survey results and a few highlights from this year’s survey:

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Shaking Things Up to Start the New Year

2010 is not going to be the “same old, same old” for NFCA.  For one thing, we’ve retained McBee Strategic Consulting as the association’s new federal public policy firm.  In this role, the folks at McBee are responsible for working with NFCA staff and member societies to develop and implement a more aggressive political action strategy that takes advantage of our greatest strength: a vast fraternal lodge grassroots network that delivers meaningful member benefits and community service activities to folks in the districts of almost every member of Congress.

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Another State Fraternal Congress Gem…

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been spending a good bit of my time participating in as many State Fraternal Congress meetings as I can.  And while the travel can sometimes get a bit grueling, I always seem to find at least one gem at every meeting that either reinforces the value of our contributions to the health of American society and the well-being of our members, or that sparks an idea for how we can better promote the fraternal advantage.

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Making Sure Folks Hear the Sound of the Falling Tree…

We’ve all heard the rhetorical question…”If a tree falls in a forest and there is no one there to hear it, does it make a sound?” 

The fraternal version of that colloquialism is: “If we do good things in the community and don’t tell anyone about them, do they matter?”

I’m not disputing the value of the contributions we make to the lives of individuals and communities every day.  Even if we never tell a soul about them, they still matter to the folks that unselfishly volunteer and the folks who gratefully accept a helping hand from their neighbors when they need it most. 

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