Back to the blogosphere…
The hardest part of blogging isn’t finding topics to write about – Lord knows I’ve got enough topics in the “blog file” I carry around with me to last several months – it’s finding the time to collect my thoughts in a coherent enough way to make sense of them all. The last 10 days have been a whirlwind of Section meetings, committee meetings, site inspections and special events – all of which conspired to keep me away from posting a blog for quite a while now. Did you miss me? Here’s a smattering of some of the key developments over the past couple of weeks…
Section Meeting Season in Full Swing… Last week the Secretaries/HR and Presidents Sections met in Hollywood, Florida, and members’ meeting evaluations (Secretaries/HR and Presidents) speak for themselves. Attendance was excellent – more than two-thirds of all member societies sent an executive to one or both meetings – topics were timely and speakers were enlightening. We all walked away just a little smarter and more energized than we were before – and that’s a good thing. Didn’t get to attend the meetings? All speaker PowerPoints from both Secretaries/HR and Presidents Sections are now accessible on the NFCA Web site, and you can also check out a photo gallery of the meetings by clicking here. Thought of something you’d like to put in your evaluation but didn’t? Post your comments to this blog. Hats off to the officers of both Sections for organizing such compelling programs. And remember, the only way we can make these meetings more valuable for you and your society is by hearing from you. So don’t be shy, let us know what you want in educational programs and we’ll do our best to deliver the goods.
Solvency Report… NFCA conducted its second annual report on the solvency of the fraternal system, and while things have improved since last year, we are by no means out of the woods. You can take a look at the results by clicking here. NFCA will be reaching out to those societies whose financial condition may put them on regulatory radar screens to offer any assistance we can so that fraternal leaders can take the steps necessary to deal with the situation. After all, as one executive said at the Presidents Section meeting last week, “We are in the business of providing financial security to our members; how can we do that unless our organizations are financially secure?”
Notes and Quotes from the National Volunteering and Service “Leadership Luncheon”… On Wednesday of this week, I had the honor of participating in the “Leadership Luncheon” for organizations involved in volunteering and service initiatives. It was an interesting and inspiring collection of people committed to doing good works – representatives of foundations (including many subsidiaries of for-profit corporations), service groups and government-sponsored volunteerism organizations. When I had a chance to speak with them about what fraternals are, their eyes lit up – they could see immediately the value of combining our “boots on the ground” resources with their projects to assist those in need. I also recognized a key difference between fraternals and the other groups in the room – one that we need to communicate to members, prospective members, and public policymakers. Unlike the other groups, who depend heavily on the government to finance their projects, we are self-sustaining. Not only do we not rely on government grants to fund our fraternal good works, the work we do allows the government to invest in other areas and the people we help become less reliant on other government programs. In a time when government resources are stretched thin, that’s a “differentiator” we need to promote. A few compelling thoughts from some of the speakers:
“Service is at the core of solving our nation’s problems; it’s not just something nice to do.”
Melody Barnes, Director, White House Domestic Policy Council
My take: We’ve been saying and, more importantly, doing that for years!
“Young people will lead the change in your organizations. What are you doing to find and engage them? They will respond to the call for service just like the generations before them have.”
Patrick Corvington, CEO, Corporation for National and Community Service
My take: Ask people – especially young people – to serve before asking them to buy.
Share your thoughts on solvency and service right here by posting your comments below.