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The fraternal “wow” factor…

April 24, 2017
I spent last Thursday in Washington, D.C., meeting with the tax counsels of Senate Finance Committee and House Ways and Means Committee members. This was my third trip to Capitol Hill in the last month. Our objective is to meet with every member of both congressional tax writing committees before the debate on tax reform begins in earnest. And based on news reports coming out late last week, that debate could begin as early as this week. The sole purpose of these meetings is to make sure that policymakers and tax counsel know who fraternals are and what we do. So, that when tax-exempt organizations are discussed, they’ll know that repealing or amending the fraternal exemption would undermine our ability to provide billions of dollars in direct financial support and grassroots community service work every year, while generating a miniscule amount of revenue for the Treasury. The bottom line is that fraternals punch well above their weight when it comes to securing the financial futures of their members and improving the communities in which their members live and work. In fact, the 100+ year-old exemption that allows us to fulfill our unique mission should be not just preserved and protected, but promoted. Last week’s meetings were particularly gratifying because we met with lawmakers’ staff from states with a relatively small fraternal footprint – Washington, Utah, Nevada. Yet, despite the fact that there are no fraternals domiciled in those states, the universal reaction from staffers to the one-page handouts on the value and impact of fraternals’ community service activities in those states was “WOW!” We like “WOW!” It means that before our meeting these offices had no idea what a fraternal was, but that after we left they not only knew us, they had a newfound respect for our contributions to their communities. “WOW!” helps us accomplish our mission of preserving, protecting, and promoting the fraternal value proposition to people that will likely be discussing whether our tax exemption is still providing dividends to taxpayers. “Wow!” means that the answer to that question is a resounding “YES!” Want to help me – and your society – deliver the best possible messages to lawmakers? Send me examples of the “Wow Factors” that your organization is leading. Let me know how your products are securing the financial futures of your members, how that financial security is fostering greater member engagement in community service, and how that volunteerism is enhancing the quality of life in the communities you serve. Post your stories here or send them to me in an email.