compiled by Ardis Bazyn, ACB Membership Chair
At our recent focus call, the participants discussed how to use all your resources to build your membership. We decided we had more ways of collecting possible members than we originally thought. See the list of those mentioned and use them to build your chapter or affiliate membership.
· Find prior membership lists and call past members and tell them of your current status — programs, advocacy, or personal celebrations.
· Have your membership chair check the ACB Affiliate Membership Management System to see who in your state hasn’t joined.
· Ask each of your current members to contact all the blind or visually impaired people they know and invite them to a meeting and share the benefits of your group. Most new members come because they were invited by a friend or acquaintance.
· Invite anyone you’ve met previously at any affiliate or chapter function, in a paratransit vehicle, or at a community event.
· Contact state agencies or the NLS library for your state and ask them if they’ll do a mailing for you if your organization picks up the cost and/or provides the letters and envelopes. Some may have a newsletter where they could include an article or calendar item.
· Get a listing in the calendar section of your paper, cable channel, or newsletter of any appropriate organization.
· Take advantage of any online calendars on TV or radio websites.
· Attend local networking events in your community and share your organization’s benefits.
· Ask about having a booth at local health fairs or state or county fairs. You could have someone braille people’s names and sell raffle tickets or products if allowed.
· Find disability consortia or venues where visually impaired seniors might come.
· Talk with local ophthalmologists and doctors about having brochures in their offices for visually impaired people and ask if they might be willing to add an article to a newsletter if they distribute one.
· Join or visit local Lions Clubs and see if they would be willing to join or volunteer for special events.
· Purchase business cards for your chapter or affiliate members to distribute at events they attend.
· Start small-group activities which might bring in people who aren’t interested in a regular meeting but might come to a book club, birthday dinner, social event, diabetes seminar, technology fair/show, or described movie or play.
· Contact a visual impairment services coordinator at a local VA facility and send them information about your organization.
· Volunteer to speak to a group of clients at a local VA, orientation center, rehab center, senior center, or other state agency to tell them about your chapter and affiliate and how you support other visually impaired people through networking, scholarships, and other assistance. They may want to hear your personal story of vision loss.
· Contact local colleges and high schools to ask about visually impaired students. If they have some, they might be willing to give them flyers about your upcoming speakers or events. You could also volunteer to speak to them about the benefits of your affiliate or your personal story.
· Remember to invite sighted friends or family members to meetings and events. Some may wish to assist or participate.
If you have membership questions, contact Ardis Bazyn at (818) 238-9321 or firstname.lastname@example.org.