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La Leche League International
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Membership Matters

Joan Blick, Director
LLLI Funding Development Department
From: LEAVEN, Vol. 35 No. 2, April-May 1999, p. 45

Membership numbers are improving according to our November and December reports. Thank you to all Leaders and members who are actively working to show mothers that membership matters!

Q: Are there any changes in the way Groups send in memberships?

A: We hope the new computer system that will soon be installed at LLLI will offer more options for streamlining the process of handling memberships. For now, there are no changes. Send in memberships as you always have.

Q: Our Group wondered about the option on the new Membership Matters form that allows a prospective member to be billed. How should a Group handle this?

A: LLLI chose to offer a "bill me later" option because it is something you see on many other membership and subscription forms. It allows the prospective member to react positively to the invitation to become a member even if she doesn't have the cash or a checkbook handy at the moment. A Group may choose to honor this request by sending a simple invoice to the mother after the meeting, with a return envelope addressed to the Leader. This way, when the mother returns her membership fee to the Group, the money is divided in the usual way and the Group retains a portion of the membership. If a Group prefers to submit the names of prospective members to LLLI for billing, the Group will not get their share of the membership as our current computer system is not able to retain the appropriate records. This may change with the new computer system.

Some Leaders may think it's appropriate to wait for the mother to return rather than billing her for membership but this could mean losing a membership if the mother doesn't attend another meeting. We recommend taking advantage of the mother's enthusiasm by offering the "bill me later" option.

Q: Are any new membership benefits being considered?

A: The Funding Development Department is investigating new membership benefits such as discount enrollment in national off-price warehouse clubs (USA). Our affinity MasterCard contract with Harris Bank, which has provided credit cards to qualified applicants as a benefit of LLL membership, has been sold to another company. Because the terms of the existing program have changed, other possible sources of a credit card for qualified LLL members are being explored. We are considering whether or not to continue this benefit.

Q: What other suggestions are being considered to increase membership?

A: Leaders have been coming forward with helpful suggestions to increase our membership numbers. One suggestion was to highlight NEW BEGINNINGS articles with more appealing cover teasers to attract the attention of non-member readers.

Another idea is to encourage Groups to offer a scholarship to mothers who cannot afford membership. The Group bears the cost of membership by raising funds for scholarships. The mothers who receive these scholarships are very appreciative and many of them become paying members the next year. The added bonus is that everyone realizes the importance of belonging to the Group and how much each member is valued.

Members do matter! Please let us know your suggestions and comments. We appreciate your ideas. Thanks again for working so hard on behalf of LLLI, mothers and babies.

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