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Let Mothers Choose Membership

Chris Mayou
Onalaska, Wisconsin, USA
From: LEAVEN, Vol. 31 No. 1, January-February 1995, p. 7

A mother who attended two Series Meetings in another state came to one of our Group meetings. She arrived after we began, missing the short membership discussion we include in the middle of the meeting. I welcomed her to our Group and briefly caught her up on what she had missed. "I'm sure you heard about membership at the other meetings you attended," I said. To my surprise, she hadn't!

Leaders sometimes are uncomfortable mentioning money at Series Meetings. Perhaps they assume that mothers will be offended. Actually, mothers may be offended when information about membership is withheld.

As Pam Dunne said in Washington, USA's Northwest Notes (Summer 1993), "When we hesitate to ask for or even mention memberships, we take away a mother's choice. When we tell a mother about dues, we allow her to choose whether or not she wants to support the work of La Leche League. We should not deny her the privilege of becoming part of an organization that may have as great an impact on her life as it has on yours or mine. We should not deny her access to the other benefits of membership, particularly the enjoyment of reading her own bimonthly copy of NEW BEGINNINGS (or her country's specific members' magazine)."

La Leche League depends on the financial support of mothers who attend our meetings. Membership is expected after a mother has had a chance to decide if she wants to take advantage of what we have to offer. Some Leaders have found these phrases helpful when introducing the topic of membership at their meetings. Many have become LLL "standards" and the original author is unknown. Ideas from the "Building Membership" theme section of Eastern Pennsylvania, USA's Area Leaders' Letter, East Penn Pointers (Fall 1991) are noted with the Leader's name. Please adapt these examples to reflect the membership benefits in your LLL Area.

  • Unlike many other groups, La Leche League does not exist in order to raise money. We raise money in order to exist. --Ginny Wilkinson
  • LLL membership is a worthwhile investment! When you become a La Leche League member you join an organization that has supported breastfeeding mothers for more than 38 years. You attend monthly meetings and enjoy the companionship of mothers with a similar mothering philosophy. You receive a 10% discount on most items offered through the LLLI Catalogue. You also receive a one-year subscription to NEW BEGINNINGS, LLL's bimonthly journal for breastfeeding families. Join the thousands of mothers just like you who have made the choice to support La Leche League. --Sue Zimmerman
  • Mothers who have paid membership in the past have made it possible for La Leche League to be here for you. Please help La Leche League be there for the next mother. --Ginny Wilkinson
  • You can help LLL by continuing to attend Series Meetings. The experiences you share and the questions you ask are the heart of our meetings. Without you we would have no Group. You also help LLL when you pay membership. We receive no outside funds. Leaders are volunteers; in fact, we also pay dues. Your dues not only help our Group but also help La Leche League International reach out to families all over the world. --Teresa Maidak
  • Think of membership as a $2.50 a month outing with your baby in an environment of supportive breastfeeding mothers where you receive the latest breastfeeding information, have access to a library of great parenting and breastfeeding books, and enjoy nutritious snacks.
  • We think mothers are more important than their money, although we need money in order to continue helping mothers. Financial alternatives to our one-year membership fee are available. Lisa Leader can explain these to you after the meeting.
  • La Leche League, like water, is free. However it costs money to get it piped to you. We're here on a 24-hour-a-day basis piping breastfeeding information and support.
  • In the USA the cost of a year-long membership in La Leche League is less than the cost of a visit to the doctor with a sick baby or a two-week supply of formula--both of which membership in LLL can help you avoid!
  • Your first meeting is "on the house." If you would like to continue to attend meetings and avail yourselves of our services--phone help from accredited Leaders, library, information sheets, support from other mothers, and access to help from our Professional Liaison Program in special situations--we ask that you support La Leche League by paying membership at your next meeting.
  • Become a member of La Leche League, one of the oldest women's self-help groups. Your membership brings NEW BEGINNINGS into your home and ensures the continuance of LLL's work around the world, in our state, and in our town.
  • Consider LLL your professional organization offering training, support, and friendship in your chosen field.
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