Sunday, November 29, 2009

Chapter News You Can Use, November 29, 2009

• Would your chapter pass the nonprofit test?
• Next Chapter chat
• Reminder Chapter delegate registration
• Hearing health care benefits for veterans

Every chapter needs to be able to pass the nonprofit test. Would your chapter pass the nonprofit test?

Every chapter recognized by the National Office is considered to be a nonprofit affiliate of HLAA but if asked to prove it, what do you need? If you were asked for proof, what you need to prove it?

I spoke about this in the Chapter Chat on November 13th and the transcript of that chat session is available on the leaders support Wiki. Download the transcript here:

The accountant/controller for HLAA has prepared an explanation of the three ways you are covered as a nonprofit. You will see there is no one way and how large or small your chapter can make a difference. His document explains the three ways to be counted as a nonprofit and explains what you need to pass the organizational and operational tests of IRS Section 501(c) (3) in order to be a tax-exempt organization. Find the document here:

As part of his discussion, the accountant/ controller recommends each chapter to apply for group exemption under the HLAA umbrella so there is a public record of the chapter’s nonprofit status.

The one part that is essential for every chapter is the need for bylaws or standing rules. Parts of the operations tests require statements that explain the purpose and mission of the Chapter. If your chapter does not have bylaws or standing rules you can use the samples provided on the leaders support Wiki to put some rules and regulations together.

The application process is outlined in the Financial Information section of the leadership support Wiki. There is help and examples of all the information needed to apply for group exemption. Here is what is needed:

1. Chapter bylaws or rules and regulations. See samples on the leadership support Wiki.

2. If you have a bank account, you need an EIN (Employer ID number) also referred to as a Tax ID number. Send a copy of your EIN assignment or include your EIN with the application. See sample of the EIN assignment letter from the IRS on the leadership support Wiki. Look in the Financial Information section and specifically look for “Group Exemption Status – What it is and how to apply.”

3. A chapter budget. A sample is provided on the leadership support Wiki. Even if you have no bank account as yet, a budget is needed for the application package. Look at the sample. It is not difficult to put together a simple budget. Look in the Financial Information section and specifically look for “Group Exemption Status – What it is and how to apply.”

4. Send a letter to national on chapter letterhead with chapter logo (Word for word letter is provided to use and if you don’t have a chapter logo, email me and I will send it to you. Letter is on the leadership support wiki. Look in the Financial Information section and specifically look for “Group Exemption Status – What it is and how to apply.”

Chapters with group exemption are required to provide a chapter update and chapter budget to renew their group exemption status every year. This update and budget is due by December 15, 2009 this year. Notice has been send to group exemption chapters already. If your chapter is a group exemption chapter and you have not received an email from me, please let me know.

Chapters that have participated in the Walk4 hearing will be asked to make application for group exemption. An email will go out this week, to participating chapters making that request.

All chapters wanting to participate in future walks will be required to make application for group exemption.

Please review the application instructions on the leadership support Wiki and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email me.

The next chapter chat will be December 15, 2009. Mark your calendar.

Who should attend? Those with questions about group exemption status and those with specific questions about chapter operations should attend the next chapter chat.

Please find the times for your region and instructions on how to participate on the leadership support wiki. Transcripts are posted for all chapter chats the next day.

Reminder Chapter delegate registration
Chapter Delegate program - Milwaukee Convention 2010

We are offering the chapter delegate program again for the 2010 Milwaukee Convention. Please note new conditions apply.

It will be necessary for each chapter to decide that whether or not they will be sending a delegate and they need to make a delegate selection by December 31st 2009. This allows those officers who are not selected as the delegate to take advantage of the early bird registration rates

One reduced fee registration per chapter is offered to send an officer to the convention. The delegate can register at this reduced fee up to May 1, 2010. If a chapter officer/member registers for the convention at the early bird rate or the regular rate and then is chosen to be a delegate, please note we will not be making any adjustments or refunds if somebody has registered and then is chosen as a delegate. This is why each chapter needs to make their selection before an officer registers at the going rates.

Registration does not include the banquet or special events. Those can be added as an extra item. Registration for Chapter Delegates is $119. To get the Chapter Delegate rate you much enter this code: HLACD

Register online here:

Download the Q & A about the qualifications for the Chapter Delegate discount.

Download QAChapterDelegateDiscount.doc

Hearing health care benefits for veterans

Special announcement for your chapter members:

On January 20 2009 we will have a special guest speaker in the HLAA Chat room. Dr. Gene Bratt will be online taking questions about the benefits for hearing tests, hearing aids, cochlear implants, and hearing aid implants. Please make this announcement in your newsletters, and email your chapter members. Download the flyer with the bio of Dr. Bratt and details of the scheduled chat here:
You can also find the information and links on the home page at

Toni Barrient |Chapter Development
Hearing Loss Association of America

Leadership support website (Wiki)

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Chapter News You Can Use - November 12, 2009

In this issue:

• Chapter Chat Scheduled Friday 13, 2009 - URGENT TOPIC

Friday night we have a scheduled Chapter Chat on the Calendar.

The topic is urgent and critical to many chapters.

The issue is one of chapters having nonprofit status. By nonprofit status I am referring to 501 © (3) nonprofit status. There is a lot of confusion about which chapters need to have nonprofit status and which chapters don’t.

Most all chapters that will receive money from a walk4hearing event should be under HLAA’s group exemption. The reason why this is a sudden critical issue is that we may have to withhold money from a chapter until they come in to compliance. This is something we really do not want to do. The desirable thing to do is to get chapters quickly under HLAA’s group exemption so they can receive their money.

There are two ways to obtain nonprofit status. I will discuss both methods and will focus on HLAA’s group exemption status and exactly what is needed to obtain this status. I will discuss step by step the process and it should not be difficult. All the information needed is on the Wiki but I realize many people find tax issues overwhelming.

I will discuss “what is an EIN, why it is needed and how to get it. Also did you know that an EIN is also a Tax ID number? There is much confusion among leaders about this. I hope to clear up this confusion.

Because of the misinformation, confusion and lack of knowledge Chapters have not looked into nonprofit status. It is my intention to demystify and simplify the process for everyone.

This information is important to all chapters even if your chapter did not participate in a walk this year. Every chapter needs to know all the options and the legalities concerning income to the chapter and tax liabilities.

Chapter officers, treasurers and chapter leaders should plan to attend this web chat event.

November 13, 2009

5:00 Alaska Time
6:00 pm Pacific Time
7:00 pm Mountain Time
8:00 pm Central Time
9:00 pm Eastern Time

Here is how to participate (no need to register):
1. Go to (5-10 minutes before web chat is scheduled)
2. Click on the "Log in to our Chat Room" button
3. Enter a username to use for the chat – Please use a real name and location so we know who you are.
4. Click on the "Connect" button
5. Click on “Rooms" button (found at the top of your right column)
6. Then double click on "Meeting room" to join the chat session.



Toni Barrient |Chapter Development
Hearing Loss Association of America

New Leadership support website

Chapter News Blog

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Letter to State and Chapter Leaders - November 2009

November 11, 2009

Dear Leaders,

Thirty years ago this month the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) was founded to bring attention to hearing loss.

At that time many people were skeptical that people with hearing loss could organize, since we were dispersed among the general population, in all walks of life, different socio-economic situations, and little in common but our hearing loss. What we had in common were communication needs that were not understood or taken into consideration at the policy level or even at home in the family environment. We were alone seeking help in coping with the daily challenges of hearing loss.

Fast Forward to 2009 – HLAA’s 30th Anniversary

Have we proved the skeptics wrong who said that people with hearing loss could not organize to effect change? Yes, we have! HLAA has pushed for laws allowing people with hearing loss to fully participate in society, our successes now require:

* Landline and cell phone to be compatible with hearing aids and cochlear implants.
* Television programs are captioned,
* Theaters and other public places must install assistive listening systems, and
* Courtrooms and classrooms must be made accessible.

Our advocacy work has resulted in two major milestones:

* Establishment of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIH), and
* Introduction of assistive listening devices to Americans during the 1981 White House Conference on Aging.

HLAA continues to influence policy for affordable products and services that make our world hearing and communication friendly. And daily, for 30 years, HLAA has helped real people with real problems.

The work of HLAA for 30 years has only been possible because YOU believe in the work we do and support us.

November is an important time for our organization. It is the time that we reflect on our past accomplishments and look forward to the future, and take pride in being the Hearing Loss Association of America. It is also the time when our Chapters from across the country celebrate Founders Day and assist in raising funds for the Chapter Development Office so that is can provide the ongoing support it provides to over 200 Chapters across the country and the new ones that form each month.

With your ongoing support the Chapter Development Office has been successfully able to:

* Launch a Wiki – a comprehensive HLAA website providing leadership support and information materials -,
* Reintroduce Chapter Development workshops at the HLAA Convention.
* Provided monthly web chats for Chapters.

In 2010 we plan to continue our efforts and:

* Hold a Leadership Training Workshop in Bethesda,
* Expand and improve Chapter/Leadership workshops at the Convention,
* Improve the accessibility of Chapter related monthly web chats.

Together we ask your Chapter to give a gift to HLAA to honor our past, but even more importantly, to ensure our future.

Please give whatever you can so that together we can be a part of a shining future for people with hearing loss. Help keep HLAA vibrant and keep proving the skeptics wrong who said 30 years ago that people with hearing loss can’t organize.

We can and together we are!


Toni Barrient.......................................Christopher T. Sutton
Director of Chapter Development.........Director of Development & Education
And Member Services