Monday, April 28, 2014

Wanted: New Members and Volunteers

During my first week on the job I got a chance to review 79 leader surveys, discuss the results with 30 some leaders and visit leaders at three member meetings to better understand HLAA Chapter opportunities and needs first-hand. I thank everyone for his or her feedback and am planning to address all the major results in future blogs as well as at the All-Leaders Workshop on Wednesday, June 25 from 2 to 5 pm in Austin at the HLAA Convention 2014.

One of the most commonly raised issues is the need to attract new members and more volunteers. There are many factors that contribute to this, but for now, let’s focus at the critical factor of first impressions, the foundation of an effective member building effort. All chapters report they get first-time visitors at meetings, but only a few chapters seem able to consistently encourage many of their visitors to return to future meetings, and even fewer have success in nurturing newcomers to become active members or volunteers. Not surprisingly, the successful chapters share several best practices in how they welcome visitors, which include a:

Warm Greeting                         
A smiling, friendly receptionist can set the tone for a supportive and welcoming environment. 

Welcoming Receptionist
Simple Sign-in
The successful chapters focus at getting the visitors to provide the information they need: a name and e-mail address so they can send them meeting notices. Studies show many people avoid giving their e-address if a sign-in asks for too much information, so don’t request a home address, phone number or anything else unless you plan to use it immediately at this stage of developing a relationship.

Explanation of Why an E-mail Address is Helpful 
Some people are resistant to give their e-mail address but most will consent if the sign-in sheet simply says that “chapter updates on future meetings are only sent via e-mail”.

HLAA Information
The reception table should provide an introduction to HLAA and the chapter. The most persuasive tools are Hearing Loss Magazine and a flyer that introduces the chapter’s HLAA mission, meeting schedule and contact info.

A Welcome Kit 
Successful chapters do not leave the discovery of the introductory materials to chance for visitors. They hand them a packet, which can be as simple as a one-page letter of welcome with the chapter’s mission, meeting schedule and contact information.

A Newcomer Name Tag
Everyone at the meetings should have a name tag, but visitors need one that easily identifies them as a guest, such as a color-coded tag.

A Personal Welcome from a Leader
The toughest moment for a first-timer visitor is when they walk into a room full of strangers, often alone. A friendly welcome by one of the leaders who highlights what to expect in the meeting can set them and their expectations at ease. Another very helpful upfront practice is for a leader to tell the visitor that they would like to hear how the meeting went for them after the meeting ends.

Volunteer Job Title List 
It helps to make a call for volunteers at every meeting and refer all interested candidates to a written list of the job titles that you are looking to fill.

E-mail follow-up
A very effective technique is an e-mail from the chapter leader within a few days of the meeting to a personally welcome the visitor again, briefly remind them of the mission, upcoming schedule and encourage them to contact you personally if they have any questions.

I would love to hear from each of you on what is working and where you need more support.  

Director of Chapter Development

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Photo Story: Last Week in Bethesda

Last week at your national HQ office in Bethesda was an exciting one. Why? There's a new kid in town -- Ed Ogiba, your new director of chapter development arrived. He is here to guide, support, and help you maneuver your way in your communities as you form and grow chapters. It's serious business but it's not without fun.

You can contact Ed Ogiba at Thanks for all the work you are doing of behalf of people with hearing loss. We are all in this together!

Have a great week,
Barbara Kelley
Deputy Executive Director
Editor-in-Chief, Hearing Loss Magazine

A picture says a thousand words:

This is the cherry blossom scene that welcomed Ed when he drove into Bethesda from Sarasota, Florida.
The Montgomery Country (MD) Chapter meeting on April 19 included the leaders of the DC Chapter. The featured speaker was HLAA member, Zac La Fratta, Au.D., who talked about ALDs. Here the group welcomes Ed who got a chance to meet with leaders of both chapters to discuss how HLAA can support their efforts.
The Baltimore Chapter had their meeting on April 24 where Ed was the featured speaker. Here he meets with the chapter's board members before the meeting. From left, Steve Wonell, Bob Leepa, Melissa O'Neil, Ed, Hal, Linda Webb, and Amy Bopp.
The staff at the national office love a party! Here they are celebrating Ronnie Adler's birthday. Not all staff and volunteers were present for the photo (Anna Gilmore Hall, executive director, was visiting the New York City Chapter that day), but those who were are pictured, from left, front: Susan (director of web technologies), Ronnie (director, Walk4Hearing), Heather (database/IT administrator).
Back: Barbara Miller (program assistant and receptionist), Nancy (HLAA Convention and director of marketing), Barbara Kelley, Ed, and Gaelin (membership database/program assistant)
Ed's tip for chapter development: "Use the knockout rendition of Tres Leches cake for your next chapter meeting. You can get the recipe from Barbara Kelley who made the cake."

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Sarasota, Florida, Chapter and “The Giving Challenge”

Message from JoAnne DeVries
HLAA-Sarasota Chapter

We want you to know about a unique and exciting fundraising opportunity the Hearing Loss Association of America-Sarasota Chapter is participating in for the first time. It’s called The Giving Challenge. Even more, find out how your chapter might participate in your area.

What makes The Giving Challenge so different is that it is an online event lasting only 24 hours―from noon May 6 to noon May 7, 2014. While soliciting donations, we will also compete with other participating nonprofit organizations in the area for incentives and matching funds raised by several generous foundations in the Sarasota area.

With One Click, You Can Help!
One of the incentives we are competing for is to drive the most traffic to our profile, which explains our mission, accomplishments and plans for the future. The nonprofit that drives the most views will receive a $4,000 grant!

Please support us by visiting our profile anytime between noon May 6 to noon May7 by clicking here.

You can view our profile using any of your electronic devices (smartphone, computer, tablets). Each time you access the profile using a different device, it counts as one visit. That’s all you have to do!

How HLAA Sarasota Uses the Money

The monies raised through the Giving Challenge will allow the HLAA Sarasota Chapter to focus on several key objectives:

  • Feature more vendor displays and seminars at our annual Hearing Tech Expo;
  • Provide educational workshops and professional presentations during monthly meetings;
  • Increase the number of business locations in our community utilizing loop technology;
  • Expand our efforts to reach 135,000 local residents with hearing loss who are not receiving treatment or the assistance they need.
We hope we can count on your support, so we can continue to have a direct, positive impact on the lives of those with hearing loss.  

Would You Like to Be Part of “Give Local?”
The 2014 Giving Challenge aligns with a national "Give Local" giving day, during which more than 60 communities across the country are participating in online giving events. If your chapter is interested in participating in a challenge, HLAA-Sarasota would be more than happy to share our template. To see if there is a challenge in your area, click here

If you have any questions, you can reach me, JoAnne DeVries. 

Please like HLAA Sarasota Chapter Facebook page here.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Message from Ed Ogiba, New Director of Chapter Development

Dear Leaders 

I am very excited and honored about the opportunity to support every one of you in any way I can. We share a common goal: to make HLAA Chapters or State Associations a more meaningful experience for your members and community. To guide me on how to best assist you, I need and invite your feedback. Please:

Complete the survey a.s.a.p. for either Chapter Leaders or State Leaders if you have not already done so.

Join for me for the All-Leaders Workshop on June 25, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the HLAA Convention 2014. We are inviting all state leaders, chapter leaders and leaders of any committee, initiative or project who is interested in learning how to:
  • Build awareness in your community
  • Build attendance at meetings and encourage more visitors to become members/volunteer
  • Deliver the ultimate Education, Support and Advocacy program
  • Raise funds 

Contact me about any question, issue or opportunity that is on your mind. 

For those of you who have already reached out to me, thank you.  Your warm welcome and the chance to get to know you is very much appreciated. I look forward to meeting all of you at the the HLAA Convention or a chapter/state event before long. In the interim, I welcome all your phone calls and e-mails on whatever is on your mind or wish list.

Best wishes,
Ed Ogiba
Director of Chapter Development


Monday, April 21, 2014

He's Here!

Ed Ogiba, the new director of chapter development, arrived on planet HLAA HQ Office in Bethesda, Maryland, today. Ed's email address is Phone is 301.657.2248.

HLAA Executive Director Anna Gilmore Hall greets Ed Ogiba.

Right now Ed needs your survey responses to two surveys that went out last week. If you haven't completed them, please click below.

Survey to state leaders and state chapter coordinators.

Survey to chapter leaders.

Ed will use this blog for messages much like I have since January. However, I'll be posting messages too -- you can't get rid of me that easily!

Join me in saying "Welcome Ed!"
Barbara Kelley

Friday, April 18, 2014

Friendly Reminder: HLAA Chapters IRS Filing Due May 15th

The IRS requires ALL tax-exempt organizations to file an annual information return. Each HLAA Chapter is a separate tax-exempt organization, each with its own EIN and, as such, each HLAA Chapter must file its own annual information return with the IRS. This is true for HLAA Chapters that applied for their own tax-exempt status, as well as for HLAA Chapters that are tax-exempt as part of the HLAA National Group Exemption.
Read more about the guidelines here.

Some chapters can file form 990N online, it’s the easy “postcard” form.


If you have any questions or meet any hurdles you can’t get over, email Sean Smith, controller, at HLAA.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Famous Jacob’s Ride will be Completed on May 31 in Miami

Florida Chapters -- Jacob is Coming Your Way
Jacob Landis, the creator of Jacob’s Ride, will complete his amazing ride on May 31, 2014, in Marlin’s Park in Miami.

Jacob returns to Florida to finish the last 180 miles of his 2013 ride that took him to all 30 Major League Baseball Parks to raise awareness about hearing loss.

The 2013 Ride was cut short at mile 10,666 in Frostproof, Florida, when Jacob was hit and seriously injured by a semi-truck. He was just 180 miles from Marlin’s Park and was not able to ride that last leg.

He vowed to return after he recovered in order to ride into Marlin’s Park just as he had planned last year. There will be a 60-mile loop/rally to form an escort of riders who will join Jacob as he triumphantly returns to Marlin’s Park on wheels! 

People are also invited to join Jacob at the Marlin’s/Braves game that day as well. ABC's Tampa morning news show will host Jacob live on May 28 before he resumes the ride and will follow his progress.

Please help Jacob by joining the rally, attending the game, volunteering to help at the event, and forwarding the news to everyone. 

Please note: all riders must be preregistered online via in order to participate.

If you have any questions regarding details, please email: or call Randy Landis 443.876.5113, or Eileen Jones 401.965.0700

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Imitation is the Greatest Form of Flattery

Spotlight on Chapters, a relatively new feature on, highlights HLAA Chapters and their success stories. Not only does it give us a chance to say thank for all your work and give you some nice publicity, it gives others ideas of what they might do in their communities.

Julie Olson, Wisconsin leader, is the wizard behind the curtain for Spotlight. There is a place on the website for you to to send your comments or stories.

Go ahead, copy the ideas of your fellow HLAA Chapters and have fun doing it.

Click here to read Spotlight on Chapters.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

"All the News that Fits We Print"

Hot off the Press: News from National for Editors and Webmasters

I know that finding news and meeting deadlines is ongoing and can be tough. But, it’s worth it. I always tell people that the first thing a forming chapter should do is publish a newsletter. It keeps people connected in between meetings and gives information they can act on locally. It helps HLAA Chapters become valuable to people who are looking for information and support. 

To make your job a little easier, I've created news you can cut and paste for your local and state newsletters, websites and/or to read at meetings. It might interest members to know that your work in the chapters and states has the backing of a national organization we are all part of.

We are all here for the same reasons -- to create awareness about hearing loss, reduce the stigma, and help people live well with their hearing loss.

You put in hours of sweat equity, so on behalf of Executive Director Anna Gilmore Hall, the HLAA Board of Trustees and people in the community where you live, THANK YOU!

I've posted the Word doc of news to cut and paste on both the Newsletter Editor's Listserve and the Leaders Listserve. If you would like me to email it directly to you, I am happy to. Just email me here with your request.

Thanks again! Hope you all meet your deadlines.
Barbara Kelley
Editor-in-Chief, Hearing Loss Magazine

One Brave Chapter Throws Down the Gauntlet

HLAA Montgomery County, Maryland, Chapter
Issues a Challenge…for the Sixth Year!

The HLAA Montgomery County, Maryland Chapter is issuing a challenge to all HLAA Chapters and State Associations to help bring more people to the

HLAA Convention 2014 in Austin, Texas, June 26-29.

If you have been to an HLAA Convention, you know it is an event not to be missed. But there are people who really want to go,

but need financial support to get there.

For the sixth consecutive year, the HLAA-Montgomery County MD Chapter (HLAA-MC) is again issuing a challenge to chapters and state associations to send donations (in increments of $500) to the HLAA Chapter Challenge fund to help send as many people to Convention 2014 as possible. 

HLAA-Montgomery County (MD) Chapter originated the Challenge by giving $500 of their proceeds from the Washington DC Walk4Hearing to the convention scholarship fund. The idea caught on! We hope chapters and state associations with funds from the HLAA Walk4Hearing or other fundraisers will consider financing a scholarship.
People are Lining Up
HLAA has 17 applications awaiting scholarships. To date, HLAA has awarded seven scholarships from the following generous resources:
  • Rocky Stone Endowment Fund (1)
  • Bob Branigin Fund (3)
  • HLAA-Montgomery County Chapter (1)
  • Hearing Systems – Max McCarthy (1)
  • Phonak AC (1) 

We Need 10 More Scholarships 
Members remembering their first convention experience know this a life-changing experience. It is an opportunity to absorb information and education to live better with hearing loss, to grow personally and professionally, to socialize with other people with hearing loss, to experience cutting-edge technology, and to attend workshops accessible with CART and assistive listening systems. 
Let’s see what we can do to bring all these good folks to Convention 2014.
Each scholarship recipient will receive a full-activity registration package. Please take the challenge and let us know you accept by April 30, 2014. Checks should be sent to HLAA, Attn: Nancy Macklin, 7910 Woodmont Avenue, Suite 1200, Bethesda, MD 20814. If you have any questions about the scholarships, email Nancy Macklin.

Hope to see you in June!
Kind regards,
The Steering Committee
HLAA Montgomery County, Maryland, Chapter

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

We Want to Know about You! Short Survey Coming Soon

Leaders and State Chapter Coordinators:

Later this week we are sending you two surveys that will go to:
  1. state leaders and state chapter coordinators
  2. leaders of chapters
You may get one or both. Please take time to respond to these surveys as they apply to your role with HLAA.

Ed Ogiba, new director of chapter development, is officially joining the staff on April 21. He will depend on these surveys for information about you and HLAA activities in your city or state. They will also be used to fine-tune the workshops at the HLAA Convention 2014 in Austin.

So, let's help Ed help you. Look for an email from HLAA. If we have used the wrong email address or directed it to the wrong person, please help me out and send it along to the right person.

Have a great week.
Barbara Kelley

Friday, April 4, 2014

Webinar: Attracting and Keeping Volunteers

This is sure to be a hot topic!

Captioned Webinar on Attracting and Keeping Volunteers
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
If you can't make it, the webinar will be recorded and captioned for playback.

Kate Scherr-Adams

For more information go to this link

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Power of Words

We get questions about how to describe people who have hearing loss and what are the appropriate terms. Journalists have become sensitive to writing about people with disabilities; however, we still see confusion in mainstream publications and inaccuracies in how hearing loss is described.

HLAA Editor Barbara Kelley writes "Understanding the Terms -- Culturally and Audiologically" to explain the terms, how they’ve evolved, and how HLAA uses them.

We hope this helps newsletter editors and leaders. You have permission to reprint this article with credit to the source -- Hearing Loss Association of America

If you would like the article in another format, email Barbara Kelley.

This article was just posted last week to the Leader Support page here