Friday, March 25, 2016

Interim Report from Your Director of Chapter Development

Good morning,

Finally we are moving into Spring.  Spring is my favorite time of year.  Mother Earth slowly emerges from her winter’s hibernation.  The days are getting longer.  The sun’s rays are shining brighter.  Tender shoots of new growth appear.  I hope you are enjoying the season.

This week I am finishing up my first 12 weeks as HLAA’s Director of Chapter Development.  It has been a wild and wonderful 90 days.  I want to personally thank each and every one of you for your warm words of welcome, support and encouragement.  I also want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to assist you.  And finally, I want to thank you for letting me know when I can serve you better.

It has been a whirlwind of activity: connecting with chapter leaders virtually and in person, asking questions, learning HLAA’s history and your individual chapter histories, responding to requests for assistance, and just generally trying to make myself available to you.  In addition to general on-boarding and orientation activity, I have been:

·         Assisting Bethesda office staff with the collection of the Chapter Update Forms so vital to keeping current information about your chapter online to the public.

·         Firming up the educational and training workshops for the  2016 State/Chapter Development Room. I am VERY excited about what we have in store for you at Convention.

·         Messaging you on a regular basis using the various broadcast communication vehicles at my disposal:  the HLAA Official Leaders List Yahoo Group, Hearing Loss Magazine This Week in Bethesda (affectionately known as TWIB), this State and Chapter Development Blog, and the various e-blasts. 

·         Creating new website materials in response to questions from  chapter leaders: Conflict of Interest Policy, Guidelines for Statewide Chapter Coordinators, and information on the new IRS Form 990 Filing Requirements.

·         Responding to requests for technical assistance

With your indulgence I would like to share a few of my initial impressions and future plans:

·         Chapters are the centerpiece of the Hearing Loss Association of America organizational structure. Everything I do must revolve around supporting them and strengthening them.  The entire Bethesda office recognizes the critical role chapters play in HLAA’s future.

·         I need to continue to build trust and continuity with you.  I am the third person to serve in Chapter Development in as many years.  Turnover is tough on trust and continuity.   I want you to know that I will respond to your requests by close of the next business day.  If I tell you I will do something then I will do it.

·         Turnover is not always bad. The people who were in this position before me accomplished great things. They left behind a rich legacy, for which I am grateful.  I do not have to reinvent the wheel. Instead, I can pick up the threads they left behind, apply my own vision, and weave them into a rich tapestry of chapter development and support.  The foundation is there, waiting to be built upon.

·         I am hearing that many of you are weary and burned-out.  You want help in recruiting chapter leaders and members, so you don’t have to choose between watching a chapter die and doing it all on your own. Chapter revitalization and volunteer recruitment are very important to you. 

·         You want technical assistance on things such as required annual HLAA filings, building awareness of chapter activities, required IRS annual filings.

·         You want tools and information you can use to run a strong chapter and form new chapters.  You want leadership training and support. I very much want to offer leadership training that will help you attract other leaders, volunteers, funders, and community partnerships.  Today’s digital technology makes information sharing easier than it has ever been. I intend to make the most of it.

·         After Convention I would like to begin making site visits to supplement virtual reality.  I have to be strategic about site visits, which means working with leaders from more than one chapter when onsite.  If you have a state association, perhaps a regional or state conference could be organized where I could spend time working with all chapters at once. If you don’t have a formal state association chapters could still band together to collaborate for a site visit. Site visits are expensive and the budget is not unlimited.  Chapter assistance with transportation, lodging, and meal expenses would allow me to get around to more places. Please email me with your ideas and let’s see what we can come up with.

·         You want complete information and guidance on the Unified Membership Program.  I promise you that will happen this year.

I am energized by the opportunities within these challenges.  I recognize I am but one person and that I have my work cut out for me.  However, I operate from the belief that no one person can do it alone and that, together, we can do it.  Together Everyone Achieves More.  T.E.A.M.

Thank you again for welcoming me so warmly into your world and I look forward to achieving great things together!

All the best,

Valerie Stafford-Mallis

Director of Chapter Development

Monday, March 21, 2016

Calling All Statewide Chapter Coordinators

Are you planning on attending the State Chapter Coordinators Workshop at Convention 2016? It is being offered on Wednesday June 22, 2016 from 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. This workshop is open to existing HLAA Statewide Chapter Coordinators and anyone who thinks they might be interested in learning more about this exciting position within HLAA. Make your plans to arrive at Convention 2016 early enough on Wednesday so you can be a part of this exciting experience.

HLAA Statewide Chapter Coordinators play a very important role within HLAA. They represent the national organization, the HLAA Board of Trustees, and all of its members; they work with the HLAA national office staff, local chapters, and state organizations for the good of people with hearing loss; and they identify and develop future HLAA Chapter Leaders. By word and example, statewide chapter coordinators guide and encourage the chapters under their purview to grow and deliver the HLAA mission. In short, they make major contributions to the strength and development of the chapter network within their states.
I want your experience of being a statewide chapter coordinator to provide you with an opportunity for achievement, recognition, personal growth, the sense of working to one’s full potential, and an element of excitement and fun.

I will be providing support and tools at this workshop with a focus on using them to assist you in the statewide chapter coordinator role. Core responsibilities will be discussed in detail and online resources that support those responsibilities will be explored.

Please make your plans to join us Wednesday June 22nd from 3:30 - 5:30 PM at the State Chapter Coordinators workshop. You will be so glad you did!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Chapter Development Update 9 March 2016

Since January, many of you have reached out to share what is working well and what is not. Thank you. Responding to your emails and requests for assistance is my top priority. 
The majority of my time has been spent on chapter administrative duties. It is not the most exciting stuff in the world, but administrative duties form the foundation for the successful delivery of all HLAA programs and services. I do thank you for your patience and understanding.
Please let me assure you it is not my dream to remain mired in administrative tasks forever. Not by a long shot! There is so much more to be done to provide chapter leaders and chapter members with direction, program options, and support to deliver the HLAA mission to their members and community.
See You in June at HLAA Convention 2016
Plans are being finalized for another exciting Chapter/State Development track at HLAA Convention 2016.  Please be sure to check the Chapter/State Development track on the HLAA Convention schedule early and often so you do not miss a single exciting event:>Convention>Schedule.
The Unified Membership Program Will Open To All Chapters After Convention
After Convention, the Unified Membership Program will be offered to all chapters in good standing with HLAA. The Unified Membership Program has been piloted over that past couple of years among a subset of HLAA Chapters. It is a powerful tool chapters can use to grow and expand and deliver the HLAA mission in ever-more exciting ways. I will be happy to help your chapter complete the enrollment forms.
Leader Resources
The HLAA website contains a wealth of support materials under the Support tab on how to manage more effective chapter meetings, how to revitalize chapters, and how to support member communication access needs.> Support. There is so much information on the website. Let me walk you through it, one-on-one.  That is what I am here for.  Do you have a specific question or topic about which you would like more information?  Please email me and I will be happy to help you find it.
Send Us Your News and Photos
Enough about me! I want to hear about YOU! Please send me 400-word stories about exciting things your chapter is doing. Please attach high-resolution JPG photos (300 dots-per-inch resolution is best) showing your chapter in action. I will feature them in future stories appearing in Hearing Loss Magazine.
To Get in Touch
You may reach me by emailing or by leaving a request for a call-back at 301-657-2248,  Extension 301. Your reachout is acknowledged, at the very least, by the following business day. Thank you for allowing me the honor of supporting your chapters.  Thank you for sharing your time and talents with HLAA. Together we will achieve great things!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Chapter Annual Filings

The Chapter Development office is available to assist chapters with the completion of their required annual filings.

The Chapter Updates were due October 1st.  If your Chapter or State Association has not yet submitted, please do so right away.  This is the only way we can keep the most current information about your Chapter on the HLAA website.  The Chapter Update form can be downloaded from the following link on the HLAA website:

Has your Chapter or State Association acquired an EIN (Employer Identification Number) from the IRS?  It is very important that your Chapter does so.  Why?

·         EIN's are required for entities wishing to be listed in the drop-down menu boxes for Walks for Hearing donations. 

·         EIN's are also required for Chapters and State Associations to be recognized as authentic HLAA Affiliates.

·         EIN's are required to complete your Chapter and State Association’s required annual filing with the IRS.

Here are some resources to assist your Chapter or State Association with acquiring its EIN

·         To learn more about EIN's, the following IRS Publication can be downloaded for free

·         To view a sample completed EIN Application please click on the following link

·         To download and complete an EIN Application form that you can then fax or snail mail to the IRS, please click on the following link

·         To complete the EIN application form online click on the following link .  Tip: print out a copy of the sample EIN and pencil in all the information for your chapter before you begin the online application to identify areas about which you have questions in advance.

More information about acquiring an EIN can be downloaded from the Prepare For and Request HLAA Chapter Recognition section on the following HLAA website page: 

Tax Season is fast approaching. 

Your Chapter's annual required filings for the tax year ended Dec 31, 2015 are due May 15th, if your Chapter operates on a calendar year.  The IRS will revoke your Chapter's EIN if annual filings are not submitted for three years in a row.  You do NOT want that to happen!  Smile.  Here is the information you need to know as a Chapter or State Association needs to know in order to file the IRS 990

While I am not qualified to give tax preparation advice, I am happy to answer any questions that fall within the scope of my authority.  Thank you for sharing your time and talents with HLAA.  You make the world a better place!
Valerie Stafford-Mallis