CHAPTER VII - BVA MEMBERSHIP

 

Section 1. Membership Categories

 

A. In accordance with Section 1 of Article III (Qualifications for Membership, Associate Membership and Honorary Membership) of the BVA National Bylaws , any person having been, or being, in the Armed Forces of the United States shall be eligible for Membership if he\she has service-connected blindness or has incurred blindness during or after military service.


1. There shall be three categories of Members:

a. Member (M)(Annual Paying);

b. Life Member (LM);

c. Paying to Life Member (PLM).

2. Any Member whose sight improves to such an extent that he\she is no longer eligible for Membership will be retained as an Associate Member if he\she so requests.


B. Any person having been, or being, in the Armed Forces of the United States shall be eligible for Associate Membership if he\she has incurred blindness but the blindness incurred was not in the line of duty.

1. There shall be three categories of Associate Members:


a. Associate Member (AM)(Annual Paying);

b. Associate Life Member (ALM);

c. Paying to Associate Life Member (PALM).


2. Any person who was a member but did not renew their membership shall fall into one of the following two categories:


a. Former Member (FM);

b. Former Associate Member (FAM).

3. Any person having been, or being, in the Armed Forces of the United States and who has incurred blindness, whether in the line of duty or not shall fall into one of the following two categories:


a. Service- Connected Veteran, Never Member of BVA (NM);

b. Non-Service-Connected Veteran, Never Member of BVA (NAM).

Section 2. Dues Structure

 

A. Annual Membership dues for veterans meeting the requirements of Article III, Section 1 of the BVA National Bylaws shall be $15.00


B. Annual Associate Membership dues for veterans meeting the requirements of Article III, Section 4 of the BVA National Bylaws shall be $15.00.


C. Life Membership dues for veterans meeting the requirements of Article III, Section 1 of the BVA National Bylaws, and Associate Life Membership dues for veterans meeting the requirements of Article III, Section 4 of the BVA National Bylaws , shall be based upon the age of the blinded veteran at the time payment toward Life or Associate Life Membership is initiated and shall be as follows:

Membership Dues:

Category Age Category 44 or younger dues are $100, 45-54 dues are $88, 55-60 dues are $75, 61-65 dues are $63, 66 or older dues are $50.


D. Life Memberships, or Associate Life Memberships may be paid in full or may be initiated with a down payment of $25 or more; the balance shall be paid within two years of the date of initial payment.

1. If the balance is not paid within the succeeding two year period, the person will be reverted to an annual dues paying status and the amount paid towards Life or Associate Life Membership will be applied against that person's dues at the annual rate commencing with the date of initial payment.

2. This may result in that person being declared delinquent.

E. Any Life or Associate Life Member who has died shall have his/her membership continued in memorial unto perpetuity.

1. If a Member or Associate Member who has been paying towards Life or Associate Life Membership dies, anyone may pay the balance of the Life or Associate Life Membership and have it placed in memorial unto perpetuity.

2. A roster of perpetual Life and Associate Life Members shall be maintained at the National Headquarters.

Section 3. Apportionment of Dues

 

A. Annual Membership and Associate Membership dues shall be paid directly to the National Headquarters. They are due and payable on October 1 of each year and are delinquent on January 1 of the following year.


1. The rights and privileges of delinquent Members and Associate Members shall be suspended during the period of their delinquency.

2. Delinquent Members and Associate Members may be reinstated when they pay their dues.

B. Should an application for Membership or Associate Membership be rejected, dues or application fees paid by the applicant shall be refunded and his/her application shall not be entertained again for one year.


C. All annual dues collected by the National Headquarters from Members and Associate Members within the jurisdiction of any regional group shall be divided between the National Association and the regional group concerned on the basis of 80% to the regional group and 20% to the National Association.


Section 4. Life Membership Apportionment

 

A. Life and Associate Life Membership dues shall be paid to the National Association and shall be placed in a Life Membership Fund and 100 per cent of income earned in dividends and interest from the Life Membership Fund shall be apportioned among the various Regional Groups in good standing.

B. The Life Membership Fund shall be administered by a Board of Trustees, consisting of six individuals appointed by the National President with the advice and consent of the National Board of Directors.

1. At least one trustee shall be on the Administrative Staff of the National Headquarters, and not less than one-half (1\2) of the trustees shall be Members or Associate Members of the Blinded Veterans Association with at least one being on the National Board of Directors.

2. The terms of office shall be three years, with two trustees appointed three years each year.

3. The National President shall designate one of the trustees as Chairperson.

4. The Life Membership Fund Board of Trustees shall elect such other officers it may deem necessary and shall adopt rules of procedure governing the investment of funds, such rules of procedure to be subject to approval by the National Board of Directors.

5. The Board of Trustees shall have the power to buy and sell securities. In so doing, the Board of Trustees shall have the power to engage a Corporate Investment Manager and to give such Manager discretionary authority to buy and sell securities for the Investment Account of the Life Membership Fund.

C. Payment of dues for membership in the National Association automatically enrolls a Member, Associate Member, Life Member, or Associate Life Member into the regional group having jurisdiction over the area of his/her residence without payment of additional dues to that regional group.

D. A regional group shall not levy any additional assessment upon its Members,, Associate Members, Life Members, or Associate Life Members as a requirement for Membership or Associate Membership.

Section 5. National Membership Program

 

A. The backbone and substance of any organization is its membership. To be strong and effective, an organization must have a dynamic and energetic membership dedicated to the goals of the organization. The phrase "there is strength in numbers" is especially true with Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs). The founding members of the Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) envisioned an organization of blinded veterans providing assistance to other blinded veterans, a principle which has been guiding BVA since 1945. In order to be true to this founding and guiding principle, it is imperative that BVA have a solid active membership program that will serve to increase the organizations membership and by so doing strengthen its capacity to fulfill its goals and objectives of providing services to blinded veterans and their families.

B. The BVA membership program must be carried out on two levels, the National level and the regional group (RG) level. The National membership program consists of three membership mailings per year targeted at dues renewal for the coming year and soliciting former members to rejoin or entice veterans who have never been members to join. The first mailing of the year is the dues notification which is mailed to arrive at the member's home around October 1st of the year preceding the actual membership year, e.g. October 1, 1999 for 2000 dues year. This mailing goes to all membership categories for members within those categories who have annual memberships.

C. The second mailing reaches Former Members (FM), Former Associate Members (FAM), Non-Members (NM) and Non-Associate Members ( NAM ) approximately December 1st preceding the new dues year. These letters are tailored to encourage blinded veterans to either rejoin or join for the first time. Benefits of membership are explained in hopes of attracting these blinded vets.


D. The next mailing reaches FM's, FAM's, NM's and NAM's February 1st of the dues year, again soliciting FM's, FAM's NM's and NAM's to join. Letters are also sent to members and Associate Members whose dues have lapsed, reminding them to renew their memberships.


E. The National Office also sends out separate mailings to those blind vets who are paying to Life or Associate Life Memberships. This notification reminds them of their outstanding dues to complete payment. Other mailings may be initiated from time to time to maximize growth and retention.


F. Since its inception, BVA has sent the BVA Bulletin to all blinded veterans for whom we have an address regardless of membership status. This has caused some confusion in that blinded veterans believe that because they are receiving the Bulletin, they are members in good standing. To overcome this problem, a special notice is included in the large-print version of the Bulletin sent to FM's, FAM's, NM's and NAM's advising them they are not members of BVA but are receiving the Bulletin as a courtesy.

Section 6. Regional Group Membership Program

 

A. If the National Membership Program is to be effective and regional groups are to experience membership growth and retention, each regional group must engage in its own membership program. Recruiting and retaining members is one of the most time consuming and difficult tasks a regional group has to face each year. Success in this important area requires organization and tireless effort. Appointing a membership committee is generally the desired approach to meeting membership goals. This committee can be as active as possible.

B. BVA National recommends that the minimum regional group membership program consist of doing follow-up mailings to the National Program. Membership letter mailings should be arranged to arrive during the months following the National mailing, and the letters should be tailored to the regional group activities and the benefits of membership. Letters are by no means the only way to recruit new members or to get old members to renew.

C. BVA National believes one of the most effective methods--one utilized by a number of regional groups--is to undertake a telephone contact. Personal contact with prospective members seems to be extremely effective. These calls are most effective when timed to follow closely behind letters sent either by the National or the regional group.

D. Other methods that have produced results are to include non-members on the regional group mailing list, insuring that these individuals receive notices of regional group activities and also any newsletters produced by the regional group. With the assistance of BVA National, the regional group might also consider having Public Service Announcements (PSAs) made that can be played on local radio stations letting blinded veterans in the area know about BVA and how to contact the regional group.

Section 7. How to Order Labels and Printouts

 

A. The BVA Membership Manager should be contacted at least ten days prior to the date a regional group wishes to receive its labels and printouts. Please specify the number of sets desired, keeping in mind that BVA National's policy is not to send more than two sets due to the constant updating of the BVA database. It should be noted that changes of address and notifications of death are received by BVA National on a daily basis.

1. Please specify how you wish the labels and printouts to be sorted, i.e., zip code or alphabetical.


2. Identify the exact mailing address to which the labels and printouts are to be sent if someone other than a regional officer is receiving the package.


B. If a regional group has established Chapters or Districts that may wish to conduct separate mailings to their members, the regional group President must designate to BVA Headquarters the individual within the Chapter or District who is authorized to receive labels. Additionally, the request for labels should be by zip code in order to provide the specific membership labels required.


C. If the BVA National Headquarters 800 toll-free number is utilized, be sure to leave all the above information. Your request will be processed immediately if the above procedures are followed. Should you have any questions, please contact the BVA Membership Manager.

*Administrative notes:

1. The BVA National Headquarters does three membership renewal mailings per year. If a regional group is planning to do a renewal reminder, check with the National Office (Membership Manager) first. This will avoid duplicate mailings.

2. Only regional group officers or designated individuals receiver labels\printouts. Any unusual label\printout requests must be approved by the Executive Director. Field Staff should contact the Administrative Assistant to the National Field Service Director for regional printouts following the same procedure.