compiled by Ardis Bazyn

After introductions, our first panel spoke on "Innovative Methods to Host a Meeting." Denny Huff discussed conference call systems and the advantages of Skype. He mentioned three conference services: www.TotallyFreeConferenceCalls.com and www.FreeConferenceCalls.com. Both of these are basically the same. You can have up to 90 participants on a conference. You have the ability to record the conference call and then either call a number to listen to the playback or download the recording to your computer for playback. On both of these services, you have moderator control for turning entry and exit chimes on and off, muting all participants except for the moderator, reviewing the number of participants, and receiving a report after the conference call is finished stating how many participants you had on that call with their call-in phone number. You can easily sign up for either service without any cost to you. Www.freeconference.com is also a free conference system, but recording fees apply. Skype is an online calling system that can be used through a computer. Not all participants have to use a computer, but the host does. There is no charge for calls through this system in the U.S. and low cost for international calls. Pratik Patel spoke on accessible webinars and chat lines.

Cindi Vega of Utah, Becky Barnes from GDUI, Charles Glaser from RSVA, and Brenda Dillon of Tennessee shared affiliate experiences for the second panel, entitled "Membership Incentives." The list of affiliate incentives is below the highlights of the seminar. We congratulated the affiliate winning the ACB Affiliate Growth Award: the South Dakota Association of the Blind. Keith Bundy, immediate past president, represented the current co-presidents, Linda Biffert and Dawn Brush. The affiliate that placed second was the Montana Blind and Low Vision Council. Here are the tips Keith gave that boosted their membership.

We got a new membership team and took a new approach to recruiting.

Several people took names of former members and encouraged them to join again.

We had a team that worked together even stuffing envelopes.

Return envelopes were provided to make it more convenient for prospective members to return forms and payment of dues.

A support group located in the western part of the state formed an SDAB chapter.

A hand-out with a list of resources available to assist affiliate presidents was read. A special-interest hand-out was also available. If any president or their designee would like one, please contact Ardis Bazyn at [email protected].

Membership Incentives

- Discount on cabs

- Three hours of discounted ($5) mail reading service

- Free driving for members

- Group and individual volunteer assistance with shopping, labeling, recording of materials, gift-wrapping, etc.

- Free quarterly movie ticket

- Free bowling (chapter has bowling discount)

- Free computer training and a weekly e-mailed computer tip

- Free fishing program, including equipment and bait

- Discounts on cab rides, bus trips, local restaurants, entertainment, assistive technology training workshops, audio-described theater productions, movies, sporting events

- Grant for attending exercise and tandem bike classes

- Free CPR classes

- Reimbursement for expenses for members who participate in Disability Day on the Hill, fundraisers, or public awareness

- Sponsor or subsidize meals for convention

- Stipend for national convention

- Drawing for pre-registering -- win free luncheon ticket

- Members' discount on lunch and banquet tickets

- Reimbursement for attending convention banquet

- Fifty percent discounts to first-time convention attendees

- Discount exhibit tables for members and affiliates

- One-half to two-thirds cost of pre-arranged chapter activity

- Discounted boat tickets for supper cruise

- Volunteers to attend to help with buffet

- Discounted meal packages for early registration

- Free or discounted convention transportation

- Subsidize $25 Saturday night room rate

- Chapter drawings for rooms and first-timers' dinner

- Reimbursements to board members and delegates

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