2007 Annual Report – Organization

2007 Annual Report of 
National Chairperson of Organization
Danielle McNeil-Hessian

National Life Member Liaison ? Joan Baudais

This report is based on the reports of the 11 provincial standing committee chairpersons. Once again provincial councils reported recruiting and maintaining membership as a priority.

Recruit members and maintain membership
Total membership for the year was 97,472. Five provincial councils increased membership and one provincial council maintained its membership. As well, the League was able to boast 4,818 new members. On the other hand 7,741 women did not renew their memberships and 946 members passed away.

All provincial councils continued to report excellent strategies and events to recruit and maintain membership. By all accounts personal invitations continued to be the best method of recruiting.

Recruiting activities

•  membership drives using League collection envelopes
•  invitations to special events
•  League luncheon with speaker
•  information booth at fun fair
•  League handouts after mass
•  parish bulletin/mass announcements
•  invitation to new parishioner/ recently married/child baptized/RCIA
•  League bulletin board
•  locally designed brochures
•  Bring a Friend to a Meeting campaign
•  women’s day sponsors
•  speakers at mass

Maintaining members activities

•  welcome kits and celebrations for new members •  speakers, workshops and programs at monthly meetings
•  socials after monthly meeting
•  homebound members visited
•  special birthdays remembered
•  flexibility in meeting times ? afternoons or evenings
•  membership dues paid for seniors in nursing homes
•  members phoned or e-mailed to keep them informed of events

One great idea worth special mention was that of mentoring. Pairing outgoing chairpersons with newly elected ones, or matching women based on years of service seemed to be an excellent way to promote leadership within the councils. Members were recognized through presentation of maple leaf service pins, certificates and anniversary pins.

Leadership development
In all provincial councils a variety of activities were used to promote leadership development, such as: attendance at diocesan and provincial meetings and conventions; attendance at workshops; leadership training programs/public speaking; guest speakers from other council levels; and, financial assistance for members to attend meetings and conventions. In addition, 24 councils received assistance from the national development fund for a total of over $33,000.

League resource material 
A variety of resources were available at the national, provincial and diocesan levels. These were used as a reference to train, inform, educate and celebrate members.

Some of the resource material used included:
•  National Manual of Policy and Procedure
•  The Canadian League
•  Constitution & Bylaws
•  Leading the League
•  brochures, leaflets, newsletters, websites
•  Executive Handbook
•  DVD For God and Canada

From all accounts members made regular use of the information highway. The national website became a regularly used resource for members at all levels.

Annual reports 
Annual reports not only served as a method of providing accountability to members, but also as a record that contributed to the council histories. Provincial reports indicated that a number of councils completed annual reports as a group project. This method of compiling not only benefited from the collective memory but provided an opportunity for fun and sharing. The reports were useful to others who were looking for a new spin on an old idea.

Life members 
In 2007 there were 11 honorary life members and 324 life members. Six life members passed away ? Alice Makodanski and Kay Williams (Manitoba), Helene Regier and Mary Dobell (Ontario), Iris Kendall (Newfoundland and Labrador) and Helen Arbuthnot (Nova Scotia).

Life members were very active and served as mentors, executive members and sub-committee chairpersons, webmasters and community leaders, wrote personal stories, researched resolutions and presented workshops.

For the past two years, Life Member Joan Baudais served as national life member liaison. Like life member liaisons at all levels, Joan kept life members informed and connected to each other. Congratulations to all life members who were an inspiration to others within the parish.

Activities undertaken by national chairperson and sub-committee chairpersons 
Focus groups were part of a process that began in 2005 with a proposal to realign the standing committees. The objects of the focus groups were:
•  to address the responsibilities of each standing committee chairperson as they related to the functioning of the League in today’s church and society
•  to determine if members believed that the realignment of standing committees should be undertaken

Based on the data collected, it was concluded that the realignment of standing committees should not be the area of focus for the national executive. The identified areas for focus were listed as education, structure, image, recruitment, membership participation, retention and interest.

The Handbook for Organization Chairpersons, a supplement to the Executive Handbook, was compiled and distributed as a resource to organization chairpersons at all levels.

The year marked the establishment of the Bellelle Guerin Award, named for the first national president, for presentation to women with at least 25 years of service who, in the opinion of their sisters, served as extraordinary members at the parish, diocesan and/or provincial levels.

The following articles were written for The Canadian League:
•  Membership in the League 
•  On Membership: Reflections of a Spiritual Advisor 
•  Affiliating with Other Groups 
•  Life Membership in The Catholic Women’s League of Canada 
•  Transforming into a Leader 
•  Parish Council Action Suggestions for 2007/08 Year 
•  Developing Members and Increasing Membership 
•  Our Newest Oldest Member 
•  Realignment of Standing Committees

Members continued to be committed to the League, the church and their communities. The focus for the League continued to be recruiting and maintaining members and the magic number is 100,000. This does not seem like much of a challenge and I am confident it will be done. Be not afraid. Members were encouraged to take up the challenge and invite friends to join this wonderful organization, share the joy; there is enough for everyone.