2011 Annual Report – Organization

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Organization Standing Committee
Betty Anne B. Davidson, Chairperson
2011 Annual Report

National life member liaison: Suzanne Kiazyk
Ad hoc leadership development committee: Life Member Fran Lucas, Life Member Joyce Green, Pat Rivest

Total paid memberships: 94,900

As members Centred on Faith & Justice with a special focus on being Women Against Poverty, opportunities were offered for enriched leadership and a way to exchange ideas, pray and enjoy being together. These opportunities were success stories involving the keys of faith, fellowship and fulfillment as integral elements to the planning. Attendance at the national convention was mentioned as the best way to see the whole League picture.

Recruit Members and Maintain Membership
Although more than 6,800 new and reinstated members were welcomed, almost 9,200 either died or did not renew memberships. This could be due to an aging population, the passing of long-term members or a reflection of the general malaise in the church.

Members from Alberta Mackenzie say, “Personal invitation is still the best recruitment tool.” Twelve short clips suitable for insertion in parish bulletins were sent to councils in Newfoundland and Labrador. Speaking and ministering at special weekend masses or holding a CWL Sunday with members wearing their pins and scarves followed by a social proved to be effective in collecting annual membership fees. Universally, members wore CWL pins, scarves and buttons to all parish functions.

A council in Prince Edward Island sent a recruitment letter to every woman over the age of 16 years in the parish. Membership envelopes helped membership fee collection. A parish council in Ontario offered a creative challenge; members who recruited new members had their membership fee paid by the council.

New members were treated like gold. They were recognized with a prayer service and given a membership pin and a new member kit. A few councils paid the first year’s membership fee for new members.

Membership retention was accomplished through communication. Membership lists were provided to all members to ease communication. Being welcoming and interested in one another was an important way to maintain membership. Keeping meetings short and interesting with good spiritual activities and an infusion of fun and providing rides and paying attention to the needs of senior and less active members helped to maintain membership. Membership fees were paid for elderly members.

Forty percent of parish councils used the on-line membership subscription and electronic updating system. Membership processing increased in efficiency by 40% from two years ago.

Recognition of members with pins, awards and appreciation dinners was an important way to keep them connected. A committee in the Military Ordinariate was struck to look at its criteria for filling executive positions and to allow more members to be eligible for the Kathleen McCrossin Exceptional Service Award. 

Leadership Development
Focus on self-improvement continued to be important for members and some continued their education through distance learning programs. Parish councils established lending libraries. Members attended conferences, workshops and conventions and learned how to use computers, cellular telephones and other new technology.

The provincial executive in Quebec visited as many parish councils as possible. Some councils clustered to participate in an “accepting the challenge” workshop while outreach to councils proved to ignite the spirit of members as they re-discovered the League. Councils in Newfoundland and Labrador were surveyed to determine their needs, and development sessions on roles and responsibilities of standing committees were requested.

A leadership training package containing three workshops was sent to each diocesan council. The material was used to coach members who were concerned about the League’s image and who desired to improve report-writing and conduct informative but exciting meetings. Applications for funding from the National Development Fund were for lesser dollar values.

Ontario and Manitoba subsidized members to attend conventions as a way of leadership training. To help foster an awareness of the different levels of work done and to renew spirit, Regina hosted mini-conventions or regional meetings as educational opportunities. A successful leadership workshop was presented to diocesan councils in Saskatchewan with the challenge to go and do likewise at regional levels. More members accepted leadership roles as a result of training initiatives. A mini-workshop to teach League basics entitled “CWL 101” was presented in B.C. & Yukon.

The reassurance of mentoring relationships encouraged members in Alberta Mackenzie to accept executive positions. Councils held orientation sessions for new executive members to discuss committee responsibilities, focus, plan and budget.

League Resource Material
Promotional pamphlets handed out after mass during membership drives did not attract many new members. The CWL Day of Peace & Hope Activities Kit was used by less than half the councils. Other League resources, like the Constitution & Bylaws, National Manual of Policy and ProcedureExecutive Handbook, The Beatitudes, as well as thehandbooks for secretaries, treasurers and organization chairpersons were handy resources and were brought to meetings “just in case”.

Annual convention booklets were circulated among members. Executive members in Manitoba made an indexed guideline to organize their binders in a common style which facilitated reporting.

Annual Reports
Annual reports form part of a council’s history and accomplishments during the year. Less overlap and more efficiency in writing annual reports was accomplished by following the guidelines contained in theExecutive Handbook. Monthly calendars of activities were found to be useful in compiling the reports.

Life Membership
Life members continued to be role models, resource persons, mentors and workshop facilitators. They assisted archives and elections committees. Each council in Newfoundland and Labrador had a life member contact person available for guidance as necessary. Their actions modelled the importance of attending meetings and conventions and reporting back to their councils. They were treated with honour at conventions at all levels.

Life member liaisons communicated good wishes, prayer requests, joys and sorrows among their life member sisters. Deceased life members were honoured in a sacred space at conventions in Manitoba.

Chairperson’s Activities

  • Eighteen life memberships were awarded.
  • Nova Scotia and B.C. & Yukon provincial councils each received a grant of $5,000 to assist members to attend provincial conventions.
  • The Ad Hoc Leadership Development Committee continued its work.
  • The first two parish councils to submit more than 50% of their 2012 membership fees, one by regular mail and the other on-line were each awarded $250.00 to be used for action against poverty. Congratulations to Holy Family Parish Council, Paradise, Newfoundland and Labrador and St. Joseph Parish Council, Stratford, Ontario.

Recommendations

  • Continue to invite other women to become members.
  • Appoint new life members as sub-committee chairpersons.

Leadership training sessions build member confidence and open their eyes to the faith, fun and fulfillment offered within the League.