Hearing Loss Association of America – Los Angeles Chapter
Based in: Pasadena, Los Angeles County
Age range of members: 20-92
1. What makes your chapter stand out? The level of activity and participation of our members, both at meetings and online, helps the LA chapter to stand out. When you mix that with our broad demographics, both in terms of age range and ethnicity, you have the formula for an exciting and thriving chapter.
2. What tips would you like to share with other chapters?
One of things we’ve tried to do is to continually cultivate the next crop of leaders within the chapter. HLA-LA allows two-year terms for the Steering Committee and limits the number of terms a President may serve consecutively. This fosters a greater level of commitment in newer members as they take on leadership roles, and assures that veterans don’t experience burn-out due to carrying the load of leadership for extending periods of time.
3. What types of outreach do you do?
Our primary and most effective form of outreach is word-of-mouth. By this, I mean that our members serve as ambassadors for the organization in their work and social lives. Many of us wear our hearing aids and cochlear implants in a manner that is very visible, making it more likely that others will ask us about them. And we are quick to answer questions and invite new people to our meetings.
A new effort we adopted this year was our Brochure Distribution Program. We customize brochures from the national organization (HLAA) with local contact information and reach out to audiologists and other organizations typically frequented by people with hearing loss, asking that they display the brochures at their locations. We also provide a postage-paid postcard that they can drop in the mail for refills when they’ve run out of brochures.
Lastly, we participate, as exhibitors, in local events for hard-of-hearing or senior audiences. For example, we recently participated in the Northrop-Grumman Disability Fair, the NO LIMITS Walk-A-Thon, and the Golden Futures 50+ Senior Expo.
4. Based on your experience, what are some effective ways to get new members?
One way to get new members is to have a strong web presence with up-to-date contact information. We often get emails and phone calls from potential members who found us by searching online.
Additionally, HLA-LA often refers to itself as the “party chapter”. We regularly have social events throughout the year, and we often gain new members whose first experience with us is at a party, rather than a formal meeting. Once people attend one of our parties, they tend to stick around.
5. How do you raise money for events, captioning, technology, or activities that support your chapter?
HLA-LA participates in the Walk-4-Hearing every two years, which allows us to contribute funds both nationally and locally. This event accounts for a substantial amount of our income. We also hold an annual garage sale, the proceeds of which, normally cover our costs for captions during meetings for the year. Finally, we had great success with a Wine Tasting/Silent Auction in the past. That’s an event we’re looking at re-visiting, in addition to exploring new fund-raising methods.
Our newsletter is edited by Lisa Yuan, who is also Secretary of the Steering Committee. Lisa won an award for “Best Chapter Newsletter” at the National Convention earlier this year. The newsletter is a one-page, multi-colored document filled with details of upcoming events and resources for our members and the general public. Lisa does a great job of organizing lots of information on just one page, keeping it simple and efficient for our readers.
7. Name a long term goal and a short term goal.
In the short term, we’re very much interested in assuring that we are meeting the needs of our membership and are providing the kinds of activities and services they want. We’ve recently added the position of Advocacy Chair to our steering committee as a direct result of member feedback and will continue to seek input from them in this vein.
Over the longer term, we need to develop a plan for future growth. As we continue to have success with recruiting new members, we’ll need to think about how to adapt to support and serve a larger membership.
Want more information? Contact HLA-Los Angeles Chapter President Malik B. El-Amin at firstname.lastname@example.org.