Money: Proposal Five


Watch the webinar recording for Money & Members.

We encourage you to use the PowerPoint presented at the webinar and the Structure Modernization Discussion Guide to help facilitate conversations in your networks. 

 Money: Proposal Five

  • Diversify National NOW’s sources of income by creating a minimum “give or get” for National Board members
    • Examples of “give”:
      • Giving cash
      • Bringing in new members
    • Examples of “get”:
      • Conference sponsorships
      • Major gifts
      • Visionary Circle members
    • For example,
      • National board – $1,000 (or 10 new members)
      • State board – $500 (or 5 new members)
      • Chapter board – $200 (or 2 new members)

Posting Instructions

1. If you want to share your thoughts on a proposal (remember these are just concepts, the actual language will be developed later), write your reply in the text box bellow the words Leave Reply, and in the box “Enter your comment here…”

2. If you want to respond to a comment that another NOW member has left regarding a proposal, click the small blue link that says “Reply” underneath said comment. It is very important that you click this reply button and not start another comment so that the conversation is easily followed and clear!

3. You MUST put your full name and chapter affiliation before every comment you leave. If a comment does not have a name and chapter affiliation it will not be approved. This is to ensure that only NOW members are commenting.

4. Remember be respectful and friendly! All NOW members want to work to improve the organization and it takes collaboration and patience on our part as a grassroots organization to make sure that all of our members voices are heard – even those with whom we may disagree with.

5. Be creative and don’t be afraid to say what you think! It is vital that you share your opinions — in order to create the best proposals possible we need to know what all of the members think! This site is for YOU to have your voices heard.


38 thoughts on “Money: Proposal Five

  1. While I do believe that Board members can & should help National NOW run more smoothly by volunteering their time for tasks they can accomplish, asking Board members for a dollar amount is unworkable and would leave many people out. It sets up a system where some people can pay their way out of a time obligation but others will not be able to. Therefore it is discriminatory. Yes other boards do this, but that doesn’t make it the right solution for NOW.


    • It is not a requirement. It is an option of obligations that the National Board participates in supporting the organization by EITHER getting donations, making a contribution OR getting members (the life blood of the organization and the only way we survive!)

      More membership is the most grassroots proposal I can forsee. Nothing is more grassroots than having more people participating in membership?!


      • Matt Shapiro, NOW-NJ, Norhern NJ NOW

        What you’re missing, Meredith, is that NOW board members are ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES of the members in their respective regions. Aside from length of membership, the only “requirement” is that they be elected on the basis of who they are and what they stand for. If they want to campaign on their ability to either contribute their own funds to NOW or to get new members to join, they are free to do so. Perhaps it will get them more votes. But to require monetary contributions or finding new members as a condition of even running for the Board runs totally counter to our democratic tradition. It is certainly not “grassroots.” And calling these two alternative requirements “obligations” does not change what they are.


  2. After reading the comments….. hmm….. too many variations for people paying their own way in. I feel as though this is the US Supreme Court saying corporations are people. Getting funds to NOW – should NOT be associated with a person’s ability to serve on the National Board. We struggle with our members being aware of and backing an appropriate person to serve on the board. Volunteers, Volunteers, Volunteers….. I love our GrassRoots efforts. But it requires Communication, Communication, Communication, and an EASIER VOTING PROCESS.

    We can create a voting process for the Regional Representation that is separate from all the other voting process standards. We should be looking at each level of representation and determining what is the best mechanism for that level…. This is not a one size fits all.

    Chapter -> State -> Regional -> National…… each a separate decision.

    Florida Lake NOW — why do I need to be a chapter member….. At-Large – is that a chapter… Your website field is that supposed to be a chapter field?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. After reading the comments….. hmm….. too many variations for people paying their own way in. I feel as though this is the US Supreme Court saying corporations are people. Getting funds to NOW – should NOT be associated with a person’s ability to serve on the National Board. We struggle with our members being aware of and backing an appropriate person to serve on the board. Volunteers, Volunteers, Volunteers….. I love our GrassRoots efforts. But it requires Communication, Communication, Communication, and an EASIER VOTING PROCESS.

    We can create a voting process for the Regional Representation that is separate from all the other voting process standards. We should be looking at each level of representation and determining what is the best mechanism for that level…. This is not a one size fits all.

    Chapter -> State -> Regional -> National…… each a separate decision.


  4. Bonnie Shapiro, Northern NJ

    Last year I suggested to Liz Harper when they were working on all this that they should just raise the dues to $45 and ask chapters to voluntarily donate toward a paid organizer. My suggestion met with total negativity. I think $50 is also legitimate and should be tried long before all of these changes, in combination with actual actions on issues to raise interest in the organization and leet people know we are still here.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I wholeheartedly agree we should raise the dues, at the same time keeping the sliding scale. Frankly, I would like to see the dues raised to $50. If only 30,000 members (we have over 60,000 members) were able to pay that extra $15 per year that would still bring in an extra $450,000 to national NOW. We don’t need to amend bylaws or restructure to do that.


  6. This is Joan Waitkevicz, membership chair, Palm Beach County (FL) NOW.
    Thanks Meredith for presenting the session on restructuring at the Florida NOW Conference.
    I feel some activist members in State and National have a talent for raising money. Meredith is one of them Others have a talent for raising hell. Both are essential. Don’t fire the hell raisers.
    How far would a modest rise in suggested annual dues take us? (regular dues $40, sliding scale $25 to $39. Rebates remain the same. National retains the extra $5. Chapters and states have the option to pay for valued members who cannot afford $25.)

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I am on the national board, my state board, and my local chapter board. This proposal would require me to pay $1700. I would resign. I was recently asked to be on another state board that I would have really enjoyed working with but was told that the “buy” was $2000; I declined because I cannot afford that. I spend a minimum of 20 hours/week working for NOW on the local, state, and national levels and I have been responsible for bringing in several new members, though I’m not sure how each of them could be specifically attributed to me other than my local chapter would probably “give” them to me so that I could get credit for them. I know I have also recruited members on the state level who are not members of my local chapter; again, nobody really knows but me. Board members should be selected with the understanding that they will work hard to develop and strengthen NOW. I like Marian’s idea of board members contributing their unique talents.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Bonnie Shapiro, NNJ NOW

    i agree with Jocelyn.

    i read Pat’s extended idea in the introductory webinar. It calls for identifying large donors. If you have not already, I suggest getting in touch with Beyonce. She performs with the gigantic sign “FEMINIST” in back of her. A good sign ( pun intended).


  9. I would say it should be “encouraged” but not an “expectation” because once again it will cut out all the members who can not pay the $1,000.00 suggested. Are we putting our board/advisory seats on an “auction block” and sold to the highest bidder? Not if I have anything to say about it!


  10. Whether or not this is adopted for the national board, I propose that we make it an expectation for the national advisory committee members. I will put more about the advisory committee on the discussion board covering the introduction.


  11. I’ve been re-reading all the posts from all these webinars. Are NOW’s money troubles and decline in membership so severe as to require completely changing the very nature of the organization? Because if that is truly the only solution, then I would suggest that this organization’s name also be changed. If it does not continue to be the grassroots, member governed NOW that we all signed up to join, then I’d prefer to let it go with its accomplishments and integrity intact. There have certainly been suggestions made on these various discussion boards that, if passed, would render NOW unrecognizable. Should that occur, I hope the new organization takes a new name.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Meredith, my feeling was that the problem was that our committee didn’t start meeting early enough (at the Sept. Board meeting it was agreed that the committees would start meeting after the November elections). Then, our first scheduled meeting in February there was a problem with the conference call phone service (I waited on the phone for 15 minutes from Mexico). I did send an email to which several committee members responded in agreement, but saw none of these suggestions that were agreed upon in the webinar topics. I think people try, but we can’t start trying to accommodate everyone’s schedules only a month before the webinar on our topic. I know I kept emailing, even to the point of asking Terry, when we as a group would meet. Frankly, I think the committees were not encouraged by the Executive Committee to meet until they were reminded that we had agreed to meet after the November elections. After our Sept board meeting I was excited and looking forward to meeting as a group to work on our committee’s issue. I became quite discouraged and a bit suspicious when it was clear there was really not a plan for us to meet.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Charlotte Klasson, LA NOW and Mid-South representative to the National Board

    I’m very curious, what are the stories about the other board committees? That would be helpful for those of us who have questions about our own committee responsibilities.

    Also, nothing prevents a board member from doing a large “Give” ever, so if anyone would like to do it, then that is great and should be encouraged for those who can.

    But several people have said that recruitment at the local level is paramount and developing membership programs to assist chapters would make a huge difference and is in keeping with our organization’s roots. Like Jocelyn said, if every member got one additional paying member, we double it just like that.

    Lots to think about!


  14. This proposal DOES NOT require money. It asks people to take responsibility for the long term viability of the organization. We have a sliding scale for membership. If our board members are not able to raise money, it is just as valuable to me that people participate in raising membership.

    I am the chairperson for this committee. In scheduling the meetings to even talk about this, it was difficult to achieve commitments to attendance. How are we supposed to get others to participate in the important work we do when our board isn’t in? (And, I understand this is not the only committee where scheduling issues happened)

    This is not necessarily about money. It’s about commitment! How else do we get the members? How many new members have you brought in this month?!


  15. Marian Bradley, NW Regional Director and Montana NOW

    As I stated before, I am against “give or get” to serve on a Board at any level of the organization. However, in thinking about this and trying to solve the issues we face and compromise a very real issue we have, including some Board members at every level, not doing anything other than attending a Board meeting, I am thinking it might be possible to “GIVE” in other ways for those who cannot make a money contribution or who choose not to actively recruit.

    We could, as the first part of the give process ask every Board member to donate their time and/or talent to the organization. Some individuals are strong in social media, others web design, others training, etc. One could volunteer to post on FB, etc. on behalf of NOW, work on updating our website, help train state presidents, etc. If one were to choose not to do any of the opportunities we would have available, they could “get” new members. And, if one were to choose not to recruit members, they could pay the dollar amount that has been set.

    This would remove the economic issues some would have and thus not be able to serve on a board. (Yes, I could pay the give amount). We have some board members who are the best recruiters I have seen (I’m not one of them). So for me personally to recruit (and, yes, I do carry NOW membership forms with me), would not be my choice. I do have other talents that would serve this organization and I would prefer to use them for the betterment of NOW.

    So, maybe we need to not use “give or get” and only think in terms of money or members, but expand our thought process to something that could work at every level of the organization.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. We already have a VP of Membership who has soo many other duties she never gets to recruit or help other members/chapters recruit. If EACH NOW member recruited at least one number member it would double our membership number NOW! I keep NOW brochures on me all the time!! I agree that NW should not limit board member access by making members “BUY” their seat. How is this different from what the Koch Brothers are doing buying our government/country! We do not need to go down this road.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Dina S Willner, Northern NJ NOW

    I submitted a post but forgot to put my name on it. I can’t duplicate it but these are my thoughts on this matter. If I posted twice, I apologize.

    What this proposal seeks to do, with all due respect, is to set up cure that would kill the patient. It may well work in the sense of raising money but it will destroy NOW as a grassroots organization. It shows that people in the lower socioeconomic strata of society need not apply for leadership. By failing to recognize the time and monetary constraints that poorer people are subject to, NOW defines itself as an elitist, privileged group with a leadership that has to pay to play. That is bad whether in government or in private groups.

    Instead, there are proposals to reduce the salaries of employees and/or the number of positions. This should enable NOW to hire a professional recruiter. The recruiter’s job would be to build membership and raise funds. The leadership could then direct its energies where they belong which is to grassroots actions supporting NOW’s stated goals.

    I do not think that the REAL problem is that our leadership is not recruiting or paying to be in leadership. I think the real problem is that this proposal would be throwing the baby out with the bath water and change NOW to such a degree that it will be unrecognizable.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. What are your solutions instead?

    This proposal doesn’t seek to remove the autonomy of the grassroots. This proposal is a start to a long term solution.

    I am curious how we can achieve our objectives of equality if we don’t exist. I’m concerned about the long term viability of this organization and our competitiveness is key. There is a lot of money, effort and energy going into our opponents’ campaigns against our basic human rights.

    With all due respect: What do you suggest is a better way to start? Who will support our efforts if we don’t? How do we ask others to participate when we have no resources?

    These are REAL problems. It is imperative that we stand up and be counted first. It is imperative that we solve the problem. It is imperative that we be responsible as we were elected to do!


  19. Dina S Willner Northern NJ NOW

    This is very disturbing to me, that NOW would actually require money or members before allowing one into a leadership position. It is to close to something like Citizens United (one of the worst decisions ever by the supreme court) to sit well with me. And to minimize the money involved shows me that the problems with raising money that poorer people have are not recognized and/or understood. That is a hell of a lot of money when you are trying to find the money to pay for food.

    And campaigning for new members? You would rather have NOW leadership campaigning for new members than working on issues. Where is the busy woman to find that time? I want a leader focused on the issues not on gaining members for her clique.

    This proposal is not limited to the National Board. If this is enacted, I would have to resign from the Board of the Northern New Jersey chapter as I cannot pay and I don’t know enough people to play. Not that I would want to in any event. This goes against everything that I joined NOW to fight.

    If NOW is looking to be inclusive, this is NOT the way to do it. I couldn’t be more disappointed that NOW is even thinking of this.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. My Sisters of NOW,
    As you consider the impact (positive and negative) of a requirement of the National Board to participate in the “Give and Get” suggestion, I urge you to review the NOW Structure Modernization Introductory Webinar 2014-12-10. Within the first 5 minutes, you will see that the organization has hit rock bottom in the past. The money was not backed up with savings and the membership is still attempting to come back. We are NOT back to where we need to be. Within the first 12 minutes, you will see that from every level NOW was in dire straits.

    In order to ensure we have the capacity to adequately serve the population of people we represent, we need a National NOW Development Director. Terry has brought in money. The staff is working as hard as they can…sometimes more hours than we are paying them for. We care about the longevity of this organization. We must take responsibility. $1000 per year is only $83 per month. It’s $19 per week. It’s $2.73 per day. There is another option for those people who are not in a position to take this responsibility. This suggestion allows for the opportunity to bring in members instead…which I would hope is a goal anyway!

    We spend our days competing against people who want us to fail. Those people have money. With that money they are paying for messaging methods that we can’t afford. They are buying ads. They are getting more people interested in participating in their efforts because when you can get your message to the masses, you control the conversation. They are talking to people about their candidates…who are getting elected!!!

    This proposal is a start to raising the money so we have the ability to hire a Development Director (average salary is $80,000 to $90,000). That gets us closer to ensuring the long term viability of the organization and winning on our priority issues. Women deserve us to be focused on the issues that affect lives instead of how we are going to make ends meet and if we can pay our staff!

    If we close our doors there is nobody to do our work!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Matt Shapiro, Northern NJ NOW, NOW-NJ

      Your “solutions” are authoritarian, privileged, and won’t work, as they will destroy NOW. If NOW is not grassroots, it has no meaning. Just another Feminist Majority. Duplicative and therefore meaningless. (I have nothing against the Feminist Majority.) That doesn’t mean the financial need you describe isn’t real. It just means your solutions lack creativity. When I say “you” I don’t mean you personally. I mean the the creators and supporters of this and other proposals that seek to solve the real financial problems NOW faces by turning control of NOW over to wealthy individuals in exchange for their money, and by destroying the grassroots nature of NOW through eliminating or minimizing the chapters, taking away their autonomy and their funding.

      NOW is important. Even if it s not functioning all that well right now. Destroying it to “save” it is illogical. We must all come together to find ways to increase our activism at every level, increase our membership by showing how important we are through action, and increase our funding through a variety of approaches that may include going back to the “well,” but on a voluntary basis. Yes, ASK chapters which do not use all of their funds to voluntarily return some of it to National. ASK those members and others with means to contribute more significantly to NOW, not in exchange for control, but to re-create a grassroots movement that can really accomplish change. And be honest about how dire the need is with the entire membership.

      And take the funding generated and put it into organizing. Especially in college campuses and communities of color. Help chapters and states to act politically and publicly, and to capitalize on action and victories. Increased membership (and funding) will flow from increased activism.

      We don’t need secretive, illegal By Laws conventions to do all this. We need commitment to revitalize and expand the grassroots feminist movement — the National Organization for Women.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I agree, we have a long ways to go, and we need to think long term. having a more involved board is necessary, recruiting and raising money are normal board duties. It’s time.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t agree with Matt , we are not being secretive, and a bylaw change would correct the dues clause to bring NOW into compliance which seems to be his main concern. Let’s try not to get nasty!

        Liked by 1 person

  21. Marian Bradley, NW Regional Director, Montana NOW

    I find the thought of “give and get” economic privilege and it is not who we are. As an organization, we have activists who support us the best they can and if they had the opportunity to run for the Board, they could not because of economic issues. How do they prove who they brought into the organization? Argue amongst themselves and fight for the new member? Do we stop someone from being on the Board because they economically cannot afford to pay their requirement amount? What kind of an organization are we thinking of becoming

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Dina S Willner Northern NJ NOW

    I tried to post here once before but it didn’t go through. In a way I am glad because I have been trying to remember what I said and as I did, several other points crystallized.

    First of all, I agree with what Bonnie said. She is the one who got me more active in NOW and particularly Northern NJ NOW where I am on the board. I had been an in again – out again member of NOW for years but this was the first time I really tried to be an active member. There were several reasons for that but they aren’t really important. What is important is that I and my friends are at a stage in life where we are either NOW members or know we don’t want to join NOW. It would be virtually impossible for me to recruit new members.

    So why not just pay? Because I can’t afford it. And I know it will only get worse as I am retired now. When I had a bit of extra money, I decided to invest in becoming a life time member so that I would never have to worry about coming up with dues again. Some of these proposals are really making me regret this decision.

    There is a reason why good government bans pay to play. This is opening the door to money and cliches. If you can’t raise the money, you get your friends to join so you can have power. Bad idea!

    NOW should be recruiting through its works – because people believe in our message. To limit positions because people cannot afford it or because people don’t have enough friends to join is throwing out potential and making NOW elitist, a reputation which NOW already holds. We should be looking for a way to get more people involved in leadership, not excluding them because they don’t meet arbitrary and senseless goals.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Bonnie Shapiro, NNJ NOW

    Liz, it does not seem as tho you have read the proposal. Or my comment, either, to be truthful. I and everyone I know is already trying and sometimes succeeding in recruiting new members, despite not always being able to point to current National victories, which people like to hear about when they are giving money.

    Where do you see “$100” listed here? and where do you NOT see amounts of money wanted from State and Chapter Board members that exceed $100? Please look at the numbers. How long would I, if I wanted to be a National Board member, have to actually get the members in before I would have to lay out the $1000 that I would not have? And how often would I have to go through that? I have seen all along that the first sentence talks about National Board members, but then gives exact proposals for the State and Chapter Boards as well with nothing saying that that would be up to States or Chapters to do voluntarily. It is a continuation of the logic.

    I will not repeat the rest of what I said/asked. Had such a policy been implemented years ago my Chapter would have folded, and hundreds of others also. Not everyone wants to pay out have a constant extra burden to be an activist. You may not realize this, but it is hard to get people to be Board members.

    By the way, I notice I have always been leaving my identity as being from NNJ NOW, or as its President. In actuality, I am also Administrative VP for NOW-NJ. This shows two things–I relate most to my chapter after 45 years in it, and also, that I realize having two positions on two Boards leaves me open to two fees to pay under this proposal.


  24. I think a “give or get” policy should have been implemented years ago and would expect nothing less from our national board members. If you can’t give $100, then you can get 10 members, or any formula that the board and body work out. Why would we not expect our leaders to recruit new members? I simply don’t understand how this requirement to recruit is called elitist. What’s wrong with the expectation that someone other than our direct mail campaign recruit new members? It’s embarrassing that we don’t already expect this action from our leaders.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Me too! think of the new training the give or get will empower, the ones who are afraid of asking. I wonder how else members think we will increase our membership if we don’t required some type of give or get.
        Our board has to be involved with fundraising.

        Liked by 1 person

  25. This looks like an attempt to get peope to quit NOW. Why would anybody put up with this crap?


  26. Bonnie Shapiro, Northern NJ NOW

    This one seems to be requiring activist members to pay for being activists. At the webinar, Terry said, truthfully, that activists get satisfaction as payment for their efforts. How satisfying, I asked then, do you think it is to do the work and pay a fee to do it? Also, what if the person does not have the money? On the National level, that means people will just not be able to serve. Given a lot of the other new proposals, and even without them,at the chapter level the chapter may not be able to pay for all their officers and Board members and have anything left over, so no one will want to be on the Board. Some people are Board members of their chapters and their States as well. Do they pay twice?

    The alternative given is to bring in members. This is interesting. Sometimes I meet someone and she tells me, after we talk, that she will join, but she does not. Then she talks to another person a few weeks later and joins. Who gets credit? Do we split it? Sometimes i am too busy doing all sorts of things to go out and actively recruit members, which is not as easy as you seem to think. Sometimes I have to refer a person to the national website. How do I get credit for that? Will you believe me if I tell you later it was all because of ME? It is had enough to feel raffles tickets.

    At the Webinar, some people claimed this proposal only extends to the National Board. There are three levels that I see, but I don’t like it just for the National Board even if that were true. I am also not clear if this is a yearly fee, or every time you are re-elected, or just once. This sounds to me like some l”Ladies who Lunch” proposal for wealthy elitist women who serve on Boards of charity organizations and go to galas.

    I also feel that a lot of these proposals are problematic because if you choose one from Column A of Sub-Units and one from Column B of Money and Members, you could end up with no sub-units, no members, and no money. There does not seem to be a plan as to what goes with what.

    One of our Board members summed it up best to me when I told her about it: “Are they crazy?”


    Liked by 1 person

    • Bonnie Shapiro, NNJ NOW

      That should have been “sell raffle tickets.” I hardly ever feel them.


  27. Jocelyn Morris Missouri At- Large Member I think if that proposal goes into effect, it will keep members from being appointed to the NOW Board of Directors who can’t afford the proposed $1,000.00 (give requirement).

    Liked by 1 person

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