Conferences: Proposal Two


Watch the webinar recording for Conferences & Committees.

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

Conferences: Proposal Two

  • Require states and chapters to set aside some portion of their dues rebates to fund activists’ travel to NOW conference.

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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…”


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19 thoughts on “Conferences: Proposal Two

  1. Strongly Urge YES! ABSOLUTELY
    Mandate. No!
    This must be a grassroots decision as each chapter knows what their funds ere and their programs and actions cost. Just like the National NOW Conference can only URGE the PAC to do something, I think that National NOW can and should urge chapters to assist with costs for the conference.

    Joanne Tosti-Vasey
    Ni-Ta-Nee NOW
    PA 0555


  2. good exchange… per another’s comment – the devil is in the details….

    Anything we can do as NOW to encourage chapters to help their leadership attend the conference should happen. Sometimes our chapter leaders get lost in their local cocoon.

    Last year I attended the Albuquerque Conference… I believe a NOW chapter friend approached my local board to provide a small amount to help with the costs. They did not, even though I was elected as their delegate…. It speaks to NOW members understanding the significance of attending National Conferences and state council meetings.

    Florida Lake NOW.


  3. Theresa Bergen, Rockland NOW, NY
    Our difference is that I believe that the Conference is the Supreme governing body and that is what makes us unique. The roots rule. To me National has always meant the Board and the officers.


  4. Bonnie Shapiro, NNJ NOW

    We are never going to agree, since I do not believe National has the right to mandate what chapters do with their money and you do.

    However, let me give you a practical example. Flight plus room plus ground transportation plus food comes to $1000.00 ( or more). The chapter can contribute $100, leaving the delegate to pay $900.00. That is not going to help. I have no idea how much each chapter has. I know some have very little, some are getting by, and some are rich, just like people. There is no one size fits all on this, plus, as I have said, autonomy means everything to me.

    In addition, several of the proposals, if passed, would cut or eliminate rebates for chapters, leaving the other members to pass around a hat to give money to the delegate from their own pockets. Many will not have money to give their friend. I am not guessing on this.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Dina S. Willner, NNJ NOW

    If the chapter has enough money to do this, it would be nice, but I doubt many chapters do. Therefore it should be a voluntary choice on the part of the chapter.

    Otherwise, the only thing the chapter may be able to do is spend money sending delegates. And not necessarily to pay for the whole trip.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Theresa Bergen, Rockland NOW, NY
      I am not suggesting that chapters pay all expenses for all delegate. But helping to fund delegates should be an organizational priority. We keep saying that the conference is too expensive for many and prohibitive for some. This idea of the conference mandating some kind of assistance is the 1st idea I’ve ever heard that could work. For me it’s not a matter of if, but should.


  6. I believe that the Conference is made up of the grass roots and that the chapter should help defray the cost of attending. Frankly I have always been stunned that some chapters do not do this. We have been discussing for over 40 years how to make the conference open to all. This is one tiny step And it’s not the top doing it. It is the bottom coming together to do it for all. If the Board tried to do this I’d fight it but it’s the bottom doing it for the bottom.


  7. Bonnie Shapiro, NNJ NOW

    I think I can’t have read that right. If we are a grassroots organization, then the chapters tell National what to do. In a top down organization the word ( mandate) comes down from the top. At least for the moment, we ARE still grassroots, and the mandates go from the BOTTOM up, NOT the other way.


  8. DC NOW does this voluntarily because we don’t like the idea that conference attendance, elections, and resolution-voting would have a financial barrier. DC NOW pays for as many hotel rooms at the conference as we can fill (four people to a room). We offer anyone for whom attendance would be a financial barrier a reimbursement for travel costs up to a set amount (when the conference is nearby, very little, but when the conference was in ABQ, up to $500).

    We are dismayed my how few other chapters seem to do this. We wouldn’t oppose a mandate. The trick is what percentage of dues to set aside. It shouldn’t interfere with the chapter’s ability to do other work. Though I am curious what other work chapters are doing that requires money. Nearly everything substantive that DC NOW does is free. The things that cost DC NOW money are conference attendance, book club (which is how we get new members), $100/year for the website, and we throw a couple events. Every once in a while we have an administrative expense, like business cards, a sign, etc. I would really love to know what other chapters are spending money on that is more important than sending folks to conferences.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bonnie Shapiro, NNJ NOW

      It’s irrelevant. It’s the chapter’s money and the chapter’s autonomy is supposedly very important to National, which tells us autonomy is and will continue to be respected. Then National would take the one thing that makes the chapter autonomous, its money, and says: “We require you to do this or that with it” or, in other places, “we won’t send you rebates” or in other places says other things about the chapter’s money, lessening the amount, as if the money belongs to National. If chapters can’t or won’t spend their money or not enough money on delegates, it is not a matter for National or other chapters to judge.

      By the way, and not that it even matters, but we just spent money on an actual mailing with stamps an envelopes to our members, half of whom do not have email addresses,and otherwise have no idea about the Webinars and the Conference, since National does not send notices, to advertise the Webinars (which they can’t really see, anyway) and Conference.


    • Theresa Bergen, Rockland NY NOW
      Agree 100%. I can’t imagine that chapters don’t do this. If the Conference is the governing body and if we are a grass roots organization then chapters should be doing this. If they are not then it should be mandated.


  9. Marian Bradley, NW Regional Director and Montana NOW

    I think the requiring any chapter to do this is something I cannot agree with. Chapter leaders are smart people, they can figure out if their chapter can afford to do any kind of monetary help to members attending conference.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Judi Polson: NOW-NYC:

    I agree with Bonnie Shapiro, Northern NJ NOW. I like the principle, but given the economics. I doubt the chances of rebates actually enabling anyone to go to a Conference are very likely. Also, Chapter autonomy is key.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. My chapter does this as well, to a degree, by paying for the delegates room throughout the conference (we usually have 2 delegates).
    I think that National NOW can encourage, urge, try to persuade, etc., but cannot require chapters to do this.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Bonnie Shapiro, Northern NJ NOW

    Three things,

    1. If it is voluntary, great. Requiring this messes with the chapters’ autonomy. So, in that case, not great.

    2. My chapter does do this on a voluntary basis, but we get 8 delegates, and there is no way to fund them all- what $50-$100 each? Much of the time it takes up to $1000 or more for travel (flight and ground) and the room. The chapter cannot fund $8000 or even a substantial part of that. True, people can double up and it costs less, the flight is still high, it would still be in the thousands. Luckily (???) we never get 8 people who want to or can go. (I originally thought this said “to help subsidize,” but the way it is written full funding does seem to be required. I do not think that is the intention.)

    3. If this is coupled with any of the proposals previously discussed for changing the dues status of chapters, there is no way the chapters will have the money for even partial funding of any delegates.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dina S Willner Northern NJ NOW

      I think that helping out is great but it should not be forced, it should be as the chapter can afford.

      Liked by 1 person

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