November 14, 2013
In This Issue:
EDUCATION FUND- - Elections
- VOTE411 Training Webinars (NEW)
- Grants Available: 2014 Youth Voter Registration Program (Reminder)
- League Urges Congressional Conferees to Oppose Cuts to SNAP in Farm Bill (NEW)
- League Opposes Whitfield-Manchin "Polluter Protection Act" (NEW)
- Tell the EPA you support regulations on Carbon Pollution (Reminder)
- Update from the Climate Change Task Force (Reminder)
MEMBERSHIP & LEADERSHIP
- Roster Updating Process Begins! (NEW)
- Are You Feeling Lucky? Your League Could Win Great Prizes! (NEW)
- Be Part of #GivingTuesday: New Templates Available (NEW)
- Important information about the agriculture study and scheduling local speakers (NEW)
- Program Planning Guide Is Here! (NEW)
- Clearinghouse – Election Results! (NEW)
- Make a Donation from your IRA in 2013 (Reminder)
Glad You Asked!
This section of the Leaders' Update is dedicated to providing the information that you want to know. If you have a question for this area, please submit it to email@example.com.
I have heard rumors that LWVUS is getting a new member database – is that what I’ll be using this year to update my League’s roster?
LWVUS is getting a new member database. Delegates at Convention 2012 approved a budget that included funds for researching, identifying and installing a new database system at LWVUS, which was estimated to take place over several years.
We are methodically working through this important transition process, and the “conversion” to a new system will not take place until after this year’s summary sheet or roster updating period.
So, Leagues can rest easy that the current system is what they will be using for the next several months and beyond. If you have questions about the database, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have a question for this area, please submit it to email@example.com.
Fall is always a busy time in League. Not only is every year an election year somewhere in America, but fall is the time that state Leagues prepare for upcoming legislative sessions; local Leagues plan meet and greets with new members and local elected officials; issue forums abound and at the LWVUS, we are already thinking about next year’s convention. As you will see, this week’s update includes information on the agriculture update adopted at Convention 2012. It also includes links to the program planning guide for Convention 2014. Program planning is the opportunity for the grassroots to help LWVUS convention set program priorities for the next biennium.
Because we are all in this together, national program planning should not occur in a vacuum. National program priorities must dovetail with state and local priorities, not necessarily in terms of subject, but in terms of the total workload and interests of local Leagues and League members. Program, in the League lexicon, is a term of art that refers to those issues that the League, as a whole, takes up for concerted study and action. Studying a new position or updating an old one also does not occur in a vacuum and requires significant work. For the past several convention cycles, LWVUS has relied on member-experts to gather and organize study materials and develop consensus questions. In addition, like all other League program, whether state and local studies or state and local education and advocacy, national program plays out alongside our ever more important voter service and advocacy activities.
Next year is a federal election year and, in the overwhelming majority of states, a state election year as well. In 2014, voters will go to the polls to decide who will be their governors and who will represent them at the state level as well who will go to Washington. Many years ago, I joined the League because my state League was studying a topic in which I had some expertise. Over the years, my League work has convinced me that there is no issue more important than voter participation. As we witnessed in some high profile 2013 races, one vote can make a big difference. In the Virginia Attorney General’s election, as we write, 164 votes separate the two candidates. The process for counting provisional ballots and absentee ballots is turning out to be critical to the outcome. Our work on these issues, as well as in registering, educating and encouraging voters, has never been more important.
Our challenge next year, as always, will be striking the best balance among all the work that we know needs to be done at every level of government and of League.
To help keep your members informed, please consider forwarding this weekly message. Please note that this is an internal communication that provides both announcements and opportunities meant only for your members and League, as well as updates on important news and events. This message should not be posted in its entirety on League social media channels or websites. Instead consider sharing the external (e.g. public interest/action) pieces such as blog posts, letters to Congress and press statements.
VOTE411 Training Webinars (NEW)
Are you looking for in-depth trainings on how to use VOTE411 to provide online voters’ guides in your community? LWVEF is providing two webinars that will show you the basics and answer your questions about this voter education tool. These trainings are great for both new and experienced participants alike! If you have never used the system, or want a refresher training opportunity, register today for the webinar on Tuesday December 3rd 3-4PM Eastern. If you have used the system before or want a more advanced training, register for the webinar on Friday December 6th 1-2PM Eastern to reserve your spot! If you have any questions about the webinars, or about VOTE411, please contact Megan Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Grants Available: 2014 Youth Voter Registration Program (Reminder)
LWVEF is pleased to invite Leagues to apply for a new pass-through grant opportunity to engage high school/community college/technical/vocational school students in the spring of 2014. Monday, December 2, is the final application deadline, however LWVEF is happy to receive applications earlier than that. State and local Leagues are encouraged to download the project description and funding application. If you have questions about completing your application, contact Maggie Duncan (email@example.com).
League Urges Congressional Conferees to Oppose Cuts to SNAP in Farm Bill (NEW)
The League joined over 100 organizations on a letter to the conferees of the Farm Bill in Congress. The letter asks the conferees to oppose cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and underscores the fundamental importance of the SNAP program.
League Opposes Whitfield-Manchin "Polluter Protection Act" (NEW)
The League joined 78 organizations on a letter to Congress opposing legislation from Representative Whitfield and Senator Manchin. The legislation would allow power plants to continue dumping unlimited amounts of carbon pollution into the air, contributing to the climate change that puts our health and communities at risk with devastating extreme weather events.
Tell the EPA you support regulations on Carbon Pollution (Reminder)
Stand with the League and tell the EPA that you support the proposal of a groundbreaking regulation to control carbon pollution from new power plants. This proposed regulation is a game changer for the climate – especially because power plants are our single largest source of carbon pollution. Submit your comments to the EPA today in support of this historic regulation.
Update from the Climate Change Task Force (Reminder)
The Climate Change Task Force is planning to update the Climate Change Toolkit, which appears on the League of Women Voters United States Website. We need your help in doing this. Please respond to these questions and send your response to Eleanor Revelle, Chair of the task force, at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Have you used the Climate Change Toolkit?
- If so, how did you use it/for what purposes?
- If you did use the Climate Change Toolkit, what is most useful about it, and what would help to make it even more useful?
- If you haven’t used the toolkit, why not?
- What additional materials would you like to see in the toolkit?
Membership & leadership
Roster Updating Process Begins! (NEW)
It’s that time of year again – time to ensure that the member database is as up-to-date as possible! Summary sheets (the online document that shows your League’s official membership count) are now LIVE. Any changes that you make to your members’ records will be reflected on that page. As defined in the LWVUS Bylaws, the summary sheets will be “frozen” as January 31, 2014 comes to a close. The member count listed at that time will become the official membership count for your League for FY2014-15. In other words, this will be the number that will determine the number of voting delegates that your League may send to Convention 2014 and what your League will be billed for PMP (per member payment) starting in July 2014. For assistance on working in the database, download the user manual or contact email@example.com.
Are You Feeling Lucky? Your League Could Win Great Prizes! (NEW)
As we start the membership roster updating process, we want to reward you for the great work that your League is doing to recruit and retain members and to keep the member database as up-to-date as possible. To do that, we are kicking off two contests this week:
- Leagues who update all of the expiration dates and member status (A/I) of the members on their roster will be eligible to win a Staples gift card. Leagues must have done this by January 20, and five lucky Leagues will be drawn from the pool of those who have updated their information to win this prize.
- On February 1, when the reporting process has closed, we will be looking to see which Leagues had the greatest percentage NET GROWTH in membership. The top three Leagues in each size category (under 50 members, 51-150 members, 151 and above) and two additional Leagues drawn from the pool of all growing Leagues will receive a FREE REGISTRATION to Convention 2014.
Best of luck to all Leagues and watch the Leaders’ Update each week for more details. For assistance on working in the database, download the user manual or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be Part of #GivingTuesday: New Templates Available (NEW)
This year, the League will partner in the second annual #GivingTuesday campaign on December 3, 2013. In the same way that retail stores come together to offer deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday brings the nonprofit community together to raise awareness about the importance of supporting our valuable mission and work. How can your League take advantage of this national movement? Fold it into your year-end efforts to solicit funds by following the three simple steps outlined on this page. Be sure to scroll down to the bottom of the page for tools such as a sample email request for funds, a sample donation form to post on your League’s website, and a press template and social media tools to raise awareness of this important campaign. If you have questions about how to take advantage of this national movement to raise funds for your League, please contact Rose Simmons at email@example.com.
Important information about the agriculture study and scheduling local speakers (NEW)
The Agriculture update will be ready soon and many Leagues are scheduling informational meetings. Read additional details in the Agriculture Update Group on the League Forum.
Program Planning Guide Is Here! (NEW)
Every two years state and local Leagues and ILO’s participate in the LWVUS Program Planning process by making recommendations concerning program issues. The Program Planning process is an important League tool for identifying issues for study, review and update or concurrence. Read the Program Planning Leaders Guide to assist you in your January/February 2014 Program Planning meeting. The Program Planning Response form will be available on December 5, 2013. If you have questions on this process please email firstname.lastname@example.org .
Clearinghouse – Election Results! (NEW)
All Leagues are winners when they use the League Clearinghouse with League studies in more than 50 subject areas that provide scope and focus of a topic, research methodology, sources consulted, information about positions, and consensus questions. Note: the Clearinghouse accepts positions without studies, even as multi-position documents, if they are accompanied by a single submission form. The description section could have "Resulting Position:" and the position statement or a link to the position. Complete studies are preferred, and Leagues may add study documents at a later date. Share your studies! Share our strength on the League Clearinghouse.
Make a Donation from your IRA in 2013 (Reminder)
The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 reinstated the “IRA charitable rollover” through the end of 2013. The law allows individuals 70½ and older to give up to $100,000 from their individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and Roth IRAs to qualified charitable organizations such as the League of Women Voters Education Fund without having to treat the withdrawals as taxable income. The transfer, if done properly, counts towards the taxpayer’s required minimum distribution for the year, and can be of particular value to individuals who do not claim itemized deductions on their tax return because the funds are transferred directly to nonprofits from IRA accounts and are never counted as income. Every donor’s circumstances are different, so please consult with your tax advisor to see if an IRA rollover is right for you. Please contact Aimee Olivo in the League’s Development office at 202-263-1355 or email@example.com for additional information.
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