It is not about chapter size. It is about chapter effectiveness.

Anonymous (not verified) July 6, 2020 - 1:00am

By John Bailey

Over the years, I have had the pleasure of visiting many of our state NFB chapters.

One common wish I heard from chapter leaders was that they were frustrated because they didn’t have the membership numbers they wanted. After listening to them for a while, I realized they were comparing themselves to some idealized group with lots and lots of members, resources, and money in the bank.

I can understand their frustration and how easy it is to compare yourself to some ideal. But, the truth is that not every NFB chapter can be a mega chapter. And, that is a good thing.

The vast majority of chapters live in areas with less than ideal transportation options and low blind population densities. This is why there are so few mega chapters. People need to easily and affordably get to meetings and that isn’t always possible everywhere in the state.

So, if you can’t be a mega chapter, does that mean your humble little chapter is a failure? Absolutely not. Here is why.

A chapter is a chapter even if it has less than a handful of members. Limited transportation options and small chapter membership has no impact on how effective your chapter can be in your community. A small chapter can do as much as a mega chapter in terms of educating the public about the ‘truth about blindness’ while giving the local vision impaired a comfortable place to ask questions and have a good time with their peers. In fact, having lots and lots of small chapters throughout the state can be a very good thing. First, we are able to include those vision impaired in rural communities who could really use us. Second, having representation in as many regions as possible gives us clout when it comes to voicing our concerns to our legislators. They love constituents and having lots of chapters gives us that leverage.

The bottom line is, the vast majority of NFB chapters are not mega chapters. In spite of that, they are very effective in their educational outreach to the general public and to their local neighbor blind who need them the most.


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