2015 Annual Report – National Chairperson of Organization
Margaret Ann Jacobs
National President-Elect and Chairperson of Organization
2015 Annual Report
National life member liaisons: Pat Battensby and Ann Dobie.
Carefully prepared, detailed reports from provincial chairpersons of organization reflected the sincere, dedicated efforts undertaken to recruit, develop and affirm members. As of December 31, 2015, there were 83,990 members, which reflected 98% of the budgeted 85,900 membership.
Recruit members and maintain membership
“The best recruitment tool for any membership initiative is a visible and effective organization” (Leading the League).
Pride emanated from reports that reflected the many and varied ways members were recruited and sustained including special invitations to new parishioners, “bring a friend campaigns”, incentives for early birds/snowbirds, hand-outs reflecting the national theme, brochures promoting League activities, pulpit talks, bulletin announcements, ministry fairs, envelopes in parish offering boxes and personal letters/cards promoting the League with an enclosed membership renewal and self-addressed envelope. The support of the spiritual advisor was a great asset to fostering a strong council. Gift memberships were presented to members who recruited the most members, newlyweds, the elderly, sick and shut-ins, and candidates for the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.
Special events encouraged members to remain active—barbecues, potluck dinners, speakers, card parties and game nights, Celtic Colours, memorial lighting ceremonies, Christmas parties, fall expositions and displays at parish events. Follow up contact by telephone, e-mail and personal visitation helped sustain interest.
The League was promoted by the wearing of pins, scarves, aprons, blazers, vests, t-shirts and jackets and sharing testimonial stories, celebrating CWL Sundays and through collaboration with the Knights of Columbus. CWL Sunday often had members participate in all ministries at one mass. Creative promotional ideas included council-sponsored concerts, hosting floats in parades and taking out membership in local chambers of commerce. Promotional materials such as the invitational handbills, gratitude cards, BINGO cards and hospitality survey were used to promote a positive and affirming image of the League.
Councils celebrated the dedication, service and hard work of members by presenting certificates, anniversary pins, maple leaf service pins, other religious gifts, cards and flowers as well as special awards often named after exemplary past members. Bellelle Guerin awards and life memberships were presented to most worthy recipients. Special events celebrated key milestone anniversaries. Ceremonies were held to welcome new members, reaffirm current executives and install new executive members.
“A seasoned leader knows that self-development is a lifelong commitment, and learning new skills is a never-ending journey” (Leading the League).
Programming was provided to enrich leadership skills by offering development days including workshops on Catch the Fire!, S’Mores, servant leadership, public speaking, parish executive training, parliamentary procedure, ethical guidelines, the Objects of the League, mentoring, the 5 W’s of meetings, Catholic Voices, and parish manuals of policy and procedure.
Incentives to become more actively involved in the workings of the League were provided by orientation and personal mentorship of new members, provision of welcome kits and calendars of upcoming events, involvement of new moms, encouragement to attend conventions, and providing financial assistance for members to participate.
League resource material
“To ensure your council operated efficiently and effectively, it is essential to have a good working knowledge of The Catholic Women’s League of Canada” (Handbook for Organization Chairpersons).
Councils reported the use of the National Manual of Policy and Procedure, Constitution & Bylaws, Leading the League, Executive Handbook, Guidelines for Treasurers, Handbook for Organization Chairpersons, Handbook for Past Presidents, Handbook for Secretaries, Handbook for Spiritual Advisors, Parliamentary Procedure, Resolutions Supplement to the Executive Handbook, League Prayers, Ceremonies Booklet, CWL Prays and communiques from all levels of the League.
“Annual reports bring accountability and credibility to the achievements of each standing committee. Reports reflect the work of all members across Canada as they energetically pursue activities ‘For God and Canada’” (Leading the League).
Most annual reports were completed in November or December, sometimes individually, but more often done as a group with a social aspect connected, e.g., potluck dinners, dessert parties, morning teas, and wine and cheeses. Minute books and calendars of events were noted as beneficial in completing the reports. Seminars and “how to” workshops were conducted to facilitate the task. Some provincial chairpersons reported the use of provincially revised annual report forms.
“Councils are encouraged to draw on the gifts and experience of their life members” (Handbook for Organization Chairpersons).
On the last day of the year, there were 341 life members and 15 honorary life members. National council mourned the loss of Doris Brick, Gladys Dewey, Ella Ell, Marion Fogan, Evelyn Robson, Mary Starek, Mary Tymich and Willis Wren, and celebrated the approval of new life members Caroline Ann-Alter, June Brown, Gail Finnamore, Mary Hawkley, Lucy Hendrikx, Jean Mackinnon, Colleen Martin, Margaret McCallum, Anne McKinnon, Janet McLean, Evelyn Rigby, Rosanne Sogan, Marge Szabo, Heather Sisk, and Jeanne Wilson.
Life members continued to serve on parish, diocesan, provincial and national council: serving on resolutions committees, archiving committees, convention committees, nomination and election committees and as parliamentarians; revising manuals of policy and procedure; welcoming committee leaders; mentoring; facilitating workshops; funding bursaries; organizing World Day of Prayer services; leading charity endeavours; speaking; attending conventions; and participating in parish ministries including honour guards. Social functions were hosted for many with birthday, Easter and Christmas cards being circulated.
One hundred forty-one cards and 44 life member newsletters were sent from national life member liaisons containing prayer requests, well wishes or congratulatory notes, which were passed down to counterparts via e-mail, Canada Post or verbally.
One provincial chairperson of organization reflected on the comments of other organization chairpersons. “It is encouraging to see our councils carrying on the works of God and the League in spite of difficulties in finding leaders and maintaining members. Much dedication is present between the lines of these (diocesan) annual reports. Our theme of One Heart, One Voice, One Mission comes alive because of our wonderful members.”
“Great League members do not just happen; they must be encouraged, trained, helped and supported” (Handbook for Organization Chairpersons).
Chairpersons of organization make this happen! Commendation goes out to these women whose energy, enthusiasm and passion for the League inspired others to experience the empowerment of working with other like-minded Catholic women to change the world with One Heart, One Voice, One Mission.