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Columns - JGL Eye
Written by Joseph G. Lariosa   
Thursday, 10 September 2009 07:16

JGL Eye

By JOSEPH G. LARIOSA

 

 

C HICAGO, Illinois (JGLi) – I have been attending national and regional conferences of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) but I still can’t figure out its core mission.


The NaFFAA’s website says its mission is “to unite Filipino-American organizations in order to ensure the empowerment of all Filipinos and Filipino-Americans in the
United States.”

 

How can you translate this mission in its proper context if you do not link the way NaFFAA spends its dollars on projects or on percentage of funds being spent? Among bettors, they are only expressing their real sentiments when “they put their money where their mouth is.”

 

If you go over its financial statements from 2002 to 2006 that are posted on its website, NaFFAA’s core expenses are in “Assistance to the Philippines, Education and Micro financing, Community Development, Coordination and Regional Activities, Cultural and Membership Development.”

 

If you review NaFFAA’s core mission, there is no doubt that “Membership Development” is its No. 1 mission.

 

If NaFFAA can attract more members into the organization – the Organizational Charter Member, who pays annually $100; Individual Charter Member,  $35; Regular Organizational Member, $100; Regular Individual Member, $35; Associate Corporate Member, at least $1,000; and the Associate Individual Member, who should shell out at least $500 – there is no doubt NaFFAA can attain its other objectives -- Assistance to the Philippines, Education and Micro financing, Community Development, Coordination and Regional Activities, Cultural Development.

 

The problem is how to keep and attract more members.

 

POST NAMES OF MEMBERS

 

I suggest NaFFAA post on its website the names of its members who are religiously paying their membership dues. If the member disappears from the list, it simply means that the member failed to pay his dues in a timely manner, just like what we do in the National Press Club of the Philippines in the United States. If he pays up, then, his name will be re-listed.

 

If NaFFAA cannot attract new members, then, the bulk of the expenses of NaFFAA should be paid to its consultants who can recruit more members. If the consultants can collect payment from new members, they earn “points.” If not, they deserve no “consulting” payment from NaFFAA.

 

If these “consultants” collect payment from young members, they get “double points.”

 

The conference last Saturday at the 4th three-day 4th Regional Conference of the National Federation of Filipino American Association (NaFFAA) for the Midwest Region (R3) at the Wyndham O’Hare Hotel in suburban Rosemont, Illinois was very evident that NaFFAA membership is drying up.

 

Except for Elizabeth Horner, NaFFAA Ohio, Youth Chair and Phillip McRoberts, NaFFAA Michigan, Youth Chair, most of the attendants were familiar old and dwindling faces.

 

In fact, no less than, NaFFAA national chair Greg B. Macabenta, of the Bay Area, was very quick to proclaim that Ms. Horner and Mr. McRoberts are the “new leaders” of NaFFAA shortly after they delivered their remarks.

 

And this is the challenge that awaits NaFFAA leadership – how to infuse new blood into the organization that has seen better days.

NaFFAA should not be too thin-skinned when it gets criticisms for its sloppy and procrastinating release of its financial statements. After all, IRS requires an annual financial report, not after-seven-years’ report, for non-profit organizations, like NaFFAA.

 

 They should not take criticisms personal – trabaho lang, ika nga. (They should take the criticisms with a grain of salt).

 

 

NO “LATIGO” FOR VOLUNTEERS

 

No less than Mr. Macabenta had admitted that if NaFFAA members delay in remitting the receipts, there is no way that he can use “latigo” (whip) to compel them to submit those receipts because members are mere volunteers.

 

I agree but NaFFAA should make it a point to persuade its members to play their part – to be more responsible to their public responsibilities.

 

If NaFFAA welcomes criticisms and becomes sensitive to them, I am sure more members will join its fold. Mabilis pa sa alas-kuatro. (When employes are rushing out from work.)

 

If NaFFAA is more transparent and more up-to-date with its finances, I’m sure it will be needing less the services of its consultants to recruit new members, as more members will volunteer to join it without further prodding.

 

What NaFFAA needs is an officialdom that inspires – not bores – the prospective members.

 

Even if the NaFFAA consultant is friend if the leaders of the organization he represents do not have my confidence, I will be playing hard to get. That is just the nature of the beast.

 

I agree with the philosophy of Greg that “at the planning and strategy meeting that I convened in Washington DC, I specifically said that I was not averse to have NaFFAA members or officers earn a fee for funds they helped raise for the organization, to the extent allowed by law, the only condition being that the privilege would be open to everyone and all funds would be accounted for.”

 

I have no problem with this suggestion for as long as this is approved by the NaFFAA Board first before someone starts the fund-raising.


Asking for a fee after soliciting the grant will be putting the cart before the horse. (
lariosa_jos@sbcglobal.net)


Last Updated on Thursday, 10 September 2009 07:19
 

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