Starting an HLAA Chapter is a very important and exciting thing to do. Our chapters start small, as support and information groups. Under HLAA guidance they then develop into full-fledged HLAA Chapters in a step-by-step fashion. I will guide you each step of the way. Please feel free to email me as often as you have questions, even if it is at every step. That is what I am here for.
Thank you for your interest. You join a long list of volunteers who have worked over decades to bring HLAA to their communities across the country. This document describes a pathway for developing an HLAA Chapter. Let me help you get started.
HLAA Director of Chapter Development
Guide to Developing an HLAA Chapter
Complete Some Preliminary Paperwork
- Join HLAA, if you currently are not a member.
- Read the HLAA mission statement and review the HLAA State and Chapter principles.
- Fill out the Chapter Interest Form and send it to Chapters@hearingloss.org.
- Find at least three HLAA members in your community not related to you or each other and gauge their interest in forming an organization that may become an HLAA Chapter.
- Once you have secured the three people, read the HLAA Chapter Start-up Application. If the four of you are in agreement with the requirements and wish to proceed with forming a chapter, complete the HLAA Chapter Start-up Application and return it to Chapters@hearingloss.org.
- Complete as much as you can of an HLAA Chapter Update Form and send it to Chapters@hearingloss.org
- Complete as much as you can of an HLAA List Use Agreement Form and send it to Chapters@hearingloss.org
- HLAA will provide a mailing list of current HLAA members to HLAA members who have completed the Chapter Interest Form and who have submitted the HLAA List Use Agreement Form. All four people are founding members who commit to furthering the HLAA mission by working to organize a new HLAA Chapter and support its growth.
Start an HLAA Support Group
- With the help of those founding members, identify a physically accessible, public meeting place near public transportation and major roads, then schedule a one-hour meeting there.
- Publicize the meeting by contacting the local newspapers. View a sample meeting announcement flier. You can often list an event yourself on their online calendars. Place fliers in local gathering places such as public libraries, grocery stores, coffeehouses, restaurants, etc. using the Sample Meeting Flier as a template.
- Hold a meeting to introduce the Hearing Loss Association of America and to discuss the possibility of forming an HLAA Chapter in the community.
- Along with the other three HLAA founding members decide whether the public’s response warrants the formation of an HLAA Chapter. If so, proceed with the following steps below.
Prepare for and Request HLAA Chapter Recognition
- Sign up for the HLAA e-News and HLAA State and Chapter Development Blog and read past postings. The blog is easy to use – subscribe to it, there is no login; each time news is posted, it goes directly to your email. This is a valuable piece of information.
- Together with the other three founding members develop a plan to become an HLAA Chapter.
- Get more people involved. Talk with audiologists and/or hearing instrument specialists and ask them to refer their other clients to the chapter.
- Meet monthly, rotate and take turns serving as meeting facilitators. The founding members set the agenda for each meeting until the chapter holds elections.
- Adopt the name Hearing Loss Association of America [BLANK] Chapter. Fill in the blank with a city, county or region name such as Manhattan or Cape Cod.
Establish a federal tax identification number known also as a Taxpayer or Employer Identification Number ID (TIN or EIN, respectively). The number looks like this: 12-3456789 (two digits with a dash followed by seven more digits). Getting an EIN is easy and free. You may use any one of three ways to obtain it.
- Use the EIN Online Assistant to obtain your EIN in a matter of minutes.
- Call the local IRS office. Look for the telephone number in the U.S. Government section of the local phone book.
- Complete the EIN application form and mail or fax it to the IRS. If you have DSL Internet service, download the form from the IRS website. (If you have dial-up Internet service or no Internet service please call the HLAA Director of Chapter Development at 301.657.2248 so they can send you the form.) Send it to the IRS by fax at 1.859.669.5760 or mail it to Internal Revenue Service, Attn.: EIN Operation, Cincinnati, OH 45999. It might be six to eight weeks before you receive the completed copy of the IRS Employer’s Identification number EIN Assignment Form SS4 from the IRS.
- See a sample completed EIN application.
- To learn more about EINs, see the IRS document titled Understanding Your EIN.
- Create a simple budget for the coming year.
- Create Standing Rules or Bylaws. Download the Standing Rules template 2016 in Word.
Fill out the Chapter Recognition Request form 2016, attach the documents listed below and send them to HLAA, preferably by email. You can also fax them to 301.913.9413 or mail them to the Director of Chapter Development at HLAA, 7910 Woodmont Avenue, Suite 1200, Bethesda, MD 20814. Please send:
- a copy of the IRS Employer Identification Number (EIN) assignment letter (SS-4)
- a simple budget for the coming year
- a copy of the bylaws/standing rules
- a request to HLAA to include the chapter under HLAA’s group exemption list
HLAA State and Chapter Support staff will confirm receipt of the packet within one business day of receiving it and notify you of its HLAA status within seven business days. HLAA staff will also send informational packets to all founding members and a logo created for the chapter.
Build a Strong HLAA Organization
- Make meetings communication accessible by providing CART.
- Initiate community outreach through awareness and publicity.
- Promote HLAA membership at chapter meetings and in the community.
- Within the first year, hold elections of officers and leaders. Make sure that leader nominees are current HLAA Members by contacting the HLAA Director of Chapter Development by email. See a list of Board Position Descriptions.
For further steps see Run A Strong Chapter.