Aug 10

Free membership? No such a thing!


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  1. Robert Alfred Hawkins

    Along with discussing “Deafeconomics” which I believe I first coined way back late in 1995 (naturally someone stole this about midway thru the 00’s decade) when I first joined a now-defunct Deaf newspaper (the first to have color on cover) the term “Deafree” was also coined by myself after taking part at one of these Deaf expos truly devoid of Deaf empowerment in form of buying power. If not for the relay outfits wet nursing the Deaf expos wouldn’t have survived. I received enough backlash for speaking up against freeloading. Nowadays, I’m “told you so, pal” vindicated about these issues as many Deaf entities fell apart and the last days of the Deaf are imminent unless something is done collectively yet intelligently. If nothing is done it’ll be an American tragedy.

    No matter how great, innovated, novel and whatever ideas can be they need to be backed by common sense, ethics, real-world norms, realism and many more considerations usually not taught to deaf persons. Balances and fairly reasonable consensus need to be built and reached before many of the Deaf can see the bigger picture about the dynamics of organizational survival not to mention organizational behavior.

    Besides from my non-deaf family I learned in-depth about real-world norms after I graduated from deaf schools (where I admit I learned a few especially from usually the Deaf who I mostly love dearly) towards the real mainstream where I attended for three years prior to graduation from high school.

    It all starts with proactive mindsets. Plain and simple being reactive stinks!

    It’s time for the collective Deaf community to pay the piper! At the same time, the likes of National Association of the Deaf needs to make some concessions before their membership can grow once again. There’s Deaf-on-Deaf issues.

  2. TheHolism

    Hi Sean,

    I’m at a remote ranch with weak signal so no access to vlogs from where I’m sitting. However upon reading the title and what Robert Hawkins had to say, I think I know what the subject is about. And yes I’m assuming and that’s a “no no” in my book but as a political person I could not resist. Slap me silly if I’m wandering off the subject.

    No such thing as free membership you say? (strictly according to the title) I disagree. I just joined an organization that cost me nothing. Gun Owners of Nevada known as http://www.gonv.org. It cost nothing to join and guess what? They’re a fast growing organization in the State. Also if you check out the National Rifle Association you will see how low membership fare they offer, $35 I believe and you’ll get approximately $100 in merchandises! Hat, hunting magazine of your choice and some more neat stuff! That’s more than free if you do your math. That’s how they grew into one of the most powerful organization.

    It’s the numbers (membership count) that spells power, not the dollar figures. You build a powerful entity and the money will come. NAD’s approach has always been, money first and power second. That’s why they’re still struggling on the bottom of the lake. Sorry, no offense intended but untl NAD wakes up and learn the importance of concession it won’t go any where.

    I’ll end here because I don’t know what else you’ve talked about in your vlog.


  3. Robert Alfred Hawkins

    The Deaf will have something to be proud of when NAD stops having the relay outfits wet-nursing the NAD through marketing arrangements in which many don’t know how much revenue is generated and how. For most parts current NAD members need to get out of comfort zones and truly work in harmony. Efficient membership drives should produce bona fide revenue which will end the true misery of NAD choosing only four or so relay entities to market with nowadays leaving more others in the dust. The NAD needs to be powered by its members not any wet-nurse relay which needs to spend more money on training especially in customer service and interpreting. While the NAD is at this noble task they can take a good look at their claim of serving what seems to be now 30 million deaf and hard-and-hearing persons. Some said the NAD is really representative of 500,000 deaf who are signers. I think the NAD will further prosper if they are accurate in the numbers they claim to serve today.

  4. Robert Alfred Hawkins

    Hi Barry,

    I think this one may be something we can agree to disagree on. The Deaf needs to pay just two or so cents per day (previously illustrated by NAD’s old Website) to show true empowerment.

    The likes of NAACP and others practice the same. Comparing advocacy and consumer types of non-profit entities is just akin to comparing apples and oranges.

    I’m sure the fine organization you joined has higher numbers on account of harmony towards gun-related issues not to mention sheer buying power–the latter often leveraging organizations to not to charge membership dues.

  5. Robert Alfred Hawkins

    Correction: An adult membership fee is $40.00. That divided by 365 comes to slightly over 10 cents per day. That’s dirty cheap. NAACP’s regular adult is $30. The NAD needs to implement more memberships such as “Prison Membership” which NAACP does for only $12.00 per year. Not too shabby. Any up for this?

  6. RLM

    Sean, I always have a high respect for you!

    NAD needs to find herself to be truly attractive for the Deaf America to sign up for the membership and eager to pay.

    I joined the NAD for very first time last February. I personally do not feel that was worth to pay for the membership and got NOTHING out of my membership. i did donate $$$ and just got the automated “thank you” email message.

    What is really the privilege and benefit for the NAD membership??

    NAD is really doing very LOUSY job with the membership recruitment.

    For example, the non-presence of NAD membership recruitment at the National Softball Association of the Deaf tournament in Fort Lauderdale.

    Why not have the NAD represenative and impromptu booth at the NSAD event and hotel lobby and pool area to urge deaf people to join the NAD?

    There were more than 1,300 deaf people coming all over from the USA last weekend in Fort Lauderdale plus appx. 600 deaf locals all from South Florida.

    I will write the blog posting for many ideas how to revitalize the NAD membership base. What will I get out of my ideas?

    NAD need to find some way to show the true appreciation for NAD members, etc. Not just keep taking in the NAD membership.


  7. RLM

    I meant “taking deaf people’s money for the NAD membership and forget them”.


  8. Sean Gerlis

    Robert Alfred Hawkins, well said!


    Always good to hear from you!

    When you are comparing other organizations such as Gun Owners of Nevada, NRA, etc. It’s like you are comparing them oranges to our apples. Eh. They have gotten so big, whereas they could bear fruits.

    Some organizations are fortunate they are big enough to be able to provide low-cost or free memberships while others are not much fortunate as these organizations can do.

    Yes, I agree – numbers do spell power, not the dollar figures. I would like you to take a real good look at Gun Owners of Nevada’s “DONATE” button in their website. I would not be surprised if they get so much money from donations. For example, Ricky Taylor is known as a controversial blogger from RIDORLIVE who also blogs for free and posted “donate” button on his blogsite. Yet, he did not get a lot of donations. Whereas, he is a poor man who could not make any living out from his blogsite. That brings us a real good vision on how we, (mostly ASL users) generally do not donate money to anything out of a good will. We generally expect to get something in RETURN if we GIVE. That’s a no-no in my book. I could be wrong, but it is our customs in getting things for free (also, getting things for granted.) in most areas. I think it applies to people like us (specifically ASL users…) who generally do not have the habit to donate. This is what hurting us.

    Oh, one more thing – don’t go there by saying “Hey, I do donate.” I’m not singling you out on this one, but speaking figuratively.

    Robert Alfred Hawkins – again, well said. I fear the day when relay industries decide to put an end to giving out money to the community; we will face reality in a major culture change! Also, I’m pretty sure Barry also realizes this as well – we all are on same page. It’s just this – lot people do not realize truth to mega-sized organizations. How they function at real-low cost/free memberships.

    Robert L. Mason – And me to you too! ☺

    I’d like to repeat this from one of my comment in DVTV video – One of my endless duties as a board member of NAD; I work with Michael Berger (Region 2 from IL) who is a liaison to NAD’s membership subcommittee. Margie English, who is actively looking into this- how we can exchange our members when they purchase their dues, is heading this subcommittee. Margie is leading membership subcommittee in NAD.

    In regarding of NSAD – I may be wrong; I learned there is only one out of 12 VRS company provided booth during the tournament. There are a few big VRS companies out there and yet they are not doing any much of community outreach. Why aren’t they helping our community? Not only to VRS companies, but any local organizations in state of Florida who did not attend this event. (Again, I could be wrong about this.) Now, look at NAD, they are barely surviving. They are trying to keep up with day-to-day operations with so little money. Most of them have pay cuts, reduced insurances, and so on.

    Not only to this shortage of funds, we also are very shortage in volunteers. Its’ very hard for us to keep up with everything, we are very fortunate to have resources/volunteers being available to us.

    If you plan to blog on your ideas how to revitalize the NAD membership base, I would urge you to consider contributing your time with NAD’s membership subcommittee. In this way, you would be making an impact to the membership program. Everything little helps. Let me know if you are interested, I’ll lead you to right person since I’m part of this committee too.

    Rest assured, we do not “taking Deaf people’s money for the membership and forget them.”

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