BC Guide - Community Chapters: Membership

Members are a valuable resource for Breastfeeding USA. They provide important funding for our mission, and can be advocates, supporters, and promoters of our organization. The number of members is one measure of the health of Breastfeeding USA. Locally, members can be a wonderful source of help within the Community Chapter. Active members who become very engaged in the mission of Breastfeeding USA may decide to enter the education program to become Breastfeeding Counselors and join in serving the community. All Breastfeeding Counselors are required to have a current Breastfeeding USA membership. Breastfeeding USA encourages all Breastfeeding Counselors to promote the benefits of membership at local support group meetings and other Community Chapter events.

Member Services Workgroup

The Breastfeeding USA Member Services Workgroup maintains member data and strives to provide a satisfying member experience. Together with other Finance Committee workgroups, Member Services determines membership budgets, establishes financial policies and procedures relating to memberships, and executes all the member support functions. Member Services also works with the Website Committee to maintain accurate information about membership on the website and content for the members-only portion of the website.

Membership Benefits

Currently, Breastfeeding USA offers one level of membership, Regular Membership. ($35 annually)

All members benefit from knowing that they are providing financial support to this organization and its mission: To provide evidence-based breastfeeding information and support and to promote breastfeeding as the biological and cultural norm. For many supporters, this is the most significant benefit of Breastfeeding USA membership. Members may apply to the Breastfeeding USA comprehensive training course to become an accredited volunteer Breastfeeding USA Counselor.

Purchasing a Membership and Donating to Breastfeeding USA

At this time, the majority of Breastfeeding USA funds are expected to come from memberships and additional individual donations from members and the general public. Breastfeeding Counselors are urged to promote memberships and donations at Community Chapter events and assist individuals who wish to join Breastfeeding USA or donate to the organization. Breastfeeding Counselors are encouraged to solicit memberships first, and then try for additional donations since memberships financially benefit the organization more than donations.

To simplify processing, BCs should encourage mothers and other breastfeeding supporters to purchase memberships and make donations via the Breastfeeding USA website: Join. Breastfeeding Counselors can make it easy to purchase memberships and donate by having a laptop available at meetings and events so that anyone interested in supporting the organization financially can join online.

Individuals who purchase a membership through the website may pay with a credit card or check. Although our merchant processor charges a fee for its service, it requires significantly less manual effort and accounting reconciliation than check transactions, so encourage individuals to purchase their membership using the credit card checkout option.

For memberships paid by check or cash at meetings:

  1. Convert any cash payments into a check or money order to protect the funds during mailing, and endorse all checks by writing "For Deposit Only" on the back of the check.
  2. Make a photocopy or write down all the information from the forms and payments and keep this in the Chapter records to provide a backup in case the mail is lost and the Chapter needs to contact the individual to replace the funds.
  3. Place the payment and form in an envelope and mail it to the receipts manager:

    Make check payable to: Breastfeeding USA
    Please mail to: 505 Mount Parnassus Road, East Haddam, CT 06423 .

Forms and payments are then processed by members of the Finance Committee. (See Community Chapters: Financial Management.)

Breastfeeding Counselors should also send additional donations and net profits from fundraising events collected by Community Chapters to the Receipts Manager for deposit into the Breastfeeding USA checking account. Community Chapter donations are designated by a special accounting code that indicates the funds are held for that specific Community Chapter. As the balance for each Community Chapter changes, each increase or decrease is identified in the accounting system. The Finance Committee is responsible for reporting local donations and expenses. Breastfeeding Counselors who have Community Chapters are not required to maintain any accounting records after submitting Expense Reimbursement Forms. (Again, see the Expense Reimbursement section in Community Chapters: Financial Management.)

Where Do Funds Go?

Currently, all funds from memberships are placed in the general fund of the organization, whether they were received online or from a Community Chapter. This step simplifies accounting, financial reporting, and budgeting. From the general fund, money is budgeted for Community Chapter Grants to support local efforts to deliver the Breastfeeding USA mission. In the future, Breastfeeding USA expects to revisit the membership process and explore ways to share membership revenue with the Community Chapters that solicit those memberships. Our goal is to make Breastfeeding USA funds available to Breastfeeding Counselors and Community Chapters to carry out the mission, while ensuring adequate protection and wise use of the organization’s assets.