Last Chance for Charitable Giving

ChernyCherylColor (3)Are you a procrastinator like me and like 33% of the world who donates on December 31st?  No worries, you still have time to donate.

Sertomans are very charitable people.  They give of their time, talent and treasure throughout the year. Sertomans touch so many people and that is one of the many reasons I am proud to say that I am a Sertoman. Clap!

If you are still considering making donations before the tax deadline, please keep in mind the Sertoma Annual Fund. Funds are used to support our scholarships, grants, SAFEEars!®, A Sound Investment, and other hearing health programs. Over the past ten years, the Annual Fund has provided over 800 scholarships, more than $1,000,000 in grants, and provided information to more than 300,000 individuals on how to protect their hearing.

Sertoma awards 50 $1,000 scholarships each year to graduate students pursuing degrees in audiology or speech-language pathology. Sertoma provides more funds nationally, for graduate students studying communicative disorders, than any other single organization.

Sertoma awards 50 $1,000 scholarships each year to undergraduate students who are hard of hearing or deaf, attending a four-year college or university, who have clinically significant bilateral hearing loss.

In addition, Sertoma awards approximately $100,000 in Community Grants to organizations that belong to the national Adopt-an-Agency program. These organizations, also known as affiliates, are nonprofit hearing health organizations that have established a relationship with a Sertoma club or have an independent relationship with Sertoma. Community Grants are awarded for any amount between $2,500 and $5,000, for a hearing related program, project, or equipment.

If you are part of the 66% of the population who have already donated, thank you!  For the remaining 33% of us, please join me in donating on or before December 31st by either writing a check or visiting the website at Wishing you and yours all the best in 2015 and always.

Cheryl Cherny
Sertoma Junior Vice-President

What Does Our Annual Fund Fund?

Larsen, DebbyEvery year we donate to the United Way, the Cancer Society, Girls Scouts, Boy Scouts, and the list goes on and on.  Do you ask them where the money is going?  I would guess to say that you do not.  You believe that it is going to a necessary and worthy cause.  Well Sertoma has a worthy cause and it is called our Sertoma Annual Fund.  There are many questions out there regarding this fund and we have volunteers who help us educate Sertomans.  I hope that each of your clubs ask the Fundraising District Representative (FDR) to attend one of your meetings and have this individual as your guest speaker.

We should be very proud of what Sertoma does with our funds to assist our Mission.  These include:

  1. 50 $1,000 scholarships for hard of hearing or deaf students who have clinically significant bilateral hearing loss. Graduating high school seniors or undergraduate students must be pursuing a four-year degree to apply.
  2. 50 $1,000 scholarships for graduate students who have been accepted into a graduate level program in audiology or speech-language pathology in the United States.

Sertoman’s should be very proud that we provide $50,000 for graduate level study in communications disorders, more than any other single organization in the nation. Each year we have more than the 90 applications.  Wouldn’t it be great if we could give more?

  1. Every Sertoma club can establish a relationship with a non-profit hearing and speech facility. This is called Adopt-an-Agency. This program helps support the professional staff and their programs at these facilities. Each facility can submit a grant for hearing health projects between $2,500 and $5,000. They can also apply for a Professional Education Grant ($425 per fiscal year).
  2. CELEBRATE SOUND Don’t Walk in Silence® is our new national fund and awareness event to promote hearing health in our communities. Half of the proceeds support’s the local community project(s) and the other half goes to support our scholarships, grants and public awareness campaigns.
  3.  Looping is a technology that has taken Europe by storm. Sertoma has decided to help educate and loop America. A Sound Investment is a public awareness campaign that each club can use. Looping allows hearing assistive devices to serve as wireless loudspeakers, delivering clear, sharp, customized sound right from inside the ears.
  4.  SAFEEars!® is an educational awareness program designed to motivate young people and adults to take action against noise-induced hearing loss.
  5.  Through Hearing Charities of America (a subsidiary of Sertoma), we now have a donation center for hearing aids. You can go to

Our Sertoma Annual Fund is doing outstanding things for our communities. Please consider a donation, participate in a CELEBRATE SOUND Don’t Walk in Silence event or put on a looping demonstration at a local venue like a church.

As Sertomans we need to get the word out about hearing health. Let’s do this together to make a difference!

Debby Larsen
Sertoma President Elect

Form 990

BARTLEMAY,-Don5One of the most important functions that your club does every year is to file a Form 990 with the IRS. EVERY club must file based on the gross revenues raised by the club. If you do not file this form your club will lose it’s 501 (c)3 status as a charity and will not legally be able to raise revenue. Here are the requirements on what and who must file each type of form.

- Clubs with gross revenues raised in excess of $200,000 must file a form 990

- Clubs with gross revenues raised in between $50,000 and $200,000 must file a form 990-EZ

- Clubs with gross revenues raised under $50,000 must file a form 990-N

Your club’s respective form must be FILED BY NOV. 15, which is the 15th of the month of the 5th month past the end of our fiscal year. (If you have an extenuating circumstance,  you may request an extension from the IRS –  form 8868.) You may not extend the form 990-N, which is a postcard, there is no penalty, the IRS will send a reminder to file. The good news, ALL the information and forms are available on the Sertoma web site,( ) plus a 5 page downloadable instruction sheet on how to fill it in ,created by Sertoma. There is a training site for non-profits created by the IRS to teach volunteers about basic tax compliance ( ) There is a wealth of information to help you, please use it. We would ask EVERY club to do “Due Diligence” and make sure your treasurer has these forms filed. When we do not follow through, it causes huge problems and a great deal of work to get a club’s tax exempt status back. By staying on top of this we can save a lot time that can be used to advance our Mission of Hearing Health. Don Bartelmay Sertoma Sr. Vice President

Why Should Clubs Host a CELEBRATE SOUND Event?

ChernyCherylColor (3)Year three for CELEBRATE SOUND® Don’t Walk in Silence is off to a great start.  With more than 50 events completed and over $400,000 raised, Sertoma members set a standard for outcomes many organizations would envy for a start-up effort. But we know that is just the beginning, we have a lot momentum building with several repeat, and new events scheduled for this fiscal year.

So just in case some are still asking the questions; “Should my club do a Celebrate Sound event?” Here are some other questions to consider first. How can we build brand and awareness with an increasing larger audience? What will excite or encourage more people to engage the service and philanthropy of our club and Sertoma? Because if those are questions your club is asking, then Celebrate Sound is not another question, it’s the answer.

I truly miss David Letterman’s  top 10 lists since he retired. There is no way that I can match his wit, and my list might not be as entertaining, but if you still are asking the question Why?

Top 10 Reasons for hosting a walk -

  1. It is easy to do since it is a turn-key fund raising project.
  2. It has online registration and online goal tracking.
  3. It raises awareness of hearing health issues.
  4. It raises funds for grants and scholarships.
  5. It is a way to recruit new members.
  6. It brings people together for a common cause, Sertoma.
  7. It gets the Sertoma name recognized locally and nationally.
  8. It introduces Sertoma to people who have never heard of Sertoma.
  9. It can be done with as little as 6 people.
  10. It is fun.

Let’s grow recognition and support our clubs and Sertoma deserves.  Obtain your CELEBRATE SOUND Don’t Walk in Silence information packet today by emailing

Cheryl Cherny
Sertoma Junior Vice President

Follow the Leader


I was researching new approaches to generating ideas and building successful strategies. During my reading I came across this story of the Pine Processionary caterpillars.

A famous French naturalist, Jean-Henri Fabre, conducted an interesting experiment with Pine Processionary caterpillars. He took several caterpillars and placed them in single file around the rim of a flowerpot. Each caterpillar’s head touched the end of the caterpillar in front of it so that the procession formed a full circle. Fabre placed pine needles, which are the favorite food of the caterpillars of this type, in the middle of the circle formed by the procession. What makes a Processionary caterpillar special is the instinct to blindly follow the caterpillar in front of it. All caterpillars went in circles hour after hour, day after day, night after night thinking that the caterpillar in front of them was heading to the food. In 7 days, all the caterpillars died from hunger and exhaustion although food was just 6 inches away from them and the only thing they needed to do to get it was to change the direction of movement. The procession died simply because when the strategy of finding food didn’t give results, the caterpillars didn’t change it.

Sedniev, Andrii (2014-07-25). The Achievement Factory: How to Fulfill Your Dreams and Make Life an Adventure (p. 62). . Kindle Edition.

This story brought into focus a critical issue we face as leaders. Success is based on our willingness to fail, learn, and move forward. But how much harder is it for us to realize when an existing strategy, one that worked, no longer provides the required outcomes. How sure are we that like the Processionary caterpillar, we are not also blindly following the lead of tradition. Does that make us unable or unwilling to seek out the new ideas, to risk new strategies.

Even if we recognize the need to step out of line, what do we do about what we have, and who we are? This is the great question for leaders of organization where successful traditions of the past are not productive strategies needed for the future. Even for those willing to step out and seek a new direction, that process is inevitably anchored to existing structures, products and people. Sadly, that commitment limits investment or diminishes outcomes of new strategies. In an effort to “support what we have” new ideas and strategies may not grow to scale sufficient to ensure survival.

The wonderful news for Sertoma is that we do not have to be concerned with what we do, or who we are. We are people of service, and we help others and our community. There is no need to leave that path. What is not working as well is some of our strategies for “how.” Universally service clubs of all brands are experiencing diminished results from many successful strategies of the past; club building, membership drives, and attendance at meeting and conventions.

As leaders, we have the difficult task of balancing traditional and new strategies for our service and philanthropy. That is not easy, as much of our identity as a service club is tied to how we function. But if we each thought about those moments when we were truly proud to be Sertoma,my guess is those all have to do with helping someone in the community. Along as we create those moments that make us proud, we can face the change needed to make that happen. So when following a new direction seems too hard, just remember why – “I’m proud to be a Sertoman.”

Steven Murphy
Executive Director

Importance of Leadership/Candidates

Larsen, DebbyWhen I was asked to write about the importance of Leadership/Candidates I thought back to my life in Sertoma. I joined Sertoma as a way to give back to my community and that was ALL I wanted to do. I grew up in a community where neighbors helped neighbors and no one needed to be asked. So giving back through Sertoma seemed to be natural.

There are so many opportunities within Sertoma where you can be a leader.  In your local club you can submit your name for an office; you can do the same on the district, regional or even the national levels. Some of the leadership roles that Sertoma has are:

Club Officers/Directors                Fundraising Chairs             District Director/Officers
Regional Director                        Director at Large                 Regional Offices
National Officers                         Club Liaison                        Regional Trainer
Certified Trainer                          Fundraising District Rep.    HCOA Board Member
External Marketing

Let’s take a look at the district level. Each district needs to have a District Governor, Secretary and Treasurer for the basics. There are other cabinet offices but it varies by district.  All of these positions are voted on at your district meeting held during the regional conventions in the fall. Training is held during the Sertoma National Convention in April so that you can start out your year with a bang.

There are individuals in your club that would be great leaders and you need to ask yourself if you are one of them. Stepping up isn’t always easy and everyone is busy.  There really isn’t a good excuse to not become a leader and I can speak from experience. I was a mother of three active children and working full time when I was elected the second President of our club. I attended all the club and board meetings; district, regional and of course national meetings. Evidently just giving back to my community wasn’t enough and I didn’t even know it. At each of these meetings I watched individuals as leaders – some were excellent, some were so-so, and a few were not so good.

One of the new leadership areas is our new Mission Expansion Specialist (Evangelist) volunteer role. This new volunteer role was announced at the Sertoma National Convention in April with a follow up article in the Sertoman Digest. External marketing is looking outside the Sertoma family to grow by using tools like CELEBRATE SOUND Don’t Walk in Silence®. I would like to challenge you to spread the word in your community and outside your community. This can be done through doing a walk for a special project, doing an educational seminar on looping, or on SAFEEars. Doing these kinds of activities not only raise funds and awareness, but  also trains those that are in charge of these efforts to become leaders. Talk with these individuals and let them know that you see leadership skills within them and encourage them to run for an office. Once that is accomplished then going onto other leadership roles will be a cinch.

I went from an individual who just wanted to give back to my community to an individual that still does that but also believes that strong leadership is good for all of Sertoma. I would like to challenge each of you to look at having the same experiences that I have had on my road to becoming President of Sertoma. If you are asked to hold a position within your club, your district, your region, or the national level, please consider saying yes – you don’t know where the road will lead you. Don’t be afraid of a new challenge – it is a great experience! Look at the list above and say I can do that or you know of someone who would also be great and ask them to consider running. You never know you may be President of Sertoma one day.

Debby Larsen
Sertoma President Elect

If we only knew!

I was another day at the desk, and like most days involves the elusive effort to find and develop resources for those we want to help.  This particular day seemed to focus on CELEBRATE SOUND, our national fundraising event. Part of the day I was reviewing a proposal for a new series of training videos to support volunteers leading events. This was an interesting counter point to an earlier in the day when I was making lists of possible volunteers to host a CELEBRATE SOUND event in New Jersey. But as mid-afternoon approached, the energy and clarity of the morning had become mired in the reality of the challenges we face in these and the other issues pouring in through emails and calls. Continue reading

Internal & External Marketing

Johnson, DavidHello fellow Sertomans. We have started the 2014-15 year focusing both internal marketing to our members and clubs, as well as external marketing to communities that do not know SERTOMA.

Let’s first talk about internal marketing. Following convention in April, the board decided to implement an expectations project. The goal is to develop a better understanding of the how and what we can do to strengthen Sertoma. When the board talks about strengthening our clubs, we are talking about how we can grow internally through participation in our Sertoma programs, resulting in retaining and adding new members.

When was that last time your club did an evaluation with its members? What are your strengths? Where can you do a better job? Have better communication? Have a successful fundraiser? Having fun and socializing? These are all key areas we need to take an honest look at so we can find areas to improve. If we need help, we should be able to ask a regional or certified trainer in our area to come in and train.

Next, our external marketing efforts are working to expand our mission outside our Sertoma family. We have several new communities participating in our hearing health programs as a result of our efforts over the past year. There are many new communities that we need to be reaching out to in order for us to grow. Many of your Board members are assisting staff in touching base with new groups and communities. Are you interested in helping? Please contact staff and visit with them about your role with this key expansion program.

This past winter I attended a club’s fundraiser. They had students from a local university helping with the event. I asked the advisor of the group if they were interested in learning more about our hearing health programs. Those conversations have resulted in a possible new CELEBRATE SOUND® event at Kansas State University. They have students eager to assist in raising funds and awareness about hearing health. This is just one new community where we are seeing results.

The governors had a conference call recently and I visited with them about the importance of their communication with clubs and the need to complete their administrative duties. I shared how their role should support that of the FDRs and CTs to help strengthen the Sertoma relationship with clubs and to help build a strong relationship between clubs and Sertoma. Their excitement and enthusiasm about Sertoma’s programs and training through the Leadership Institute is important for our members to see so that they will want to participate and partner with what we do together as Sertoma. I also encouraged those that were interested to be involved in our expansion efforts.

We have an exciting year coming into full swing. I look forward in all of us strengthening our local clubs and expanding into new communities to spread our hearing health mission – making a difference in the lives of those in our local communities.

David Johnson
Sertoma President 2014-2015

As the Ears Go By

Plugged In, But Not Clued In
The second in a series on one man’s experience in getting a cochlear implant


Well folks, it’s clear I have issues with written assignment deadlines. You needn’t take my word for it, since I have dozens of educators who will vouch for me. But enough groveling, because I have big news to announce. I have an installed cochlear implant! I had the surgery to install the implant at Boys Town National Research Hospital in Omaha, NE, June 16th. Continue reading

What do you want?


Myself I want to win the lottery; I want the physical vitality of my youth or even middle age, I want gas prices to go down during a holiday. We probably all have this list of things we want that are typically out of our control, or not even possible. There is nothing wrong with a bit unrealized fantasy in our life; it is probably even good for the mental health. That is assuming we also have an answer to the question – What is it you really want? Continue reading