Why Our Annual Fund Matters

Why Give
Larsen, DebbyOur annual fund is essential to the success of our programs. The money we raise each year for this fund helps young men and women who are deaf or hard of hearing attend college. It helps educate graduate students pursuing degrees in communicative disorders. It gets programming out into our communities nationwide about preventing hearing loss. It educates hearing health professionals so they can do even better work in our communities. It supports nonprofit programs in the area of hearing health.

That’s an impressive list, and each area the Annual Fund supports allows Sertoma to fulfill its national mission, which is to improve the lives of people who are at risk of or who are impacted by hearing loss. We are one of the only organizations in the country addressing this national health crisis — the hearing health crisis — and our results speak for themselves.

Over the past 10 years, we have raised more than $900,000 in scholarship money for the Hard of Hearing and Deaf Scholarship and the Communicative Disorders Scholarship. This means we helped support the education and change the lives of 900 promising students.

Last year alone, we awarded 33 community grants to facilities through our Adopt-an-Agency program. This means we are supporting programs across the country so these facilities will be better able to serve their patients and communities.

 As of this writing, one new looping project has recently been completed in Minot, N.D., and the 2015 national Sertoma service project — looping the chapel at the Duhram VA Medical Center in Durham, N.C. — is close to completion. With these and other A Sound Investment® projects, we are helping to make the world accessible for people who are deaf and hard of hearing. This means people who have issues with their hearing can live in a world filled with more sounds than they ever imagined and take part in public events in their communities alongside their friends, families and neighbors.

Since its inception, our SAFEEars!® program has helped countless young people and adults learn how to protect their hearing and take action against noise-induced hearing loss. This means we are making communities more hearing healthy, one class at a time.

In addition, the fund supports other programming and public awareness campaigns, all designed to support those with hearing issues and make our communities hearing healthy.

Why Give More?
Our work in hearing health is essential. And we haven’t fulfilled our mission until we live in a country where everyone at risk of or impacted by hearing loss has a better quality of life.

Right now, we have more applicants for scholarships than we can provide. The Communicative Disorders Scholarship alone received more than 140 applications last year. As long as we are turning away qualified scholarship applicants, we haven’t yet fulfilled our mission.

Through our Adopt-an-Agency program, we have applicants for community and professional education grants that we are not able to fulfill. As long as we are turning facilities and industry professionals away, we aren’t doing as much as we can in service to our mission.

In this country, most public spaces are accessible for people with physical disabilities but not for those who have hearing loss. We cannot stop working until all the auditoriums, civic spaces, health facilities, museums, places of worship, symphony halls and other public spaces across the country are looped.

We can reach even more young people and adults with our SAFEEars!® program. Until people of all ages understand the dangers to their hearing and the simple steps they can take to preserve it, we haven’t fulfilled our mission.

We can still do more, and we are called to do more.

The Annual Fund is the key that will open the door to more access to the world, more understanding of hearing health issues, more support for people who are deaf and hard of hearing, and more awareness about how hearing health issues are everyone’s health issues.

Let’s do more this year.

Debby Larsen Sertoma President


Support #SertomaListens Through Social Media

#GivingTuesday 2015 is just around the corner, and Sertoma, Inc. is participating at the national level with a call to support the Annual Fund. With this first year of participation in #GivingTuesday, we are testing the waters and will share what we learn about running a #GivingTuesday campaign with our clubs. Our hope is that clubs will become involved with future #GivingTuesday events and will use their own #GivingTuesday campaigns as a way to tell their stories and more deeply connect with their communities, while also raising funds and awareness about their work.2015-Churchill-quote-edited

We will be using the hashtag #SertomaListens for our Annual Fund campaign. This is an opportunity to help support our national mission and programs and to get the word out about that work. If you want to be an ambassador for #SertomaListens, you can let your friends, family and coworkers know what we are up to.

To help you to spread the word, below are some suggested social media posts for you to copy and paste into your Facebook or Twitter pages.

Facebook Posts

#SertomaListens to the call of those with hearing loss. Make a gift today as part of #GivingTuesday. https://www.sertoma.org/makeagift

#SertomaListens to you this #GivingTuesday. Together, we can work for a hearing healthy world. https://www.sertoma.org/makeagift

Many of our public spaces are not accessible to people with hearing loss. #SertomaListens to that need and can respond with your help. https://www.sertoma.org/makeagift

#SertomaListens is your chance to help a deaf or hard of hearing student get a college education. Make a gift. #GivingTuesday https://www.sertoma.org/makeagift

You can help children and adults learn how to protect their hearing. Make a gift to Sertoma. #SertomaListens #GivingTuesday https://www.sertoma.org/makeagift

Help students study communicative disorders so we can grow stronger hearing health communities. Make a gift. #SertomaListens #GivingTuesday https://www.sertoma.org/makeagift

Twitter Posts

#SertomaListens to the need for education and support of those who are deaf or hard of hearing. #GivingTuesday http://ow.ly/Uzwzd

Support #GivingTuesday by giving back to Sertoma Tuesday, December 1. #SertomaListens http://ow.ly/Uzwzd

Sertoma works hard to improve accessibility for people with hearing loss. Support #GivingTuesday. #SertomaListens http://ow.ly/Uzwzd

#SertomaListens to the need to make our communities hearing healthy. Learn how to support their work. #GivingTuesday http://ow.ly/Uzwzd

Ways Sertoma Clubs Can Participate in #GivingTuesday

2015-Only-Way-to-Give#GivingTuesday 2015 is just around the corner, and Sertoma, Inc. is participating at the national level with a call to support the Annual Fund. As Sertoma members know, the Annual Fund supports scholarships, grants, and hearing health programs. We have awarded nearly $2 million in scholarships and grants, as well as helping more than 300,000 people learn how to protect their hearing. With this #GivingTuesday campaign, we hope to raise awareness on an even larger level.

For Sertoma clubs that want to get involved with #GivingTuesday at the local level, here are some tips for running a streamlined campaign designed to raise awareness, raise funds, or get more people involved in your efforts.

  • Keep your campaign simple. Pick a main cause you want to focus on, one that is engaging and accessible.
  • Sell your cause, not your organization. Focus on those your cause benefits.
  • Know your focus. Decide ahead of time if your campaign will focus on awareness, fundraising, volunteer recruitment, social media engagement (such as getting as many people as possible to like your page), or some other focus.
  • Use the toolkits available on the #GivingTuesday website to help you get started.
  • Let your members and supporters know you are taking part in #GivingTuesday.
  • Let your local media know you are taking part. You can use or modify a press release template provided on the #GivingTuesday website.

Let your local media know you are taking part. You can use or modify a press release template provided on the #GivingTuesday website.

Learn more about the #GivingTuesday movement by clicking here.

Join Us for #SertomaListens

GT SertomaListens LogoSince 2012, #GivingTuesday has harnessed the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate generosity worldwide. Perhaps the greatest thing to come out of this movement is the platform it has created for people to tell their stories — stories about the important work organizations around the world are doing, and stories about those who have been helped by these organizations.

Each year, through its Annual Fund, Sertoma, Inc. helps people realize their dreams and protect their hearing. Without the Annual Fund, we would not be able to realize our mission of improving the quality of life today for those at risk or impacted by hearing loss through education and support. This year, we are taking part in #GivingTuesday to further our mission so we can educate and support more people than ever before. Our dedicated hashtag for the event is #SertomaListens.

We want to fund more students through our scholarship programs that support deaf and hard of hearing students who want to attend college, as well as graduate students who want to pursue degrees in audiology or speech pathology.

We want to educate more people nationwide through our SAFEEars!® program so they can take steps now to protect their hearing.

Through our A Sound Investment® program, we want to advocate for making public spaces accessible for people who have hearing loss.

We want to provide more grants that further the work of hearing health programs, projects, and professionals in the area of hearing health.

Over the past 19 years, we have provided more than 800 scholarships and more than $1,000,000 in grants, as well as helping more than 300,000 people learn how to protect their hearing. But that’s not enough, because we still have more people to support and educate, and we still have more communities to strengthen. With this #SertomaListens campaign, we hope to see our strongest single year of donations yet as we close our Annual Fund in June. This will position us to do our best work to date in support of our mission.

#GivingTuesday is about real people doing real work in our communities. #SertomaListens is about real people doing real work in our communities with regard to supporting hearing health. Celebrate #GivingTuesday and the #SertomaListens this December 1.

To make a #SertomaListens donation, click here and enter “#SL” in the comments field.

The Ins and Outs of Form 990

McArdle, Pat 08Each year, every club must report on its gross revenues raised by filing a Form 990 with the IRS. If the form is not filed, the club will lose its 501(c)(3) status as a charity and will no longer be able to legally raise revenue. One of three variations on the form must be used, depending on how much money the club raised during the year. Those forms are as follows:

  • Form 990, for clubs with gross revenues raised in excess of $200,000
  • Form 990-EZ, for clubs with gross revenues raised between $50,000 and $200,000
  • Form 990-N, for clubs with gross revenues raised under $50,000

Your club’s respective form must be filed by November 15, which is the 15th of the month of the 5th month past the end of our fiscal year. If your club has an extenuating circumstance, you can request an extension from the IRS by filing Form 8868. You cannot extend the form 990-N, which is online filing only. (There is no penalty for late filing of the 990-N. The IRS will send a reminder to file.)

The information and forms are available on the IRS website at irs.gov. The IRS has created a training site for nonprofits to teach volunteers about basic tax compliance. Visit that site at stayexempt.irs.gov. The Sertoma site has information on how to fill out the 990-N. View those instructions at sertoma.org, then go to Membership | Resources | IRS Information.

We ask that every club do its due diligence with regard to completing this important form. We don’t want anyone losing their tax exempt status because of an oversight that could easily be prevented.

2016-2017 Board Openings

Are you looking to become involved in Sertoma at the National level? There are three Board openings for 2016-2017: Two Directors-At-Large (2 & 3 Year Term) and one Vice President. Being involved at the club and district levels are great ways to prepare for the National level. If you are ready to fulfill the responsibility of the future of Sertoma please consider running for a Board member position.

Advice from current and past Board members on what it means to be on the National Board

Maureen Royer, Director Allegheny/Canada Region 2012-2015

Royer,-Maureen-Thumb“ I have really enjoyed being on the National Board for many reasons. First, being involved at such a pivotal time in Sertoma history with the Centennial celebration and the launch of re-branding was truly invaluable. Secondly, getting to work side by side with Sertoma staff and other Directors across the country to help make key decisions regarding our future. And also sharing my passion with other Sertomans while visiting districts and clubs in my region and seeing all the good work being done in Sertoma’s name. Combining my experiences from the club and district levels along with advice from mentors helped prepare me for the Board, as it plays a significant role in shaping the future of Sertoma. I encourage and challenge those of you with district or region level leadership skills interested in making a difference on a higher level to run for a position on our Sertoma Board.“
Kay Telford, Director Great Plains 2013-2016

“It is important to have club/district roles prior to running for office to understand how each area functions. While serving in various roles from: District Governor, serving on three task force committees, involved in planning and executing regional conferences and the bid process for the 2006 National Convention in Omaha, have played an instrumental role in influencing me for the National Board. With the role of a Board member comes great responsibility, but that most satisfying experiences has been seeing “think outside the box” ideas come to life with a plan and direction. I encourage you to reflect on the skills and abilities you can bring to the board and areas for growth, and consider running.”

Voting & Resolution Dates
December 1, 2015 – Candidate information must be received in writing at the Home Office to be included in printed materials
January 22, 2016- Last day to submit a resolution to the Home Office for the annual meeting.
January 22, 2016 –  Last day to add a name to the ballot
February 25, 2016 – Mailing of Club ballots
March 30, 2016 – First day of online voting
April 10, 2016 – Online voting closes
April 11, 2016 – Club Ballots due back in the Home Office
April 13, 2016 – Club Ballots counted and combined with online votes

10,000+ Sertoman’s Stories = Endless Possibilities

Larsen, DebbyAt our last National Convention our focus was on Story Telling. Not just any story but our story.  We heard how important it is to tell our story so that others become interested in Sertoma. So I thought this would be easy.  I had two great ideas but which one to pick. So here goes…

How many of you have had your hearing checked and it was fine? Then you have it checked again and find out it isn’t. I started by having my hearing checked at a regional convention. I thought I had done a good job and was very surprised when they indicated I should see a professional. Of course I didn’t – my hearing was just fine. The following year I attended another regional convention and they had a hearing booth/truck so I thought I would do it again. I still needed to see a professional. Two years went by and I finally made an appointment with my ENT. Results showed hearing loss in my left ear and I should be re-evaluated in six months. Of course I didn’t follow through in making an appointment.

Another two years went by when I finally called to make an appointment – not for a hearing test but for some ringing in my right ear. Now I had two problems: loss of hearing in my left ear and ringing in my right ear! My ENT told me that the ringing would either disappear or I would get used to it (not what I wanted to hear). Tests showed significant hearing loss in my left ear. Surgery might be able to correct it. I went to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN where I met with Colin L. W. Driscoll, M.D., Chair of the Department of Otorhinolaryngology. (Isn’t that a mouth full?) After discussing my symptoms he suggested a scan of my ear – it’s a wonder what you can see on the screen! He showed me that my Stapes bone was not vibrating because of buildup of bone.

There were three suggestions made that day: 1) do nothing and live with the hearing loss; 2) use a hearing aid to help with the loss of hearing; or 3) have a stapedectomy.
We reviewed the three options. I made the decision to have the stapedectomy. A stapedectomy is ear surgery done to treat hearing loss caused by otosclerosis. Otosclerosis causes a buildup of bone around the stapes (stirrup bone). This buildup keeps the stapes from moving, resulting in a type of hearing loss called conductive hearing loss. In surgery a prosthesis replaces the stapes. Of course we also covered all the things that could go wrong during and after surgery.

Decision made. I wanted the outpatient surgery as soon as possible, but I needed a driver. For someone who would rather be behind the wheel, this was tough.
I had surgery but needed to wait until August 6th for my hearing test. I was able to turn down my television and radio so I knew that my hearing had improved, but by how much? The doctor informed me that my left ear was almost as good as my right ear. The surgery was very successful!

My story doesn’t end here. As it turns out four of my five siblings have had the same surgery.  My brothers were first, then me and finally my one sister.  Will my other sister need the surgery, she doesn’t think so but at least there is a way to correct what we have.  Others are not that lucky but there is some help and Sertoma is here to educate and help with needs in the communities we are in.  Let’s tell our stories so that we can grow our organization.  We all have a story or two and we need to start telling others about what we do.  I suggested at my club meeting that we start contacting other organizations to be speakers.  You never know until you try it.  The goal is endless with 10,000+ Sertomans telling their story.

Debby Larsen
Sertoma President

If you have a story you would like to share, please send an e-mail to balmond@sertomahq.org

Year End Wrap-Up

Johnson, DavidOnce upon a time a young father-to-be joined a group of men to help St. Joseph, Missouri become a better community. He experienced a way people can come together from different walks of life and help their community. He learned how to serve as its President. He grew in knowledge and opportunities to become the District Governor and see clubs in the area and how they help their communities. He experienced a variety of cities that had Sertoma and many people whose lives had been touched and changed by the services received. Later he served on the Sertoma Foundation Board as a Trustee and worked with volunteers to merge the Foundation and Sertoma International into Sertoma, Inc.

In San Antonio, Texas and the national convention he was asked a simple question, “If not now, when?” It was a humbling exchange to see many past leaders and current national volunteers asking him this simple question. Why me? Why now? During this period of time, he knew why. He had reached the opportunity to become the board President for Sertoma. He looked back on many learning experiences, conventions, fall district meetings and national board meetings and it was time for this person to give back to Sertoma what it had given him over the past three decades.

I want to say, “Thank You”, to all for teaching me how to grow as a leader, for becoming the many individuals across this country that I truly call my friends. This experience has changed me more than you will ever know. I appreciate your time, efforts and energy in making Sertoma the best national organization. Lee, my wife, and I have enjoyed traveling this year to meet many fellow Sertomans and learn from you about your experiences. We have seen smiling faces from communities when serve pancakes or chili or impact a community of individuals with hearing loss through a looping project.

Thank you all. I have said to the national board, your headquarter staff, your Executive Director, what you give of your time and talents each and every day to strengthen Sertoma is sometimes overlooked. I appreciate each and every one that helped me become who I am today. Thank you!!!” Most of all, I want to thank Lee for allowing the time and energy from our lives for the past few years in this national leadership role. I love you for supporting this activity.

As I close my year as your national President, I am asking each of you, “If not now, when?” Is it time for you to become your club president, district Governor, national Director or is it time for you to say, “Yes, I would like to serve this great organization as the next national board President.” Until we meet again, God Bless!

David Johnson
Sertoma President

Start Working On Your Club Budget

BARTLEMAY,-Don5About this time each year clubs should be putting their budget together for the next year. The club treasurer puts together a preliminary budget that should be voted upon before July 1, 2015.

When drafting the budget it is important to reflect on the mission of the club and to set goals for the year that fulfill the mission.

As a member of a club, some tips you should consider for the budget:

  • Who are your club sponsorships?
  • How much does the club give each year?
  • Are we supporting Sertoma’s Hearing Health programs? Adopt-An-Agency or SAFEEars!®
  • How many events is the club holding?

The budget is your club’s financial road map for the year, there are always adjustments during the year, but your budget will give you a good idea where your club is going financially and what the club must do to meet those objectives.

The budgeting forms are available at http://www.sertoma.org/ClubManual

Promote Better Hearing & Speech Month

Larsen, DebbyWhen is Better Hearing & Speech Month?  What should we do as a club?  Why do anything?  I decided to Google “better hearing & speech month” and Google told me that there were 15,900,000 results.  All I could think was WOW!  I went on Pinterest and there were a lot of ideas for Better Hearing & Speech Month.  The word is out but not as much as it should be.

Each May Better Hearing & Speech Month gives us an opportunity to raise awareness about hearing health.  Michigan State University indicates that for over 75 years May has been the month designated as Better Hearing & Speech Month.  What better way is there to get the word out about the programs that Sertoma has to offer to help raise awareness of Hearing Health!

What are you waiting for – Sertoma supplies the tools – we need you to help implement them.  Programs such as SAFEEars! ®, CELEBRATE SOUND Don’t Walk in Silence®, and A Sound Investment-holding an informational meeting on looping.

“Everyone knows someone that has a hearing issue and needs help, or be informed where help is available.  Hearing is the number one health issue in men over 65 and number four in women.  Hearing loss over time breaks down communication and causes individuals to be isolated.  They no longer want to participate in activities.   Hearing loss affects high school students and it is irreversible.  May is a great way to promote our SAFEEars! program. ” This information came from last year’s article written by Don Bartlemay.

Like most people my age you are dealing with parents who are hard of hearing.  They first do not want to admit they can’t hear well.  After a lot of nagging, they finally get their hearing checked and find out that they need hearing aids.  Once they get them it can sometimes be a challenge to get them to wear them.

The more we educate people on the importance of hearing health the better off everyone will be.  I encourage every club to do something during May.  Make sure you take pictures and send an article into headquarters to be featured in a Sertoma communication piece.  Your event may prompt another club to do something next year during May.

Debby Larsen
Sertoma, Inc.