Sierran Masthead

You Can Help to Develop a Strong Chapter

by David Ellis, Hoosier Chapter Development Chair

Being new to the Hoosier Chapter Executive Committee as the Dunelands Group representative, I was eager to do something to help when I attended my first meeting in January.

As the ExCom was appointing the chairs for the various committees, no one volunteered for Development Committee Chair. After a few silent moments, I said that I would do it but that I would need some help because I didn't know what the Development Committee did. With some help from the ExCom and some surfing on the Sierra Club Clubhouse Web site (, the purpose of the committee became clear: The Development Committee plans and tracks membership and fundraising activities. I also realized that we are all helping with development already, whether we know it or not.

First, the committee is charged with encouraging people to join the club and with keeping current Sierrans involved. For instance, there are incentives for membership drives, with a higher-than-usual percentage of members' dues going to your group when the dues are from new members. A code on the membership form determines who gets the money (your group's code is on the Web).

Here's a way for everyone to help recruit new members: Bring a friend along on one of our great outings. Some may join the club.

Second, the committee plans and monitors fundraising for projects. Funds come from Sierra Club dues, from chapter and group fundraisers, and from donors inside and outside of the club. Sometimes fundraising involves filling out paperwork for a grant, which we will be doing in the winter. Other times, it takes everyone's hard work selling calendars (which is happening now and provides a good return for each one sold) or asking local businesses for donations for the Basket Auction and selling tickets for it (your group drawing should be at your December meeting). These activities provide money for the chapter and your group and are great way of helping.

Finally, the rest is mostly organizational. The best way to find out about the Development Committee is to join it. We will communicate over the phone and through e-mail mostly, with a few meetings and retreats so that we can get together and be more effective developers. We plan to meet in October for the first time, and we'll set the future schedule then. If you have fundraising or recruitment experience or ideas or want to get involved, this is the committee for you!

Any time that you can give will help tremendously. If you are interested or have questions, please call me (219) 730-7913 or Also, for more information on calendar sales, the Basket Auction, or membership, contact Lori Hazlett at (317) 822-3750 or Thanks for all of your help!

Copyright © 2007 Hoosier Chapter Sierra Club, all rights reserved.[10/04/05]efp

Summer 2005