NAMI Standards of Excellence
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- Who can be a NAMI member?Anyone who accepts the NAMI mission and pays annual dues may be a member of NAMI. There are no membership categories. All membership is individual. Multiple members of a single family are welcome to join NAMI, but each person must pay dues in order to be officially counted among the NAMI ranks. If cost is an obstacle to becoming a member, a reduced rate called “open door” is available.
- What does it mean for me to be a NAMI member?NAMI has a strong commitment to "a member is a member is a member" -- meaning that anyone who joins the organization at any entry point has joined the organization at all points (NAMI Affiliate/NAMI State Organization/NAMI).
NAMI membership helps ensure a better tomorrow for the nearly 60 million Americans living with mental illness and their families. NAMI is the foundation of a grassroots movement to raise awareness and provide essential and free education, advocacy and support group programs. Because mental illness impacts the lives of so many Americans, each membership is vital as we work together every day to save every life. The more members we have, the more power we have to improve the mental health system.
As a member, you receive benefits from your NAMI Affiliate, NAMI State Organization, and NAMI including the national news magazine the Advocate, local and state newsletters, and discounts at conventions and the NAMI Store. You also receive voting privileges through your NAMI Affiliate to shape NAMI’s future. Most importantly, you benefit by being part of a group of people committed to a better future for those affected by mental illness.
- How can I describe the benefits of membership to others?In support of this effort, NAMI drafted "boiler plate" language we can all use in our publications to describe the benefits of membership. We welcome your feedback and suggestions in making it the best description of the value conveyed through NAMI membership. Please send your comments and suggestions to Bob Scott.
"Make a difference as a member of the NAMI movement!
Become a NAMI member today and add your name to the list of thousands raising their voices to demand services, support and respect for the millions affected by mental illness. NAMI membership demonstrates your support for the important work being done at NAMI and helps us make our voice heard in your community and the nation's capital.
Members receive NAMI's national news magazine, the Advocate, in addition to local and state newsletters. Members also enjoy reduced costs at conventions, the NAMI Store, and other events, as well as voting privileges through their NAMI Affiliate to shape the future of America's largest grassroots organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions affected by mental illness.
Being a member counts!"
- What do I need to know about standardized dues?The NAMI Board of Directors set the standardized dues at $35, with the option of an “Open Door” (reduced dues) rate of $3.
This new dues rate became official on July 1, 2012.
Of the standard $35 dues, $10 goes to NAMI, and of the $3 Open Door dues, $1 goes to NAMI. The balance is divided between NAMI State Organizations and NAMI Affiliates in that state, based on a mutually agreed upon split to be used state-wide.
Through standardized dues, we moved away from the fractured, separate membership lists of the past that kept our head count low and our structures chaotic.
- Standardized dues eliminate all specialized membership categories such as associate, family, professional, student, consumer, etc. – an individual person is simply a member.
Categories for supporters/donors can, and should, be established locally, but these are not member categories. NAMI can help in establishing strategic supporter categories for use locally and statewide. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for help in doing this.
- Why does NAMI have a standardized membership dues rate?Having standardized dues strengthens the NAMI “brand”, which in turn strengthens our voice when advocating for change across the country.
NAMI wants to grow and be visible. To grow, we need to make joining NAMI easy. Until we implemented the Standardized Dues policy, it had not been easy to become a NAMI member – every entry point was different and charged a different dues amount.
Standardized dues simplify all of those processes and lay the groundwork for something we all want – a national membership campaign
- Why were $35 and $3 selected as our standard dues rates?In a survey of NAMI Affiliates conducted in the spring of 2011, most respondents were charging $35 for membership. Similarly, $3 was the most common Open Door dues rate. Because those amounts were already widely used, NAMI selected them as the standard dues amounts. Since then, more than 25,000 people have joined NAMI at those rates.
When implementing a standard dues rate, we chose to go with what is already most common practice.
- Who is the Open Door rate for?NAMI, NAMI State Organizations and NAMI Affiliates are required to offer a reduced dues rate, called Open Door, for members with limited financial resources. Open Door members enjoy all the same rights and privileges of membership; they just pay less. The NAMI Board has set the Open Door dues rate at $3, $1 of which comes to NAMI with the balance split between the member’s NAMI State Organization and NAMI Affiliate.
Open Door membership is not a consumer membership and recipients do not need to prove their need – all they have to do is ask. Although the Open Door dues rate is universally available, it is not offered online at NAMI.org for new members. Individuals wishing to secure the Open Door dues rate may submit membership via a NAMI Affiliate or NAMI State Organization. Open Door dues rate are included on the standard membership form templates made available by NAMI.
- How are the membership dues split between NAMI, the State Organization and the Affiliate?Of the standard $35 dues, $10 goes to NAMI, and of the $3 Open Door dues, $1 goes to NAMI. The balance is divided between NAMI State Organizations and NAMI Affiliates in that state, based on a mutually agreed upon split to be used state-wide.
Any state/local split is acceptable.
NAMI State Organizations were required to communicate to NAMI by December 31, 2011 their statewide dues split. NAMI used the split amount communicated by your NAMI State Organization in NAMI 360 to make monthly electronic payments from NAMI to NAMI State Organizations and NAMI Affiliates.
States that did not communicate a mutually agreed upon split by December 31, 2011 had the split in their state set at the default split of $10/$10/$15.
If the details of the split need to be changed, the NAMI State Organization should communicate that change to Bob Scott.
If you have questions about the mutually agreed upon split in your state, please contact Bob Scott.
- What is the NAMI membership system? What is NAMI 360?NAMI 360 is a central database providing a comprehensive view of NAMI's members and supporters. This system replaced earlier ones (TouchBase, E-Join) in May 2012. It offers a common access point for information to NAMI members and supporters, NAMI State Organizations, and NAMI Affiliates. NAMI 360 tracks individuals' membership status, profiles, and the contact and leader information for NAMI State Organizations and NAMI Affiliates. NAMI State Organization and NAMI Affiliate leaders can access NAMI 360 after attending a NAMI 360 training provided by NAMI.
- How can I become a new member of NAMI?To become a new member, you can join NAMI:
Online by signing up in the privacy of your home and selecting your NAMI Affiliate from a list of options;
Via a NAMI Affiliate in which case someone at the NAMI Affiliate will process your membership in NAMI 360; or,
Via a NAMI State Organization where someone at the NAMI State Organization will process your membership in NAMI 360.
NAMI has created standard membership forms for use across the country. These forms can be inserted in brochures, newsletters and anywhere else that might attract new members.
Regardless of where or how a member joins, the new member will pay the standard $35 dues rate. Members joining via the Open Door rate of $3 must do so via a NAMI Affiliate or NAMI State Organization. Open Door is not available as an online option for new members on NAMI.org.
- How can I renew my NAMI membership?As a loyal member, you can renew in several ways:
1. Pay your annual dues to your NAMI Affiliate or NAMI State Organization. That NAMI office will update your renewal in NAMI 360. Or,
2. Pay by logging into www.NAMI.org and renewing your membership online by credit or debit card.
- How and when will the NAMI Affiliate and NAMI State Organization portions of dues be distributed?Each month, payments are sent out by NAMI for any monies received in the previous month through NAMI 360 or through NAMI.org. For example, if a member joins in January their NAMI State Organization and NAMI Affiliate will receive their portion of that member’s dues in February.
For those NAMI Affiliates and NAMI State Organizations who supplied their bank information to NAMI, their portion of dues will be deposited directly into their bank account on a monthly basis. You will receive money every month that membership payments occur in the system and are linked to your organization.
For those NAMI Affiliates who do not supply NAMI with their bank account information, their membership dues will be sent to their NAMI State Organization to be forwarded on to them. The appropriate portion will go directly to the NAMI State Organization and/or the NAMI Affiliate based on the mutually-agreed split communicated to NAMI. Please contact email@example.com you would like to provide your NAMI office’s bank account information in order to begin receiving direct deposits for membership money you are owed.
- How are donations made when members join at www.nami.org handled?If a member makes a donation in the same transaction as a membership purchase on the NAMI.org website, their donation will be split equally between NAMI, their NAMI Affiliate, and their NAMI State Organization. This “split donation” is sent along with any other dues the NAMI Affiliate and NAMI State Organization are owed in the monthly payments.
- Should we request that all NAMI Affiliates note in their bylaws that dues are set by NAMI as we now have standardized dues?
- Can a person join NAMI through a support group?We certainly hope that everyone who benefits from a NAMI support group will also elect to become a member! However, all membership in NAMI originates with a NAMI Affiliate. Whether joining locally or through www.nami.org, each person who joins NAMI must select or be assigned to a NAMI Affiliate. By joining NAMI, that person will automatically be a member of the State Organization and the national organization.
- Are NAMI membership dues tax deductible?Good question! The answer is: some are, and the rest depends. See the full explanation here.
Don't see your question? Ask us at firstname.lastname@example.org