As we get to the end of March, I have no doubt you have seen your local BWI group trying to drum up memberships. Let’s be honest… basketball has nothing on babywearers. Membership drive REALLY brings the Madness to March.
So, WHY should you become a member. I’m so glad you asked.
The Benefits to Becoming a local BWI Member!
1. You get to try out different carriers without buying allthecarriers.
Wallets Rejoice!! On carriers, I spend an average of… er, we won’t go there, it’s a lot more than $30. For $30, you get to RENT carriers ALL YEAR LONG. In our chapter, we have two meetings where rentals are allowed, you could rent carriers 22 times, for $1.36 each time! Even if you only rent 12 times, it’s $2.50 each rental. AND what kind of carrier are you going to find for $30 that will last you all year, allow you to exchange it at will, and it changes with the season? Nope. None. Take a look at our lending library!
Speaking of lending libraries…
2. The VAST MAJORITY of your membership fee goes to buying carriers for your LOCAL lending library.
Yeah, there are always SOME administrative costs, like business cards and website hosting, but really, that’s it. This is a labor of LOVE for the people doing it so everything is donated/volunteered. Even after you factor in my immense blog-writing salary ($0), the administrative costs are minimal. And that’s not all, we work to make sure your money goes FAR. We shamelessly ask for donations and discounts. We are even willing to pimp out this blog (please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details) all in the name of expanding our lending library. Perhaps you have even heard how we are willing to go to war. Yep, that’s true, too. BUT it can only be done with your membership dues.
3. You’re One of Us, Now!!
A few weeks ago, I blogged about how we are building a community beyond just worn babies. We are. <Drops Mic>
<Frantically picks Mic up… Ok, I’m really not that cool>
Yes, all those soft squishy thing I wrote about weeks ago REALLY happen. These moms REALLY support you and we are here because of babywearing, but that is just the start. With your membership dues, you are saying,
“I support you guys and I’m here, in your group, to stay for at least a year so that I can get my $30 worth.”
We appreciate that.
4. You membership dues help us reach out to the community.
You are giving back to your community. By becoming a member, you invest in the education, outreach, and community-building that we do as an organization. We use our library and time to spread safe babywearing practices and create awareness and support for babywearers across 4 counties! It’s not just about renting carriers for yourself, we’re doing something big here.
My favorite story to illustrate this point is one that I saw in a small national mom’s group. The mother lives in a rural area and people in her community started mocking her for babywearing.
There were a lot of hurtful things said that don’t need to be repeated, but one was, “look at her throwing the fact that she can’t afford a stroller in our faces.” Yeah, that was actually said OUT LOUD to this Mama. Repeatedly. BWI helps normalize babywearing and reach out and inform people.
In this same mom’s group, I have another friend who has never seen another babywearer in real life. That leads me to the next point…
5. Your membership dues help us wear allthebabies!
We know the advantages of babywearing (because I’m preaching to the choir), but do you remember that moment? That second that you realized that you COULD chase your toddler while nursing your newborn. That you COULD leave the house, make a cup of coffee, check your email, or even SHOWER because of babywearing?
Your membership helps normalize babywearing for the community, yes, but it also helps inform AND EMPOWER the individual mother. That’s a lot of traction from $30!
6. Your Donations go to make sure VBEs are insured.
Well, this one may not seem particularly sexy to you, but it is a HUGE deal to me. Confession Alert: I’m an attorney that does insurance litigation.
You: Oh, so you would help defend us if some crazy person sued us.
Me: Yeah, I’ve done that, but I’m REALLY more the type to sue for injuring others.
You: *Gasp* Like an ambulance chaser??
Me: Yeah, but without ambulances… or chasing. I have two car seats in a Prius, yo!
It matters to me that BWI as an organization is responsible and professional enough to understand that an organization this large needs training… and insurance, just in case. I think it’s the MOST responsible thing that BWI does and I am proud that some of our membership dues go to insuring our incredible VBEs. As an attorney, it allows me to professionally respect this organization. As a parent, it shows that they really care about the well-being of our babies.
7. Your membership dues allow us to give back to the community.
Make no mistake about it. Each BWI chapter is a labor of LOVE. Volunteers spend a LOT of hours making sure meetings, financials, insurance, logistics, trainings, and carriers are all handled appropriately before you even step in the door of a meeting. The ENTIRE BWI experience is about giving back to the community through education and volunteerism, but many chapters go above and beyond that. Many chapters give carriers away to needy families or help collect carriers for military families and donate their time teaching these families how to use them. Without your membership, that would not be possible. Pat yourself on the back if you’re already a member. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
9. Babywearing International is a great steward of your money.
News flash, this is an organization of volunteers. No one is paid. We open up our homes to meetings, drive throughout the city with our gas, and often include our own carriers in the lending library. The money is spread… far. Here is a list of things that also cost approximately $30:
Basically, your membership dues are our lifeline. Your $30 goes unbelievably far. In Austin? Join us.
If you are not in Austin, here is where you can look for a BWI chapter to join near you.