Below is a list of Frequently Asked Questions for our member leaders. If members have other specific questions, please email our department email at email@example.com
How do members apply for the national scholarship? Are there any changes?
For legacy members, not much has changed for the national scholarship program, except there are more scholarships available and a member must be insured for at least two years. There are now 58 scholarships with $65,000 available. The deadline is March 1st. The application is available at /member-resources/scholarships/.
Can we still do state and local scholarships? Who can apply?
As for state and local scholarships, there will be no change to the state or local scholarships that have been given out by lodges and branches (hereafter referred to as member groups) of both organizations. Member groups will still go through the same steps they have in the past couple, run the scholarships through their committee, choose the number and amount of the scholarships within the guidelines, and choose the winners through an impartial judging process as they have in the past.
If the scholarship applications are sent statewide and your state now includes new member groups the scholarships must be available to all members. For example, Wisconsin has 20 lodge and 20 branches, so if applications were sent to members in all lodges/branches they would need to be expanded to reach members in those additional member groups as well. The Member Engagement and marketing department can help the committees reach out to the new members.
Can we get our local or state application on the BetterLife scholarship page?
Yes! Please email the scholarship application and requirements to the Member Engagement email above to get the application included on the scholarship page.
Magazine and BetterLife Newsletter
Now that the magazine is quarterly, what is the role of the Correspondent?
When writing content about member and lodge programs, you can send photos with a caption and a paragraph about an event to the firstname.lastname@example.org. If we have questions or would like more information for a feature, someone from the Member Engagement will contact you directly.
How do I get on the monthly e-edition?
There will be a monthly email edition that will have unique content to include lodge and branch highlights, member benefit stories, financial information, and company updates. Make sure you and all your lodge and branch members are on the email list! If you would like to be added, please email the email@example.com
What printed materials are available through BetterLife?
With the help of our expanded Marketing Department, the Member Engagement member groups will be able to request postcards, flyers, posters, program templates, and more. Examples of events that could have this promotion include special dinners, community events, fundraisers, dances, rummage sales, festivals. The Marketing Department will design, print, and mail out materials to the members or the folks in your community who you want to invite. Keep your eye out for a marketing request form for these events.
How do I order BetterLife promotional materials?
In 2021, BetterLife members have access to a small amount of promotional materials from the home office. If you have an event for early this year that you would like promotional materials or have questions about what other materials are available, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where can new BetterLife materials be purchased?
We have a new online store, BetterGoods, for members, agents, and BetterLife employees. The store includes BetterLife logo items such as office supplies, apparel, drinkware, and other fun promo items. An online store gives member groups quick and easy access to materials for community events, lodge/branch gatherings, and personal use to start a conversation about what BetterLife is. Check out BetterGoods here: https://betterlife.crpromos.com/.
What should I do with Western/NMB promo items?
If you still have Western Fraternal Life or NMB promotional items or goodies, please do not continue to use them. Please donate to a shelter, community center or any other community groups in need. If you have old clothing, please check with who you are donating to, to see if they are accepting clothing at this time.
Home Office Questions
Who is in the Member Engagement Department?
Angel Thomas, Senior Vice President, Member Experience email@example.com (Madison office)
Kelsey Logan, Co-Director, Member Engagement, firstname.lastname@example.org (remote, then in Madison office)
Anne Rogers, Co-Director, Member Engagement email@example.com (staying through September 2021, Madison office)
Hallie Evenson, Member Engagement Specialist firstname.lastname@example.org (Madison office)
Darcy Hilton, Member Programs Coordinator email@example.com (staying through May 2021, Cedar Rapids office)
Where should I send my mail?
Through March 31, 2021 all lodge forms and materials can be sent to Western’s current Home Office in Cedar Rapids. Western Fraternal Life, 1900 First Ave NE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402.
As of April 1, 2021, please begin sending your mail to the address of our new Home Office in Madison. BetterLife, 6522 Grand Teton Plaza, PO Box 1527, Madison, WI 53701. We prefer materials to be sent via email whenever possible, to the firstname.lastname@example.org email.
What should we do with our checking accounts that say Western or National Mutual Benefit?
At this time, you do not need to change the name on your checking accounts. The bank will require documentation from the IRS for you to change the name on the branch/lodge accounts. We will send an official IRS document to each branch/lodge when it is received at the Madison, WI headquarters office to change the name on their financial accounts.
NMB/Western) were licensed to do business by the Commissioner of Insurance in their respective states. Western was licensed by the Iowa CI and NMB by the WCO. When we consolidated, legally, National Mutual Benefit merged into Western Fraternal Life’s Federal ID number. So we used Western’s Federal ID number and NMB is gone and its EIN# cannot be used. Because we haven’t filed all the tax documentation to have our products licensed and approved in Kansas, the last state for approval.
Therefore, use the checks you have for right now. You don’t need to re-order checks right away with BetterLife on them. If you must re-order, please order small. If you need to re-order immediately and can’t wait to get new name documentation from us, it might make sense to just use “Lodge #000 or Branch #000” without the BetterLife name included.
Through 2021, we will work with financial institutions to get the name BetterLife on the accounts. If you have any other questions, please email email@example.com
Should we open a new bank account for BetterLife?
You should not close the account and open a new one. Hopefully, every lodge and branch will be able to use the same accounts they currently have. For your information as a member, you will find a copy of the new BetterLife Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws in the February BetterLife Magazine.
Lodge Points System and Lodge programs
Do we still have to do the points system in 2021?
Yes, there will be no change in the points system through 2021. Continue to send in points forms through this year. We will continue the traditional points system in 2021. It will be important to continue to do as many projects as safely possible. As with last year, if there is something that you normally do as a lodge (that usually requires 3 members) that members are doing on their own, we are accepting those points.
What will we be doing for next year in 2022?
The Member Engagement Department is working to determine the best way to combine our two lodge systems including lodge and branch programs, names, funding structure, processes, and online portal for 2021. They will be advised by the newly created Fraternal Advisory Board. A new program will be announced fall, 2021.
Can we still do the Item giveaway and Members in Action?
Yes, both programs are still available and haven’t been changed. The forms are available on the website at /lodge-forms/ The programs now have the options of having the funds reimbursed directly into checking accounts or can still be provided by mailed check.
State and district meetings
Can we still hold state and district meetings?
Yes, Legacy Western members who are officers for district or state meetings within their state are encouraged to reach out to Member Engagement Department with any questions or guidance for 2021. We also remind all members to please adhere to all local, county, and state laws regarding COVID guidelines before planning any indoor events. On all lodge officer report forms, due March 1, there is a section to be filled in if your lodge is hosting a state or district meeting.
When should we have the meetings in 2021?
Aim for May or later: To avoid having to ‘re-plan’ a State Meeting again due to COVID, we suggest planning to host the meetings in May or later. Planning for May or later makes it much less likely you would have to start planning again.
Who should be invited?
Some states (IL, MN, ND, SD and WI) will include branches. As a fraternal, we must welcome one another to our meetings. All lodges in those states that will hold State Meetings will need to have branches added to their invite list. Branches do not hold state or district meetings so your state meetings could be the first time you may meet some of these new members. This gives you a great opportunity to increase participation, get some fresh ideas, and just get to know others in your community. Marketing and Member Engagement will take care of all the mailings and invitations. Let the Member Engagement know the date of the meetings by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Will members still get mileage and host lodge be reimbursed?
Yes, for 2021 meetings, the members will still be able to get mileage reimbursed and the host will get reimbursed.
What are you doing to support Czech heritage at BetterLife?
We are honoring our commitment to the Czech Museum in Cedar Rapids, IA to fulfill a $250,000 donation pledge to be a lead sponsor for exhibits. We are also committed to supporting Czech TV, radio stations, and other Czech sponsorships, as we have in the past. We are also encouraging our lodges to continue to participate and organize Czech programs and festivals and will support those as we always have.
What are you doing with the artifacts at the Cedar Rapids office?
Some materials in the Cedar Rapids office are being sent to the Madison office to display and keep our heritage at BetterLife. All other materials are being offered to the Czech Museum to keep as historical documentations of the Czech experience in America.
Now that it’s BetterLife, will we still get to celebrate the 125 year anniversary of Western?
Yes, there will be an anniversary event in Cedar Rapids in July, 2022 to celebrate and honor Western’s (now BetterLife’s) 125 year anniversary. Events to honor heritage are being planned.