Below is a list of frequently asked questions for our member leaders. If members have other specific questions, please email us at email@example.com
How do members apply for national scholarships? Are there any changes?
For legacy members, not much has changed, except that there are more scholarships available and members applying must be insured for at least two years. There are now 58 scholarships with $68,000 available.
Winners have been selected for the 2021-2022 school year. Applications for the 2022-2023 school year will be available in November 2021 on our Scholarships page.
Will there still be state and local scholarships? Who can apply?
As for state and local scholarships, there will be no change to those given out by branches and lodges. Member groups will still go through the same steps they have in the past: 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.
If the scholarship applications are made available statewide and your state now includes new member groups, the scholarships must be offered to all members. For example, Wisconsin has 20 branches and 20 lodges, so if applications were sent to members in all branches/lodges, they would need to include members in those additional member groups as well. BetterLife’s Home Office teams can help the committees reach out to the new members.
Can we have our local or state application featured on the BetterLife scholarship page?
Yes! Please email the scholarship application and requirements to firstname.lastname@example.org to have your group’s scholarship included on our website.
BetterLife Magazine and 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 paragraph about events to email@example.com. If we have questions or would like more information for a feature, someone from BetterLife’s Member Engagement Department will contact you directly.
How does our group get featured on the monthly e-edition?
There will be a monthly email edition that will feature unique content including branch and lodge highlights, member benefit stories, financial information, and company updates. Make sure you and all of your branch and lodge members are on the email list! If you would like to be added, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What printed materials are available through BetterLife?
With the help of the marketing team, 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, etc. The marketing team will design, print, and mail out materials to the members or the folks in your community you’d like invited. Request marketing materials through our Publicity Request form.
Where can new BetterLife materials be purchased?
Our online store, BetterGoods, is available to members, agents, and BetterLife employees. The store includes BetterLife logo items such as office supplies, apparel, drinkware, and other fun promo items. BetterGoods gives member groups quick and easy access to materials for community events, branch/lodge gatherings, and personal use to start a conversation about who we are at BetterLife. Check out BetterGoods by clicking here.
What should I do with Western/NMB promo items?
If you still have Western Fraternal Life or National Mutual Benefit promotional items or goodies, please do not continue to use them. Feel free to donate to a shelter, community center, or any other community group in need. If you have old clothing, please check with the organization to find out if they are accepting clothing at this time.
Home Office Questions
Who is in the BetterLife Member Engagement Department?
Angel Thomas, Senior Vice President, Member Experience
email@example.com (Madison office)
Anne Rogers, Member Engagement Lead, Member Engagement
firstname.lastname@example.org (staying through Fall 2021, Madison office)
Hallie Evenson, Member Engagement Specialist
email@example.com (Madison office)
Where should I send my mail?
Please send your mail to our Home Office in Madison.
6522 Grand Teton Plaza / PO Box 1527
Madison, WI 53701.
We prefer materials to be sent via email whenever possible: firstname.lastname@example.org.
What should we do with our checking accounts that say Western Fraternal Life 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.
Legacy Western Member FAQ’s
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 three members and that members are doing on their own, we are accepting those points.
What will we be doing in 2022?
The BetterLife Member Engagement Department is working to determine the best way to combine our two systems including branch and lodge programs, names, funding structure, processes, and online portal for 2021. They will be advised by the newly created Fraternal Advisory Board.
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 here. The programs now have the options of reimbursing funds directly into checking accounts; they can also 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 the member engagement department with any questions or guidance for 2021. We’d also like to remind all members to please adhere to all local, county, and state laws regarding COVID-19 guidelines before planning any events. Please note: 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-19, 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.
Czech Heritage FAQ’s
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 as 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 encouraging our lodges to continue to participate and organize Czech programs and festivals, which we will continue to support.
What are you doing with the artifacts at the Cedar Rapids Home Office?
Some materials in the Cedar Rapids Home Office have been sent to the Madison Home 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 we’re BetterLife, will we still get to celebrate the 125-year anniversary of Western?
Yes, there will be an anniversary event in Cedar Rapids, IA from July 21-24, 2022 to celebrate and honor Western’s (now BetterLife’s) 125-year anniversary. Events to honor heritage are being planned.