Sunday, September 20, 2009

Spotlight on Central Florida Nannies

Central Florida Nannies is run by Marica Van de Kieft and Sherri Askew.
email centralfloridanannies (at)
phone 407-221-9769

Do you charge dues?
No, it is "FREE" to join our group. We feel that every nanny in the Central Florida area should have access to a support group. We do have a 'donation jar' at every meeting for those that feel inclined to donate. These funds help to purchase items for the group, events and rental space.

What is unique about your group?
Our group has been around since 2001, but became PUBLIC in 2006. Since then, we have grown to 15 active members and counting. This year has been our biggest year in membership growth. Our group is getting read to hold our Second Annual Nanny Recognition Day event. During this event, nannies receive goodie bags stuffed with freebies from national and local companies/businesses. In addition, we have several local vendors on hand to 'pamper' the nannies during the two hour event. It's a wonderful time to be had by all. Additionally, we have placed an interest in the well-being of our community and have started a 'volunteering committee'. We plan to donate a few more hours of our time one weekend a month to several different organizations.

What membership benefits to you provide?
Nannies who join our group receive a new member packet with coupons pertaining to 'nanny related' services, a 'certificate of membership' to place in their portfolio, access to our member tree which allows them to support and network with others in the group, referrals for jobs through local agencies, workshops/seminars that are held 2/3 times per year and much, much more!

What would you like others to know about your group?
Central Florida Nannies (CFN) is a Orlando based nanny support group serving Orlando & the surrounding area's. CFN is dedicated to improving and promoting the in-home childcare profession by providing continuing support, education and networking opportunities for nannies throughout Central Florida. CFN understands the unique relationship between families and nannies, and appreciates the need for both respect and recognition for the in-home childcare profession. The members of CFN meet monthly for Playdates, Social Events, Community Volunteering, Workshops and more. This is a perfect opportunity to meet other local in-home child care providers. Increase your potential by socializing, networking and learning with others in your profession!

Can businesses / industry services support your group? Absolutely!! We would LOVE any help we can get. :)

Marcia Van de Kieft
Founder/President of CFN

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Spotlight on CincyNanny

CincyNanny is a very new Nanny Community. Our first gathering will be Sat., Sept 26, 7:00 - 9:00, for a free National Nanny Recognition Week Dinner at Red Tree Gallery in Oakley. Red Tree is a privately owned Art gallery/Coffee Shop that has amazing ambiance and will provide a private, comfortable atmosphere. We have been able to reserve the whole location. The goal of the meeting is to meet all the Nannies in the city and allow them to meet each other. I will share professional resources and connect them to the national "Nanny World".

I will be encouraging membership to INA, the credential exam, and share other association opportunities. I will also give a detailed survey to find out what the group, as a whole, is looking for - education, resources, play dates, online forum, nanny nights out, etc. From the answers to the survey, the CincyNanny Community will be created in the order of priority decided by the group. We are absolutely brand new! There is so much to be determined.

Do you charge dues?
2009 membership will be promoted at the NNRW dinners a free to all members. Dues will begin in January of 2010. Price of dues to be determined.

What is unique about your group?
We are brand new - under construction! This group has been started out of the desire and the need for families and nannies to find each other for positions. As a Nanny, I constantly have families looking for nannies and nannies looking for the families. I began advertising short posts on my blog, From there I was constantly talking to nannies, encouraging them in their profession and found I was answering the same questions over and over. (Same thing for the families). I was trying to influence our community in a professional way. I was realizing that there are far more Nannies in Cincinnati than anyone could know. There is no "water cooler" for them, no place to gather and be challenged, connect , and vent. I hope to set a standard for Professional Nannies in Cincinnati, through the standards International Nanny Association has set for me. The ultimate goal is to influence the future children in our city.

What membership benefits you provide?
Currently we have a website where nannies and families can post their needs for each other. I have been able to mentor many Nannies, through this service. It is a safe place with no contact information and resumes are forwarded upon interest. There is no charge. After our NNRW dinner, we will establish education, resources, play dates, online forum, nanny nights out, as desired in the priority determined by the community.

Possibilities in the future: Affiliation process, online references, tools for hiring, consulting, help with contract negotiation, help to other communities in other cities as they start their own groups.

What would you like others to know about your group?
Mission: Advocate for Nannies. Provider for Families. Connecting, to enrich the lives of Children. We are passionate about the children we care for. We are professional, quality caregivers and we want to set the standard for others in the city. (see my first paragraph :)

Can/business/industry support your group?
We are open to this, but again just starting and unsure of the specific need.

Greta Schraer
Professional Nanny
Director of CincyNanny

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

How to Start a Nanny Support Group

This information is provided with permission by NAN - National Association of Nannies. This information was prepared a few years ago, so the approximate costs and some of the details may seem dated, however the material is useful for anyone wishing to start a nanny support group or help existing groups expand their services and membership benefits.

Compiled by Joyce Farmer with help from nanny support groups from across the country.

Each Nanny Support Group must vote their preferences and build the group that their members want and need. The suggestions in this guide are merely ideas of things from existing support groups across the USA.

This guide was prepared BY nannies FOR nannies that want to start a Nanny Support Group or who are currently running a support group for nannies. No part of it should be reproduced without the permission of the National Association of Nannies.

Group Types: Social, Educational, or Playgroup
A nanny support group's main purpose is to provide whatever support nannies need. It is implied that each group would provide peer support for their members, and provide a place where a nanny can vent about common problems, or discuss and get advice about specific problems. This is a very important service of a nanny support group: see section on Guidelines.

There are three basic types of nanny support groups, and infinitesimal versions and blends of each, according to the needs of the members. Questionnaires can be used to determine what individual members are expecting, or what they would like to see. The members of a group should vote in the beginning, and periodically, to make sure that the group is currently meeting the needs of its members, and make changes if necessary.

This group does not offer speakers or educational opportunities. It is mainly a local social gathering of nannies. Their meeting is comprised of less business or agenda structure, and more conversation and visiting. Nannies can get more feedback in a social situation, than from a structured or lecture situation.

This group usually has a time/content structure, an agenda, and a time set aside for a speaker or presentation, thus providing an educational opportunity at each meeting. There can still be time left for social purposes, or a social event is set up for another time each month.

This is a small group, meeting once a week, including charges. There can be organized activities or just free play for the children, and nannies can get a chance to network and talk while their charges gain the social contact of playmates.

A note about online support groups: A new trend in nanny support groups is the online discussion group. These can be started and accessed from the nanny's work/home, in the nanny's spare time, and do not require that the nanny travel to a specific site for meetings. Chats can be set up for group discussions, or the discussions can be introduced to the list. This is a great way for nannies to get advice about specific problems or general problems, and to get many different viewpoints.

At times, these groups are specific to certain areas. Certainly, there are opportunities for an online support group to become a physical support group, or to meet socially in person for events. There are also opportunities for physical support groups to start the online list in order to be able to communicate inexpensively with other members of the group. It is a resource that has many uses, and should be explored to see how it may meet your needs.

When using the Internet, you need to use caution in the beginning. Nannies know their jobs, though, and it is tough for a person to fake this knowledge. Relationships are formed in online support groups that are every bit as real as friendships with a nanny on your street. Online nanny support groups learn that privacy and confidentiality issues apply to them also, and groups frequently come up with guidelines that help control issues as they come up.

Any or all of these officers/positions may be appropriate for your new group. You may also create other elected or appointed positions as needed. Sharing leadership among co-presidents or co-moderators keeps one person from being totally responsible for the welfare of the group, and makes it possible for more people to be involved in any decision-making process that cannot wait until the next monthly meeting.

The founders of a group can become its executive board; they can make decisions together through discussion, logic and a sense of what is best for the group.

President, or Moderator, or Chairman
Executive Board Members
Playgroup Director
Agency Liaison
NAN Liaison
Public Relations Director
Membership Chairman
Educational Liaison
Contact Person
Newsletter Editor
Playgroup Director

If you are starting a new group in a large city, you may want to designate one of your officers to be a Playgroup Director. While offering to set up playgroups initially inside the nanny group, it may then develop into a convenient service to the community. This lets mothers and caregivers know of new opportunities to meet with children of the same age group as their own. There are some areas where nanny/charge playgroups are needed, and others where nanny/charges may intermingle with mothers/children in playgroups. It is a decision that the participants will need to make before signing up, according to what each feels comfortable with.

If you are starting a group to specialize in a small area of a large city, this may still be a valuable service to your local area.

An annual nanny/charge picnic is a wonderful way to kick off your playgroup, celebrate it, advertise it, and to recruit new members for the nanny group.

Playgroups can meet at homes, churches, libraries, community centers, and indoor play spaces for children. You may choose to meet only during the school year.

Liaison/Contact Person
Because of a need in your community, or a project that your group would like to do, you may need to elect or appoint a liaison from your group. This person is the contact person for the group when it needs to communicate with another group or business. There may be a NAN Member among your support group, and they may report news from NAN to the group, and make NAN Newsletters available for reading. You may want to enlist your local Nanny Agencies to participate with you in a community event; an Agency Liaison is a person who will contact and be contacted by agencies, in regards to the project, or even as a general contact for your group if the agencies want to communicate something to your members. NAN requires that your group have a working method of contact for your support group’s listing, so that nannies can find your group when they need it: a Contact Person. A contact person could also be the only needed leader for an informal group like a playgroup. An Educational Liaison may be in charge of contacting schools or educators, to obtain speakers for your meeting or a CPR instructor for a yearly class for members.

Public Relations Director
Your Public Relations Director may handle all group contact with the public; they may establish and maintain contact with your local newspapers and television stations, in order to pass on information about your group and/or your events. They may prepare and keep current your group’s brochure, newsletter, member resource guide, flyer, or other printed vehicles that advertise your group.

Membership Chairman
Your Membership Chairman may handle all membership duties: signing up new members and distributing New Member packets, implementing membership drives and keeping a current roster of all members. They may be responsible for making sure dues are paid and keeping memberships current. They provide the newsletter editor with current mailing lists.

Newsletter Editor
Your Newsletter Editor types, prints, and distributes your group’s Newsletter as often as your members have voted to have it published and distributed. They maintain a relationship with group leaders and members, discerning what is appropriate, needed, or wanted in the newsletter content, and they seek to provide articles that will benefit nannies and their charges. They may seek advertisers to pay for the newsletter. You may want to hand it out at meetings rather than mail it according to your budget. There is the opportunity to have an email newsletter if all members have email.

Mission Statement
A mission statement is always a good way to start a group off on the right foot. Questionnaires to each nanny can help determine what nannies expect from the group, and your mission statement should reflect your immediate goals and future goals.

The National Association of Nannies: "Our mission is to promote the nanny as not only an occupation but as a career choice. We will establish for ourselves areas of expertise necessary for professional competence and we will educate the American public about the quality issues of in-home childcare. We need to help the public understand high quality professional nannies are indeed deserving of professional pay and professional respect."


Your group may vote to write bylaws as a structure for the group. For more information, you may wish to contact the National Association of Nannies, The Association of DC Area Nannies, Boston Area Nannies or Nanny Circle; these groups have bylaws in existence.

Set definite times and places for your regular monthly meetings. Socials or other seasonal events will need to be advertised well in advance, so that it may make it more possible that nannies can arrange their schedules to attend.

You can find a place to meet within your community. Some groups meet in the community rooms at local hospitals, libraries, churches, or community centers. A Community Room is usually a room within a business or building which has been built with public money, and part of the agreement in obtaining the money was that the space be made available free or at a nominal charge to groups within the local community. This usually requires that a resident of the town arrange for the use of the room. Having a set place for meetings makes it easier for new people to find your group, and makes it easier for you to advertise it.

Using Robert’s Rules of Order can work for a professional meeting; it keeps your meeting from becoming unruly or unproductive. An agenda can help the leader to stay on time and on topic, and accomplish what needs to be done each meeting. Voting on issues and proposals helps the group decide what needs to be done, without any one person choosing personal preferences that affect the whole group.

Guidelines: Dealing with Behavior, Gossip, and Complaints
Establish rules about respect and confidentiality and gossiping from the start before it becomes a problem. Each nanny support group would provide peer support for their members, and provide a place where a nanny can vent about common problems, or discuss and get advice about specific problems, but steps should be taken to ensure that the meetings do not turn into a gripe session. Constructive solutions should be obtained by nannies that present problems, rather than falling into a habit of complaining about a poor circumstance. Privacy of employers, nannies and families should be maintained where appropriate.

Agencies fear that nanny support groups will be big gossip spreaders, badmouth agencies, compare salaries, violate the confidentiality of our employers, and exhibit other forms of unprofessional behavior. A good mission statement and behavior guidelines can reassure agencies and employers that the nanny support group has positive impact on their nannies, so they will be supportive and encourage their nannies to participate. Board members can set a good example, and use these written policies to guide meetings.

These can include guidelines about salary comparisons, privacy and confidentiality issues. It would be good to have a complaint policy/procedure in place; this can ensure that complaints do not become chronic. If your complaints seem to be coming from one person or a few persons, they should be encouraged to suggest solutions to the problems they have presented, which would encourage the complainer not to hold outside influences responsible for the decisions a nanny must make for herself. Having the guidelines in place to handle problems can keep any single problem from having adverse effects on the group and individual members.

Nannies often ask each other for recommendations. A support group can give out a list of the agencies that support them. The individual nanny gives out the ones she recommends. Care should be taken to answer professionally: no negativity, except "I have had a negative experience with X agency, in the category of X (miscommunication, didn’t return calls, mismatch of family expectations, etc.)

Chicago’s Nanny Circle has instituted a forum for general or professional questions/problems, with a structure that limits the time spent on any one issue, but still providing sound mature professional advice from nannies that have been in the business for many years, for those nannies that need it.

Attendance at monthly meetings can fluctuate. Nannies work long hours, and even with the best planning, their schedules can change due to their jobs or other factors. They are also accustomed to providing a life for themselves, sometimes outside of their work as live-in nannies. They can have individual interests and commitments, as well as emotional and physical demands on their time, which can have more immediate precedence over their ability to attend nanny meetings. This does not mean they do not need support from their peers, or that they do not want to belong to a nanny community or network. It is good to offer as many advantages as you can, outside of the monthly meeting opportunity. This will provide support for those nannies that cannot attend regularly. (See Membership Benefits/Advantages.)

It is difficult to adjust to the schedules of everyone; you can do the best you can to meet the scheduling needs of your members. Then, you must set definite meeting times and places, and they must be regular and dependable.

Quality is more important in a support group than quantity, but you should always make room for your group to grow. Having Membership Drives can help increase your membership, and many of the events or activities that your group sponsors or participates in can also help you to gain members. Glenda Propst of Show-Me Nannies says, "It is not about numbers, it is about offering support and meeting the needs of nannies who are looking for friends, information, advice and a friendly face."

You may find that your group will contain career nannies and beginner one-year nannies; their needs vary widely from each other. Short-term younger nannies may be looking for more social activities while the career nannies prefer professional development. It is hard to balance the two and make sure that there is something for everyone. There also needs to be respect between members, even with the differences in age or dedication. Short-term nannies would occasionally need industry advice from a career professional, and career professionals should acknowledge their responsibility to do what they can to help individual nannies and to further their industry.
Offering special short-term workshops or nanny education days can attract many nannies to your group, especially if you receive help from local businesses and agencies to help finance it so that nannies can attend free or for a nominal fee.

Dues for most support groups are generally $20-$25 per member for the year. These dues can cover newsletter costs, membership directory, refreshments, rental space for the meeting, maintenance of a post office box, and other costs incurred.

Membership Cards
Many groups do not offer membership cards. Your members may need proof of membership if you have agreements with local advertisers or supporters. You can buy a small laminator at a local office supply store for about $40, and personal computers now offer a lot in the way of graphics and typesetting.

Membership Benefits/Advantages
Emotional, physical, and peer support/advice at monthly meetings.
Networking with other nannies to meet needs and gain information. (Membership directory)
Newsletter 4-12 times a year
Membership cards & local business discounts (Blockbuster, etc.)
Event and Activity Opportunities
Community Service Opportunities
Exposure to wider nanny community through the group's contact with national and regional nanny support groups
Professional Validation: Membership in Professional organizations looks good on a nanny resume
Welcome Packet or Member Resource Guide, information about the area
Cookbook, or another group-produced publication
Membership Directory

You may choose the option of publishing a membership directory once or twice a year, depending on growth of your group. This directory would include the year's officers, and is very useful for nannies to keep in contact with each other. However, privacy issues must be discussed and a policy should be in effect, voted upon by members. Sometimes, live-in nannies need to protect their families' privacy where appropriate. Other times, nannies feel the need to protect their own privacy. Membership directories should not be used by agencies or other nannies for inappropriate contact purposes, such as solicitation or other unwelcome unasked-for mail, email or phone calls.

It could include your constitution/bylaws, mission statement and behavior guidelines, if your distribution policy makes it private only to members.

It could also include your group’s contact information, current list of officers, and a list of supporting agencies in your area.

Member Resource Guide/New Member Packets
These would include group contact information: constitution/bylaws, mission statements, behavior guidelines, officers, membership directory, current newsletter, group brochure, and it would also include the items that are in a local welcome packet. A Nanny Resource Guide does not have to be just a local guide, though; it could include industry information such as national organizations, online support groups opportunities as well as online agencies and job boards. You could also list industry business professionals who handle nanny payroll, nanny retirement/financial planners, nanny schools and other related businesses.

Jan St. Clair of the Boston Area Nanny Support Group says that BANSG does "have a local resource guide handout in the process of updating. Mostly what I do is collect information and organize it into labeled folders and resource books that nannies can browse through at the meetings, add to and copy what they want. That keeps the info available, but cuts down on my out-of-pocket expenses. It also gives the individual responsibility for copying what they want. And our newsletter goes out via email."

Welcome Packet
This is a local guide prepared with the nanny in mind. It can include places and resources within the local community that a nanny would need. Parks, Community Services, Schools, Play places, Children’s clothing stores, Toy Stores, Local Nanny Agencies, and anything else a nanny could need or want, can be organized into a single guide and offered to new members. As an ongoing project for the group, it can be updated frequently, making sure that admission fees and other information is current and practical, as well as appropriate.

When a nanny moves to a new area to start a new job, she is often busy in the beginning with aspects of the job. She can be too busy to find the nanny groups and ask for help. Nannies who have lived in the area for a while know the area better, and can prepare a welcome packet, keeping the information current on a regular yearly or bi-yearly basis. This welcome packet can be offered free to new members, or for a small fee to anyone who would like to order one. This fee can cover the costs of copying and mailing.

The contents of a Welcome Packet do not include benefits of a New Member unless the person receiving the welcome packet actually joins the group. You can offer a welcome packet to nannies you meet in the community, and it can be a very powerful introduction to your group.

Costs: The nanny support group may provide welcome packets to the agency for distribution (group bears the costs, agency pays postage, nanny and family privacy is maintained), provide current copies for the agency to copy and distribute (agency bears the cost, postage, and privacy is maintained), or wait until the nanny contacts the group for distribution (nanny bears a small predetermined fee for copying and postage).

If you don't wish to fund the mailing of a welcome packet free to each new nanny contact, you may wish to advertise its availability in your group brochure. Nannies who feel the need can order one.

If nanny agencies are very careful about maintaining the privacy of their clients and nannies, you may provide stuffed envelopes, with or without postage, and the agency can address the envelope to the family or nanny and mail it.

Benefits to a Nanny Agency: A welcome packet can greatly enhance their standing with the new nannies and families, but they do not have time to prepare one and keep it current. Agencies are the first contact for nannies, but their follow-up support can sometimes leave something to be desired. Nanny groups can provide this support, but should not discount the value of the Agency as first contact for new nannies. Nannies would know better than anyone, what kind of information is most generally useful to a new nanny, and this is another reason why the welcome packet would be effectively prepared by a nanny support group.

Another point is that agencies are asked ALL THE TIME about nanny support. It would be easy for the agency to push the support group's brochure out there, and a support group should emphasize to the agency that nanny will feel better for having neutral peer support. Agencies are paid by the family, and most of their loyalties lie in that direction.

Content: to be determined by the members of the individual nanny support group
At times, you are not only reaching nannies new to the industry, you are also reaching families with their first child. It does promote nanny professionalism if you include contact information for national nanny groups and the folks who do taxes and payroll for nannies and their employers, along with any reputable nanny insurance companies that you know of from nannies within your group, or nannies that you trust.

Contact information
Decide on your contact information: a phone number, address, and email. This may be one of your members, or it may be an independent contact set up especially for the group. One of your members may have an answering machine with separate voicemail boxes on it; this could be a good option to keep group phone messages separate from a member’s home life. It is helpful to have a post office box at a local post office or mail service. It can be arranged so that this can be accessed by more than one group member, in case of emergencies, extended vacations, travel, or other scheduling difficulties. You may choose a discreet method of letting the public get in touch with you, or you may have a member who is comfortable with being the public contact for your group.

There may be opportunities to get free or low-cost business cards for your group; these are helpful to members when they meet other nannies in the parks or public places. Check out the rates at your local office supply store.

Communication within your nanny group
Members can keep in contact with each other through the information provided in the membership directory, or by exchanging information amongst them. (See membership directory for discussion of some privacy issues)

The group can keep in regular contact with members by the regularly scheduled meetings and the newsletter, which is usually mailed out on a regular basis. There is an online opportunity to keep in contact with nannies, too: by starting a list at yahoogroups especially for your members. You can send last-minute announcements and invitations through it, reminders about meetings and assignments, greetings, chats, discussions, or whatever else you deem it useful for. If most of your members have e-mail, this is an option you may consider, notifying the other members by phone of the important events. This is a free service, so there are no long distance phone charges, and it should explored to see how it may meet your needs.

When using the Internet, you need to use caution in the beginning to make sure that you have not admitted an Internet predator. Nannies know their jobs, though, and it is tough for a person to fake this knowledge. Relationships are formed in online support groups that are every bit as real as friendships with a nanny on your street. Online nanny support groups learn that privacy and confidentiality issues apply to them also, and groups frequently come up with guidelines that help control issues as they come up.

Communication within your community
Answering the phone, mail or e-mail for your group. If you are the contact person, it is important that you communicate with the public and with nannies in a professional manner. You represent your group, and you are going to form the first impression that anyone has of your group.

Answer messages promptly and as completely as you can!
It is not immediately apparent to the general public that a nanny support group consists of full-time working nannies with many demands on their time. You may have to be clear that your group is run by volunteers in their spare time, and that most phone calls or emails will be answered during the evenings or weekends, a time when the nanny is not working. Even though you may be a volunteer, you are still a caring professional who knows the nanny industry; your opinion is valuable and useful to members of the community.

Remember, you are not a professional licensed psychologist. You can advise in a general manner, but if there is a specific problem, you should refer them to someone who has the credentials and experience to help.

You will frequently get calls from families who are looking for a nanny. This is very common. You must make it clear with a simple statement that you are not a nanny agency and that you are not licensed to make placements. You can simply give them a copy of your list of supporting agencies, mention the options online that are more reasonably priced, tell them that you will ask around to your nanny friends and if you find someone interested, you will give them the family’s contact information. You can pass on the job’s information by word of mouth to your friends or members who might be seeking employment, but that nanny is responsible to contact the family and is also responsible to determine whether the job is a good match for her. You should not give any member contact information out to anyone without her permission; you should ask the family for an appropriate method of contact that a nanny should use to get in touch with them about the job.

Industry Questions. You may be called on to answer questions about the nanny industry. You can speak as an individual nanny from your experience, or you may be elected to speak on behalf of your group of nannies. You may choose to vote on the method of handling different types of calls. You may have a list of agencies that support your group, for those calling and needing nanny placement services. You may also wish to have a list on hand, of other industry professionals such as Nanny Payroll, Nanny Insurance, and Nanny Financial Planners, as a referral for specific questions.

Advertising your group/Getting the Word out/Ways for Growth
After you have decided on your groups’ contact information, you can then advertise with confidence in your local newspapers, community calendars, local cable channels that have free community channels, and possibly online community calendars and town websites. You can post flyers at the libraries, gyms, toy stores, video stores, and grocery stores. Anywhere you might find a nanny, this nanny can find you. Check to see that it is allowable to post the notice first.
Some of the best ways to spread the news about your group is to have your members tell other nannies that they meet in the community. Distributing your brochure to bulletin boards of community groups, leaving it with other community brochures, and passing information to people in music and Gymboree classes is also a great way to find nannies. Your groups’ participation in community events can also gain you a larger exposure as your members move among the community.

Other kinds of groups have membership drives that involve their members in contests for who can sign up the most new members during a period of time, offering premiums or prizes. One of the annual events of your group may be an activity where you renew your bulletin board flyers in the community.

CHECK your first and foremost first impression vehicles: phone, email, brochure, newsletter, and make sure they make a good impression. NO TYPOS!

You may wish to have a monthly newsletter; you can offer a quarterly or bi-monthly newsletter. You may be able to send out your newsletter by email, or post it on your groups’ website. Some of the content of your newsletter can come from your Member Resource Guide, or articles from the newsletter can slowly build up a Member Resource Guide for you. You should offer something in your newsletter for the new nanny, and something for the established career nanny, in order to have something for everyone. Advertising gets easier to sell if a newsletter has a large number of subscribers. See the separate guide on Nanny Support Group Newsletters. Offering support through a newsletter or advice/help line will support nannies that don’t or can’t attend meetings.

You can publish your membership directory in one issue. You should always publish officers and contact information to make it easy for your newsletter to be a good vehicle to advertise your group. Other things to include is your event planning news, and news from national nanny groups or the nanny industry.

Your newsletter is a strong public relations vehicle for your group.

If you have a member who knows how to prepare web pages, you may take advantage of having a website for your group. Free websites are plentiful, but you must be careful about the sponsor's conditions for advertising or content. You should be especially careful about using a page on an agency's website, since it is important to maintain independence from any particular agency.

You may also use your Website to announce activities or events, although this is usually harder to keep current. Websites are most useful for new contacts and as a public relations tool between the group and the pubic.

Group Brochure
At some point in time, your group may decide to produce a brochure. This brochure could be distributed by members, mailings, through agencies, or by other methods. The group should decide on the content of the brochure: how much information and which type of information you would like to extend to a wide audience of readers. It is a very useful way to reach other nannies and expand your membership. You may wish to publish your mission in the brochure, or a list of membership benefits, plus an application form.

One of the statements on your brochure could be: We are NOT an agency that places nannies with families. Along with that statement, you could offer a free list of local agencies that support your group.

Microsoft Publisher has templates for brochures, that make it very easy to set up a quick brochure that can be self-published and copied at the local Copy Center.

Activities/Events for Nanny Groups
Having a large number of members means more opportunities for playgroups and varied activities.

If you have a small group of members, up to 15, you may feel that you are not important or that you are not accomplishing much with your effort. This is not true: you are providing support for the members that you have, whether you are growing in numbers or not. These core members who faithfully come to all meetings are the dedicated ones, and they are worth the effort. There are other career nannies out there that are looking for this kind of support. Having a small group means that you can tailor activities that please individuals, an opportunity that sometimes gets lost when your membership number grows. Meeting in other places like restaurants gets easier and more spontaneous events are possible since there are not a large number of people to call. Smaller groups are better for CPR classes.

If your members number 15 and above, you have these options:
Community service (many hands make light work)
Speaker opportunities (some speakers require 15 or more people before they will come)
Wide variety of activities proposed by members with different interests and connections (our bosses have free tickets, boxes at games, etc)
Larger budget for extras to offer to your members
Bigger and better parties with all participating

Monthly meetings Meeting regularly on pre-scheduled dates provides a strong foundation for all other activities or events that may occur. If a nanny knows that the group will always be meeting on a certain day in the month, she can plan ahead as best she can. If schedules interfere, sometimes for a few months in a row or over the summer, she knows she can catch up to the group at the regularly scheduled meeting, if not at any other event or activity. Your group may choose not to meet in the summer, to avoid vacation scheduling problems.

-Speaker If you have a large number of members, or excellent appropriate speaker opportunities in your area, you may opt to have a speaker or presentation at each meeting, setting aside a certain time in the meeting for this to occur. The topics need to be nanny-related or other lifestyle topics that may have been requested by members.

-Themes You may choose a different theme for each month, based on the month's holiday, or yearly seasons. These themes can be predetermined for the year, and advertised in advance in the newsletter, with reminders before each meeting.

Nanny Night Out Your members may choose to try to meet at another regularly scheduled event each month; an excellent idea is Nanny Night Out. You could meet at a restaurant, same or different each time. You could also plan special events, in which some factors may be dependent on commitment to purchase tickets in advance.

Nanny Dinner. One of the most popular and successful regular events outside of a monthly meeting is a monthly Nanny Dinner. You could meet at a restaurant, same or different place each time, but usually the same night: third Thursday of the month or another designated day. If you attract a larger crowd, more than 8, you need to call ahead to a restaurant just to make sure that you can get seating all together. Leaving this as flexible as you can also encourages nannies to drop in if it works out for them. There is no guilt associated with having to say you are coming, and then not being able to get off work in time. Dinners can also be followed by an optional karaoke bar visit by other nannies that do not need to retire at a reasonable hour.
Movie Matinees If you have a member who enjoys movies, they may choose to host a regular movie matinee each month. Members can RSVP by a certain time, and decide on the movie in advance.

Holiday Parties Christmas, Valentine's Day, Labor Day, Memorial Day, and any other holidays can be celebrated at the monthly meetings, as a Theme, or at a party arranged for a separate date.

Group Anniversary You may choose to celebrate the anniversary of your group's formation, either as one of the monthly themes at a regular meeting, or as an event arranged for a separate date.

Group Birthday Party You may choose to have a collective birthday party for your members. Everyone can bring a gift, and then receive one in turn. There are several ideas for birthday parties which may translate beautifully to your party, such as goodie bags: NJNN has each member bring 20 of a small carnival-type goodie, and a bag which starts with a few group-sponsored candies is quickly filled by imaginative gifts from each member.

NNRW Celebration Every year, your group could commemorate National Nanny Recognition Week with a picnic or a party. Families, agencies, nannies, charges alike can be included.
Community Service Nanny groups have the opportunity to serve their community in different ways. These can be suggested and chosen by different members; you can also meet a specific local need if you see fit. These activities may be done at a monthly meeting, or may need a commitment to attend another time and place. You may be inventive, and provide old-fashioned Tupperware party fun while raising money for an agreed-upon charity.
Wrap presents at Christmastime at Borders for NAN
Answer kids' letters to Santa, letters and response materials provided by the post office
Make handmade valentines for local disadvantaged children's organizations
Volunteer at your local PBS telethons. Or, everyone can contribute to the group being a supporter of your local PBS station, and have a drawing for the incentive prize.

Member-Hosted Events Members usually will have an event that they enjoy, that they would like to invite other nannies to. If it is appropriate for the whole group to go, a group-wide invitation may be extended. At other times, there may be limitations in group number or commitment needed to make reservations or purchase tickets. A Member can then become the Host for the event, make all arrangements necessary, extend the invitation, follow up on whatever needs to be done, and contact the members who are attending to make travel or other arrangements. If an event is proposed and no one can come, the event may be cancelled or the Host Member may attend alone, as they might have previously planned.

Playgroup Picnics An annual nanny/charge picnic is a wonderful way to kick off your playgroup, celebrate it, advertise it, and to recruit new members for the nanny group.

Providing Educational Opportunities
There are many topics that would be of interest to nannies; not all of them are job-related. As a nanny support group, you need to be flexible enough to give the kind of support that your particular members need. You can depend on your members to express interest in a speaker, and to propose what topic they would most like to hear.

If you have several first-year nannies as members, you could have workshops on general aspects of the job:
Communication Privacy Issues
Resumes Nanny Work Agreements (Contracts)
Nutrition Health
Book Discussion Groups Community Involvement Opportunities

CPR Every nanny needs to remain current on their CPR certification. Every two years, nannies need to take the class again and renew their cards. This is a perfect group activity, and it benefits nannies on the most basic level of job requirements.

Nanny Day Offering special short-term workshops or nanny education days can attract many nannies to your group, especially if you receive help from local businesses and agencies to help finance it so that nannies can attend free or for a nominal fee.

If you have seasoned professional nannies, you may branch out into having speakers for other topics:
Marketing Yourself as a Professional
Resume Portfolios
Job Searching for Long-Term Career Nannies

You may be in a location that offers you several opportunities for free speakers. There may be workshops or educational opportunities that agencies are prepared to offer, whenever nannies show an interest. Libraries may be able to provide you a list of speakers who speak to any group who asks, on a wide variety of subjects. There may be such a list on file at your local town hall or governmental center.

You could also designate a member in your group to be Educational Liaison. This person would contact several places in the local area where classes/workshops are available, that would be of interest to nannies in general and to your members in specific, as expressed in questionnaires.

Corporation and Tax-Exempt Status: Business Structure for the Group
You may choose to get an Employer Identification Number for your group, so you can open a checking account.

If you collect dues or hold fundraisers, you might need to pay taxes unless you have non-profit status. Some of the benefits of non-profit status are discounts on speakers, meeting locations, and events. If gross receipts are less than a certain amount, you automatically claim non-profit status. Without the letter from the government, you can't get the benefits.

You may choose to get a tax identification number; this can also help you open a checking account. You must research what your local, state, and federal tax responsibilities are in either of these two cases. It could be that you will have no tax liability if you use any money you collect from dues or fundraising, for your own group.

Contact these organizations and have them send non-profit packets:
Secretary of State (first time charity & registration packet)
IRS 1023 forms
Attorney General (articles of incorporation forms)
IRS for EIN number for SS4
Approximate Costs:
$250 for IRS
$35 for articles
$50 for Attorney General

With a non-profit letter from the Attorney General, you may be exempt from end-of-year state taxes. Apply for TA 1 form after you obtain your letter of exemption. If you are a non-profit group, you can be good for tax-deductible contributions. Gaining non-profit status will help you build for the future, laying a solid foundation for your organization that can help it survive for several years. You may also choose to incorporate; you may consult a local law firm or school, who might have a community service program in place to help you.

Non-profit links:
An internet company that will help you, for a fee :

AFFILIATIONS: Dealing with Nanny Agencies and other organizations
Members in each nanny support group should vote on their policies for dealing with agencies. Many nannies feel that a nanny support group meeting cannot include agency personnel, because of the need for nannies to have a place to vent and speak freely about issues in their jobs or lives. A nanny support group meeting should be a SAFE place for nannies to come.
Other nannies feel that agencies are very important to the group. Some agencies are willing to promote or support the nanny group, providing a space for the meetings and spreading news to the newest nannies placed in the area. Agencies may feel they should receive something in return for this; it is important to determine with each agency how they feel about this issue, and make sure there are no misunderstandings.

If you decide that agency personnel can be welcome at one or more meetings, you should determine what you would allow. Some of the criteria could be:
Agencies should not be allowed to tell about jobs at the meetings.
They are not allowed to bring families who are looking for a nanny to the meetings.
They can be allowed to network with the nannies during the social time of the meetings.
They can leave literature on the table for people to pick up.

Compromises can be proposed: Agencies can be present at an event that they sponsor, and limited advertisement can be agreed upon for that instance. Agencies can buy ads in the newsletters, if the nanny group is willing to sell space, thereby providing a way for the newsletter to support itself.

Once you have established your regular meetings criteria, you may choose to write a professional letter to all local nanny agencies, introducing your group and asking for support. Agencies can be instrumental in distributing a local welcome packet to their new nannies or prospective nannies. You may wish for them to merely distribute a brochure about the group, that advertises this welcome packet, and the nanny can send for it if she chooses.

You could ask agencies for their support, but maybe not for their money. There are other things agencies can do, besides distribute support group literature to new and placed nannies. They can include information about the group in their newsletters, and they can sponsor educational events.

You can return a favor for an agency that is distributing your welcome packets by offering to yearly distribute their information packets to your members. The agencies may sometimes protect the privacy of their clients and nannies, and you can protect the privacy of your members if need be, by asking the agency to provide a certain number of packets, which you can then address and send to your members.

You may have a special membership to offer to agencies: You may offer them a mention on your website or small ad in every newsletter.

You may offer them a listing in a special supporter issue of the newsletter, or a special published directory of your sponsors, pointing out that you make this available to people who are calling for help and information. NAN offers a list of agencies in the area, but does not promote any specifically. If in the agency list, you can mention that an agency SUPPORTS your group, a family or nanny may choose them over the rest of the list. It is possible to win agency support by using peer pressure: i.e. "X" agency is already supporting us. When you have many agency sponsors, you can avoid having a too-close relationship with any one agency.

Agency Liaison You may find it necessary to appoint an officer from the group to be the liaison between the group and agencies. This person can handle all correspondence and contact with the agencies. It may be necessary to appoint seasoned nannies to an advisory board, and offer their extensive experience to agencies that might have questions for nannies.

Other affiliates may be payroll services, insurance companies, or other nanny industry professionals who offer a special service to nannies, or any other nanny or child-related business.

There may come a time when you want to work with an education-oriented organization such as the PTA or a Preschool Association from the local school.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Spotlight on Nanny Alliance of NY & NJ

This week we introduce you to Nanny Alliance of NY & NJ. With many nannies in the Northern NJ and NY area, Nanny Alliance is a vital part of the nanny group community. Founder Andrea Flagg shares some details about her group, and invites any nanny in the area to contact them to find out more or join them at an event.

Contacts~Andrea Flagg/ Denise Blackford / Megan Taylor

Do you charge dues?
Yes, $15 per year. All dues collected go toward group expenses and enable us to donate to nanny organizations and charities. Group members can do certain things throughout the year to gain a FREE year's membership-or a few months additional membership. (i.e.- host or help out at an event, website design, newsletter, etc. We also offer a year's membership as a raffle prize.)

What is unique about your group?
We take pride in the accomplishments we have achieved no matter how big or small. For example:
*Empowering a nanny to speak up for herself
*Sharing resources to help a nanny in her job or to locate a new position
*Educating parents about hiring a qualified nanny
*Hosting CPR/1st Aid certification classes
*Helping nannies to find new friends in their area
*Collecting items for donations for charities
We don't have an "official board" or a “President/Vice President” that runs the group, as everyone seemed more comfortable having a laid back atmosphere without any "official/mandatory meetings". Therefore, all members have a say in the group. We do not have any set requirements or obligations; everyone can participate as little or as much as they desire, as we want the group to be one that all members can enjoy at their own pace.
We try to accommodate every one's interests and plan events throughout the year that will appeal to everyone, at one time or another. We understand some may prefer to gather for a meal, and chit-chat or a movie and some others would prefer to do an out-doorsy/physical day long activity. We realize the importance of planning events all over the Tri-State NY/NJ area so it's never too far for anyone to travel. We also have car-pools and pick up/drop off at train/bus stations so our events are accessible to everyone.

What membership benefits to you provide?
Group Message Board
• Connect w/ Nanny Member
• Advice/Support
• Network
• Q & A~Social Gatherings
• Dining
• Outdoor Activities
• Cultural Events
• Entertainment
• Childcare Articles
• Group Updates
• Nanny Industry News
~Educational Opportunities
• Childcare Workshops
• CPR and 1st Aid Classes
• Conferences
~Job Search Recommendations
• Agencies
• Online Sources
~Portfolio Development
• Resume
• Personal Statement
• Essential Info
• Resources
• Links

What would you like others to know about your group?
Our group members are very diverse. All ages and stages in their nanny career. We get along well, as we all have the bond of being "nannies."

Can businesses / industry services support your group?
We truly appreciate anyone's offer to help our group.Nanny Alliance of NY & NJ's focus is to create a stronger nanny community. Therefore, we have four opportunities we make available:

1.) Invite Nanny Alliance of NY & NJ to attend any presentations, seminars or educational training classes an agency/business would like to host. We send an e-mail newsletter to all the nannies in our group and also have a Message Board and would be happy to list any events you would like to invite our group to take part in. (We kindly ask that we receive at least 2 months advance notice.)
2.) Sign up your nannies for membership with Nanny Alliance of NY & NJ. If you would like to sponsor any of the nannies you place in our area, we welcome you to sign them up as members of our group.
3.) Donate a Raffle Prize for one of our events.
4.) Sponsor one of our special events. We host several "special events" throughout the year, and appreciate the assistance of local nanny placement agencies and other businesses involved in the nanny industry who would like to sponsor a portion of the meal costs.

In return for sponsoring a "special event", Nanny Alliance of NY & NJ will:
*Distribute your agencies brochures and promotional items at the event.
*Welcome you to send in articles for our newsletters.
*Create a special THANK YOU page on our website and in our newsletter, listing your business information and logo.
*Pass on your job openings to the nannies in our group via our Message Board.
If we all unite we can create a stronger, more educated nanny community!