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Forming A "Friends of the Vietnam Learning Association" Affiliate

Thank you for your interest in volunteering for the Vietnam Learning Association! There are many ways you can help us with our mission and forming a local Affiliate is one of them.

Before you begin planning though, make sure you contact us so we can offer advice and tell you if anyone else in your area is already in the planning stages. Established Affiliates will be listed on our Volunteer webpage and under our Job Postings page. If one is already in your area you should work with them on expanding that group.

What is a “Friends of the Vietnam Learning Association” Affiliate?

The primary function of a “Friends of the Vietnam Learning Association” Affiliate is fundraising. Without the generous contributions of our donors we cannot fufill our mission in Vietnam. The most effective fundraising occurs when individuals are approached with a good cause on a personal level. Friends and coworkers are always more receptive to ideas from people they know already, and oftentimes your friends will already share interests with you and want to support the same causes you do.

Affiliates organize local volunteers for most of the same activities that the main VLA does. You may need help updating webpages, or hosting fundraisers, or getting out into the community to connect with potential donors and help spread the word about the work the VLA is doing.


If you’re thinking about forming an Affiliate you should ask yourself these questions:

  1. Why do I want to form my own group?

Maybe it’s simple distance and you feel that geographically you cannot work well with the central organization; this is the most likely answer, but there can be others.

  1. Do I have the ability to ask people for money?

That sounds blunt because it’s meant to. If you feel shy about asking people to give you money you will need to remember that this is the most important role of an Affiliate; “Making the Ask”. The way it is done is up to personal style and tends to change with the group being asked, and with the situation in which you’re asking. We go into more details on this in our information on hosting a fundraising event.

  1. Who will I be approaching to support the VLA?

Do you have an intended audience to start with? Are you a musician who wants to build support among other musicians in your area? A mother with a strong interest in funding the construction of libraries to help children?

  1. Am I the sort of person who can motivate others?

Are you highly social? Do you have an easy time getting people to go along with your ideas? Are you relaxed and at ease in large groups, being the center of attention? That’s good, because that kind of personality would make you an ideal fundraiser and leader of an Affiliate. We can’t all be Marilyn Monroe, but we also shouldn’t be Howard Hughes. All the good intentions in the world won’t help if you cannot convince other people to follow your lead.

  1. Do I have a unique vision that I can express by working with the VLA?

This is more often the case than not. Perhaps you see yourself forming your own non-profit in the future, or want to work in a paid position for a large commercial non-profit. The experience or running your own Affiliate could be a stepping stone. Or maybe you have an interest in a specific area the VLA works in; eye exams and glasses, children’s reading rooms, women’s health, or agriculture. You may end up forming a highly specialized Affiliate. Like a group of eye doctors who only raise money for eye exams and glasses supplied by the libraries. Don’t be afraid to bring your own passion and visions to the VLA with you.


Think of this page as a worksheet to help you begin focusing your thoughts and deciding what it is you want to do for the Vietnam Learning Association.


Vietnam Learning Association
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