Proposed Bylaws Changes

By now you have received a ballot from AAMFT asking you to make an informed decision about the bylaws proposal. If you were a member in 2015, this information will look familiar. It is similar, but there are some important differences and clarifications we'd like to bring to your attention.

What does this change do?
This change eliminates the mandatory two-tiered dues structure. Currently, when you join AAMFT, you are mandated to also join WAMFT if you reside in Wisconsin. This bylaws change will make it optional for members to join anything other than AAMFT. Members can choose to join groups called Interest Networks as ad-ons to their membership with AAMFT.


Wait, What's an Interest Network?

An Interest Network is a group of MFTs that has a shared goal. In Wisconsin, our membership is passionate about what happens within our state; legislatively, educationally, and culturally. Because of this, a Geographic Interest Network would be a good fit for our membership. A Geographic Interest Network chooses what services they provide their members, such as conferences, advocacy, an online forum, or newsletters.  Interest networks can also coalesce around topics. For example, if a group of AAMFT members are passionate about trauma-informed therapy, they can form a Trauma-Informed Interest Network that other interested AAMFT members can then pay to join. Each Interest Network decides what services they will offer to their members and sets their prices accordingly.

How would WAMFT Become an Interest Network?

Should the bylaws vote pass, WAMFT would submit an Interest Network Application to AAMFT's Interest Network Committee (INC). The INC would review the application and decide whether to approve or deny the plan.  This process is projected to take about 6 weeks, and would begin on or after September 1st 2017.  Upon the INC's approval, WAMFT leadership would work with AAMFT staff to finalize the transition of marketing, communications efforts, and contracts for our geographic interest network.

Will we lose our lobbyist if the bylaws proposal passes?

No. AAMFT has reassured us multiple times that our current lobbyist will continue to be available to our members. Wisconsin members of the Family TEAM would work with our lobbyist to continue the work currently being handled by legislative committee members of the WAMFT Board. Regardless of whether an Interest Network is formed in Wisconsin, the advocacy efforts we currently employ will remain here and all AAMFT members can become part of the Family TEAM for free.

Why aren't we considering an "Independent Affiliate" option?

For divisions that are financially robust and can guarantee to have at least 350 members, they can form an Independent Affiliate, which is similar to how the state divisions currently operate. They are seen as separate legal entities with full Boards and governance units, and they focus on advocacy and networking. Due to WAMFT's membership numbers and historical financial data, that is not an option for this board.

Why is WAMFT encouraging members to vote Yes?

Your Board has been reading through years' worth of records of the division, and consuming much more data collected by AAMFT as they've researched professional organization structures in the past 9+ years. It's been a difficult journey where sometimes our hearts didn't want to believe the data. But a few facts have become clear and indisputable:

- The 2015 bylaws proposal narrowly failed nationally and in the Canadian Provinces. The majority of voters supported the proposal.

- The 2015 bylaws proposal had a clear majority support in Wisconsin.

- WAMFT's currently healthy financial records do not reflect the past five years' worth of deficit spending.

- If the current structure does not change, it is projected that AAMFT will sustain a loss of 35% of its members in the next five years.

- The current structure silos members by state instead of expanding by interest, which is where passion meets profession.

- Advocacy needs are outpacing the organization's current resources that are being put into supporting struggling divisions.

What Are the Benefits to a One-Tier Structure?

By supporting the bylaws proposal, you're supporting a focus on stronger advocacy to defend our rights as MFTs, honoring our members' wide-ranging interests by bringing us together across state lines, and creating a flexible structure that better supports a changing member base and future. Additionally, with a one-tier structure, AAMFT would approve Continuing Education (CE), and so the CEs that you earn would be transferrable over state lines.

We cannot tell you how to vote; you have every right to choose to vote no. We as your Board do feel confident that this proposal creates opportunities for growth that our system currently cannot provide. If the vote does not pass, we will continue to be your Board and work on your behalf to protect the rights of Wisconsin MFTs and connect members in a fiscally responsible way.

Thank you for your time and your continued passion.

WAMFT Board of Directors


For more information:

AAMFT Strategic plan


Contact AAMFT if you did not receive your voting materials via email or postal mail.