In response to the need for improved, widespread public safety awareness and to assist local sheriffs in protecting the lives and property of citizens throughout Virginia, the Virginia Sheriffs’ Institute (VSI) has announced a campaign that encourages Commonwealth of Virginia residents to become Associate Members of the VSI.
Membership appeals were mailed the week of February 15, 2016. The invitations are “official business” of the VSI as a non-profit organization as it relates to its postal permit. The invitations are not intended to represent official business of a government activity. IRS documents are available for full public disclosure on the website, and the VSI is proud that the organization has met the Richmond area Better Business Bureau (BBB) standards for charitable giving.
Individuals choosing to join the voluntary program can do so for as little as $20, while businesses can show their support with a $40 contribution.
The tax-deductible contributions will assist VSI’s ability to provide families of deputies or sheriffs killed in the line of duty, in an effort to relieve personal and community distress relating to such incidents.
In addition, VSI provides essential programs to improve the training of law enforcement officers, public safety and crime prevention outreach, and desperately needed scholarships to Virginia students to pursue Criminal Justice degrees.
Residents wishing to become Associate Members can sign up for the program online at www.vasheriffsinstitute.org.
About the Virginia Sheriffs’ Institute
Founded in 1981, the Virginia Sheriffs’ Institute is a statewide law enforcement organization supported by Virginia’s Sheriffs and is registered with the Commonwealth of Virginia, Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The Virginia Sheriffs’ Institute is a non-profit, professional and educational organization dedicated to the preservation of peace and the protection of the lives and property of the citizens of Virginia. If you would like more information about VSI or its Associate Membership program, please contact Mr. John W. Jones, Executive Director at (804) 225-7152 or email [email protected].
Spring 2016 Associate Member Program Frequently Asked Questions
1. HOW IS THE ASSOCIATE AND BUSINESS MEMBERSHIP CAMPAIGN CONDUCTED IN EACH LOCALITY?
Each sheriff authorizes a letter for mailing to citizens and businesses in his/her locality inviting them to become Members of the Virginia Sheriffs’ Institute.
NO ONE IS EVER CONTACTED BY TELEPHONE! Nor is a solicitation ever conducted without the sheriff’s authorization.
Mailings are prepared for all persons on a list developed by our support team and modified to our standards.
Enclosed within the letter mailing is an easy perf-off acceptance slip and a postage-paid reply envelope which may be returned with annual dues of $20 for individual membership.
When dues are paid, new members will receive a thank you letter, bumper stickers, decals, and a subscription to our quarterly Newsletter.
2. WHAT ARE THE QUALIFICATIONS FOR ASSOCIATE MEMBERSHIP?
There is no age limit; however, the Virginia Sheriffs’ Institute does not accept convicted felons as members.
Both men and women are accepted as members, but letters of invitation are only sent to one name per household.
There are no restrictions on residence. Out-of-state citizens are welcome to join, but we are targeting only Virginia addresses. Some individuals maintain dual residences. We hope many people who tour, visit or spend any amount of time in Virginia will join.
3. WHAT HAPPENS TO THE PERSON WHO DOES NOT ACCEPT THE MEMBERSHIP INVITATION AND DOES NOT SEND IN ANY DUES?
He/she will not receive any follow-up letters or notices after this membership campaign, and is not contacted or harassed in any way. This keeps membership on an entirely voluntary basis.
4. DOES THE CAMPAIGN CREATE A LOT OF WORK IN THE SHERIFF’S OFFICE?
No. All of the work is done by the Institute headquarters and their support services including securing an appropriate list of prospective members.
A few people may bring their membership dues to the sheriff’s office instead of mailing them to the Institute. The sheriff will have to forward these to the Institute.
5. CAN THE SHERIFF ACCEPT MEMBERSHIP APPLICATIONS FROM PERSONS NOT ON THE MAILING LIST?
Certainly. If a person walks up to a sheriff and says he/she wants to become a member, they will be directed to the VSI website or be asked to complete an application and send the annual dues of $20 or more for individual membership, $40 for businesses, to the Institute. The new member will be promptly enrolled and will begin to receive all benefits shortly thereafter.
6. IF AN INDIVIDUAL OR BUSINESS JOINS THE INSTITUTE THIS YEAR, HOW WILL THE MEMBERSHIP BE RENEWED NEXT YEAR?
Next year the member will receive a request in the mail to renew his/her membership for the coming year. All mechanics of the renewal are handled by the Institute and their support services. The sheriff and his/her staff will not be bothered with the renewal process.
7. ARE ASSOCIATE AND BUSINESS MEMBERSHIP DUES DEDUCTIBLE FOR INCOME TAX PURPOSES?
Yes. The Virginia Sheriffs’ Institute is considered a non-profit tax-exempt and tax-deductible organization as established by Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. We have a determination letter on file from the IRS.