HSA Unit FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions About HSA Units

Interested in joining an HSA Unit?
Why not visit during a unit meeting, meet the unit members, introduce yourself and see how you like it? However, you are not obligated to join them if you don't wish to – you may simply join as an MAL. Naturally, if there are no units located near you, membership as an MAL is your option.

Must someone be associated with a unit to be a member of HSA?
Membership in a unit is not a requirement for membership in HSA – we have many active members-at-large. However, membership in a unit can be a rewarding experience as unit members work together on educational programs and special projects within their community.

Do unit members receive different benefits from members at large?
All HSA members receive the same benefits, whether they are unit members or members-at-large.

What are the benefits of becoming a unit?
Being a unit of HSA offers both tangible and potential benefits. They include:
    •  The option to obtain liability coverage under the national organization’s insurance policy
​    •  Access to resources to help you manage and grow the unit
​    •  Involvement in a well-known and well-respected national organization
​    •  Participation in HSA’s marketing and outreach efforts, both through our website and national
​       media coverage
​    •  Access to the HSA community of units with whom to share program ideas and discuss issues such as
       membership, fundraising, writing newsletters or maintaining a public garden

What is the relationship between units and the national organization?
Units may have separate dues, policies, activities and membership requirements. Units are, however, required to adhere to the HSA mission statement and general policies of HSA.

Units participate in decisions regarding the national organization through their district membership delegate. The Herb Society of America is organized into seven geographic districts. All members – unit members and members at large – are represented on the board of directors through the membership delegate, who is elected from within the district by district members.

What are the requirements of being a unit of HSA?
Each unit must support HSA’s mission, which reads: The Herb Society of America is dedicated to promoting the knowledge, use and delight of herbs through educational programs, research and sharing the experience of its members with the community

Unit by-laws must be consistent with HSA’s by-laws
    •  The unit membership policy must contain a nondiscriminatory clause, i.e. prohibiting discrimination on the
​        basis of race, religion, gender, national origin, age, disability, veteran, marital status, sexual preference or
​        any other reason prohibited by law
    •  Each member of the unit must also be a member of the national organization
    •  Each unit must follow the annual reporting requirements and submit national dues and a membership
​        roster on a timely basis

Does a unit have to support a public garden or hold symposia?
No…units may undertake any projects or programs that they find of interest, although HSA does encourage units to offer public educational programs (and provides resources for doing so).

Does a unit have to be a 501(c)(3) organization?
No…incorporating your unit as a tax-exempt organization is a unit decision. The national office can provide additional information on the benefits and requirements for obtaining tax-exempt status. Many states do require that you register as a non-profit entity. Please check with your state Attorney General for additional information and requirements.

What is HSA’s policy on medicinal herbs?
While many members of The Society are interested in the ethnobotany, history and use of medicinal plants, The Herb Society of America does not advise, recommend or prescribe herbs for medicinal use.

However, members may discuss, study, and conduct educational programs on the health benefits or medicinal use of herbs.

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