Social Media and Municipal Alliance Committees (MAC)

A Primer on Municipal Alliance Committees

For those New Jersey residents still unfamiliar with Municipal Alliance Committees, (according to a State of New Jersey brochure) they are local planning and coordinating bodies established in all of New Jersey’s 21 counties to “assess needs, set priorities, develop plans and implement programs that form the foundation of New Jersey’s substance abuse prevention activities.” New Jersey’s Municipal Alliances provide over 3,800 prevention programs statewide.

The state brochure on MACs further goes on to describe the makeup of Municipal Alliance Committees established by the local governing body and made up of volunteer “appointees representing a broad cross section of stakeholders in the community.” Alliance committee members include representatives from the governing body, education, health, law enforcement, civic, religious, and business organizations. From the inception of the Municipal Alliances, community volunteers have been the backbone of the program and they are parents, coaches, peer leaders, youth, seniors and others.

The Beauty of Social Media: Great Reach at No/Low Cost

Recently, some 150 concerned Mahwah parents learned how to talk to their kids about cyber-bullying, sexting, video bullying, and other adolescent online interactions at a Thursday night seminar sponsored by the Mahwah (NJ) Municipal Alliance. The Alliance got the word about the seminar on their Website (mahwahalliance.org) and through the local media as well as several mainstream and regional Social Media platforms/outlets such as AOL’s Patch.com for the Mahwah area.

Social Media works to help municipal alliance committees understand what they can do to get their message out and how their messages can be found. Online platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and dedicated Blogs are increasingly being used by community groups to enhance communication with community members and other key stakeholders including federal, state and local governing representatives.

Social media really gives financially strapped municipal alliances the opportunity to reach their target audiences for little or no cost. It is a great tool to broadcast their events and activities. It is also an incredible resource for learning from and collaborating with other municipal alliances and nonprofit groups working towards similar community goals. After all, why keep re-inventing the wheel, if we can all work together to make it roll better on a much smoother road surface? Municipal Alliances must strive to get everyone involved, especially the parents and teachers of the at-risk kids they need to reach and help.

Using feedback from members of the community is a great way to make them feel like they are a part of the municipal alliance and its programs. Never before has this been remotely possible. Now it is possible to involve people, remotely – through the Web-based tools of Social Media.

Social Media’s I/O – Input/Output

Another reason that Municipal Alliances go online is to be where the kids they are trying to protect from harm are most often found. Participating on the Web offers Alliance coordinators and members a portal into and necessary insights regarding the problematic exchanges often taking place between some children and their peers (as well as with potential child stalkers and exploiters) through Social Media. It is not coincidental that on the Mahwah Municipal Alliance website is a Today Show interview with Mahwah police Chief James Batelli regarding this same issue:

For those who were unable to view the original broadcast, it now permanently resides on the Alliance’s Website and can be viewed at any time. Word of the video’s existence on the Website and/or the video, itself, can easily be “pushed out” to the residents embedded within a digital newsletter or via E-mail blast. This is yet another example how Social Media is being used by Municipal Alliances to reach out to greater numbers of community residents and educate them about topics of interest – when they are conveniently available.

Never before the age of Social Media has constructive two-way communication with the community been possible. And, Municipal Alliances throughout New Jersey are availing themselves of these technologies and the greater benefits they yield.

Purchasing Options Available For Group Health Insurance Plans

It is a common tendency with all small business owners to look around and continuously search for efficient ways that can help them cut on the business costs. So when it comes insuring the employees of the company, there are a few variant options available out there other than the traditional group health insurance plans. After all, these policies can be a little too costly for the small business houses that have a limited amount of liquid cash to spend. One of the most common and popular options available in this context are purchase of alliances.

Purchasing alliances which are also known as purchasing pools: These organizations are non profit in nature and are run on the basis of private ownership. This way a number of small business organizations are networked while buying the group health insurance plans together. The driving idea behind these options is the fact that the more you gather, it is always the better. As in such cases a whole lot of people are involved in the pool where they purchase the insurances and the negotiation is a lot more effective, the final rates are managed at a far more affordable state as well.

Group Health Insurance alliances in general involve three distinct parties, the alliance company, the administrator company and the health insurance providers.

The alliance company is a private company by the very form of its ownership. This company works in the favor of the interests of the small business organizations who take part in the pool for buying the group health care coverage plan. The alliance company is actually supposed to take care of all the rules and regulations and fill in the requirements for new members and decide on their eligibility as well. It’s also to a large extent responsible for negotiating the premiums and the rates with the insurance company that will be providing the coverage. Most commonly it is a local chamber of commerce of the local state agency that takes up the responsibility as an alliance company.

Coming to the administrator company this is a unit that is supposed to deal with the regular management duties. This is generally a company that specializes in health care administration and it is this company that gives all the directions and service instructions to the member companies.

The third category belongs to the health insurance providers who are provided by the insurance companies to the members for providing the coverage. Often these companies might contact a number of other insurance providers who may be asked to put in their offers for the pool members. This way the members are given the chance to choose from a wider range of coverage rates and plans.

The health insurance purchasing alliances are generally present in most of the states in the US, precisely where the state law allows these kinds of practices. So in case you are planning to buy any such coverage, something you need to do is first check out whether there are any such organizations in your area. You might even call in at your local Chamber of Commerce to check out if there is any valuable information that might come in handy.