DAR emphasizes both personal and professional benefits to becoming a member. Like most social organizations, DAR provides opportunities to meet new people with similar interests. In addition to an enthusiasm for social networking, DAR members have an invested interest in philanthropy -- many of the organization's activities focus on service. Most of these service projects concentrate on helping youth and aiding historic preservation and conservation.
Professional benefits in DAR are also a consideration for many members. Women can take advantage of leadership opportunities as an officer or committee chair of various initiatives and projects.
DAR chapters are governed by bylaws. These bylaws structure the goals, business and public image of the organization. In particular, members must keep in mind these important points:
- DAR is a nonpolitical organization, so members cannot lobby at any government level on behalf of the group. Members may also not endorse candidates or contribute to a political party if they are doing it in the name of the organization. According to president general Linda Gist Calvin, "Each member, chapter, and state society is cautioned to refrain from any activity performed in the name of DAR that might be construed as political."
- The president general is the official spokesperson for the society and the only person who may make statements on policies to the media.
- Members must follow the DAR dress code when they are wearing the official DAR insignia, or membership pin. Dress for DAR chapter meetings varies from business dress to casual, depending on the type of meeting being conducted.
- Annual dues must be paid, otherwise a woman can be dropped from national membership. She can reinstate at any time (for a small fee and payment of annual dues).
- Members' behavior must reflect the ideals of DAR. Calvin emphasizes that members are rarely kicked out and that expulsion is a tightly controlled procedure, governed by national society bylaws to the letter.
Next, we'll learn about the historical significance of the DAR headquarters.