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Tar Heel News



 Vol. 50, No. 1
"Speak to the Mission"
Winter 2003



Tar Heel News

W03 issue
 Front page
 Public Policy


Membership Growth Requires A Plan

Hollie Bagley, AAUW-Maine membership vice-president submitted this article to her state publication, The BayStater. Patty Hankins at the Association asked Holly to share it. As a result, Sue Metz, AAUW NC membership vice-president has passed it on for the readers of Tar Heel News. Holly says, "The inspiration for this article was the Membership Tool Kit." She can be reached at 781 749-6274 in Hingham, Maine.

Now is the time to build membership both for next year and the future. Hold a board or branch meeting specifically to devise a strategic plan for membership development. Use the Membership Tool Kit as a guide. Set branch goals: define what you want to accomplish, be specific and quantitative, define your target markets. Plan specific actions: Identify strategies and time lines, outline specifically how you will accomplish each goal. Distribute a written copy of your membership strategic plan to every branch member.

Involve every branch member in recruitment and retention. Ask every member to submit contact information for three to five (or more) potential members to the membership vice president by August 1 so that they may be invited to the branch kick-off in September. Ask a long-time member to become a "buddy" to a new member. Organize car pools by geographic areas. Brainstorm where AAUW literature should be available and assign a group to see that the supplies are replenished. Find a way to put program announcements in PTO newsletters, teacher organization newsletters, business groups newsletters, etc. Post information about your branch and its activities on the state web site. Schedule a new member orientation. Highlight new members in the branch newsletter. Provide opportunities for new members to meet other new members. Involve new members from first contact. None of these ideas are new or earth shaking. Strategies can be simple, but together they can become a successful membership plan.

As you develop your branch membership plan, "May your sights be set on the stars, may your spirits soar up to the sky, and may your feet always be on the ground." (© Kathy Davis) I found the above quote on a card I received this week in the mail. I also received a mailing from my alma mater on the occasion of planning for its 100th anniversary. It was entitled Vision 2015: Non-Negotiables, Challenges and Opportunities. As we all ponder the Maine resolution and other resolutions for opening AAUW's membership to those not holding a baccalaureate or higher degree, let us think of our personal vision for AAUW in the year 2015. Will the branch system exist? Will AAUW exist? What will it look like? As we make our decision on the future of AAUW we must hold dear our list of non-negotiables (for me, it's our mission statement to promote equity and education for all women, lifelong learning and positive societal change), meet the challenges (to preserve all that is good about our organization while being open to change and growth), and welcome opportunities (too vast to enumerate). I urge each of you to look to the future and to choose wisely. Your organization depends on it.



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