Aug. 2018 Ellensburg – Panel Discussion

Three members representing a large branch, a medium-sized branch and a small branch, Mary Williams (Gig Harbor Branch), Dale Spears (Port Townsend Branch) and I, met in person and online to organize our panel presentation.  We tackled the weighty subject of Public Policy Objectives and Mission Based Programming!  We wanted to share how we do this in our three very different-sized branches located in Eastern and Western Washington.  This is what we presented at the Leadership Conference. [click here to print/download presentation slides… Part 1…
Part 2…]

After each presentation, and to encourage leadership skills in the participants, we divided them into small groups and asked them to share how they dealt with the following branch issues. Here is a summary of some of the fabulous ways in which inventive members strive to be proactive in Public Policy Objectives and Mission Based Programming all over the state. We hope they will inspire your branch to adopt or adapt some of these ideas!

1. How can AAUW Branches coordinate public outreach and education with local organizations to broaden the reach of our mission?

• Partner with elementary schools for Math, Reading, Computers
• Attend local school award ceremonies and appear briefly to give publicity to local branch efforts to support school community (Tech Trek, scholarships, etc.)
• Public Forums, like on the “Deeper in Debt: Women and Student Loans” Report or hosting a Candidates Night
• Partner with local community colleges
• Middle Schools: reaching out to 7th grade teachers to nominate girls for Tech Trek
• High School scholarships
• Local Woman of Excellence: nomination from the community for a woman that has made a difference in the community, with 3 letters of recommendation, publicity
• Expanding Your Horizons (EYH) for students, local community college and local companies that provide STEM jobs
• Soroptimist: working with women in business and outreach to middle and high school girls for offering scholarships
• Organize local Garden Tour as a fundraiser
• Honor local immigrants in the community
• Host an event related to women’s suffrage at a local museum: centennial of the 19th Amendment is coming up in 2020!
• Join League of Women Voters on registering voters, say, at colleges or retirement communities
• Join Kiwanis on relevant events and projects to share fundraising
• Give grants to local youth organizations that empower girls
• Join local women’s film festivals

2. How does your branch target recruitment/retainment? What do you do that’s unique to recruit/retain?

• Reaching out to scholarship recipients and Tech Trek parents
• Develop a rack card
• Publicity of upcoming meetings, photos of projects posted in local paper; develop contacts with local reporters (some may have daughters in middle school)
• Attending community events, like tabling at local Farmers Markets, tabling at a Peace & Justice Fair, job fairs
• Supporting an AAUW Students Club
• Have members participate in an “Invite a Colleague” day
• Handing out business cards and developing an elevator pitch to go with it: ‘What is AAUW?’
• Do a program similar to the AAUW-WA Leadership Conference in local branch
• Reach out to AAUW National members who live in your area to attend a branch meeting
• Occasionally hold meetings at desirable locations, like historic homes, Spring teas
• Special orientation meeting for new members

3. How does your branch look for ways to adapt and change?

• Be willing to take baby steps, patience and TLC with recalcitrant members
• Interested visitors: do follow-ups with visitors interested in joining
• Having mission-based speakers for the public
• Have meetings at times when women who work can attend
• Keep up branch webpage
• Find out about and invite teacher and professor retirees
• Require every interest group in your branch to have a person in a leadership role
• Find out people’s expertise to encourage leadership roles within branch
• Transparency about politics
• Twitter feed
• Arrange seating at meetings in a different, more participatory way
• Strategic planning with a consultant

Submitted by Yvonne Berliner, Palouse-Garfield Branch