AAUW Members: Socially Distant But Still In Touch & Branch Board Outreach

AAUW Members: Socially Distant But Still In Touch by Bonnie Penix

Distance — a word so often used right now. Physical distancing, social distancing. We agree with the first, not so much with the second. It seems, perhaps, even more important these days to connect intellectually, emotionally, and socially. Membership in AAUW is a perfect vehicle for that.

How so?

Meet other educated, dynamic women. Network to find new jobs, opportunities, friends. Support our mission of improving equity for women in the workplace, in education, and in work-life balance. Promote individual and social justice. Join interest groups — there are many — for friendship and fun.

Let’s grow our membership. Reach out with email or a phone call to those you know from your book groups, place of employment, neighborhood, school, organizations to which you belong. Invite them to attend our Fall Showcase with you on Saturday, Sept. 12. Help us build relationships and our branch. The collective is stronger than the individual. Remember, we also have a dues assistance program, and a dues discount for joining at a public event such as on September 12.

So let’s decrease distance — the social distance.  Zoom into AAUW, and grow together.

Branch Board Reaches Out to Membership During Covid-19 Stay-at-Home By Liz Jordan

At the April 6 board meeting, members of the board suggested that we might need to check on our branch members.  We knew we were cancelling the popular Author’s Luncheon, a good time to see fellow AAUW members and friends.  So, we created a script so the callers would know what kinds of things to be sure to discuss, such as the membership renewal process that changed this year.

Twelve board members volunteered to call and each was assigned about 12-15 members to call.  Jane Cooley, our Sunshine chair, reached out and called everyone in her zip code, surprising all of us.  During the last week of April and the first week of May, we tried to call every branch member.  When a member didn’t answer her phone, messages were left on answering machines and many members returned those calls.  Past President Molly Dugan volunteered with a small group of helpers to run errands for members who might need some extra help.

The response to the program seemed to be universally positive.  The phone callers reported back what they heard:

  • “I appreciate the phone call … I have been a member of AAUW for years—I am so proud to be a member, it is my ‘touchstone.’”
  • One member lamented her book group was not meeting due to lack of understanding and skill in using a computer.
  • Another member is taking this time to learn to play an instrument.  We called one member who mentioned she was stuck in another state waiting out the stay-at-home orders.

The board members who made the calls said:

  • “What a pleasant and enjoyable task!”
  • “This was a really good experience!!”
  • “Definitely a worthwhile endeavor we should probably do more often.”
  • “I got as much out of the calls as they (members I called) did.”

Seems like there are a few silver linings to this very difficult time.