Building and Maintaining Momentum
One of the biggest challenges facing women’s committees is building and maintaining momentum. Here are some tips to make and keep your committee active and productive:
- Work on issues your members care about. The accompanying survey can be useful in determining interests.
- Make sure projects are attainable, and keep them short-term until the committee has established a record of success. Publicize success—it will attract volunteers for the next project.
- Be productive at meetings: transact business, make decisions, review past work, plan new action. People will be more committed to action that has been agreed to at a meeting than they would be to vague and unfocused plans. Besides they won’t keep coming to meetings unless they accomplish something.
- Make sure your meetings are interesting and include time for informal discussion.
- Invite union leaders to meetings. Members want to hear directly from them, and to make sure that their own views are carried to higher levels.
- Encourage women to take on tasks they are comfortable with—whether it’s planning an activity, chairing a subcommittee, or making phone calls to invite others to join the group. As they feel comfortable, ask them to take on new responsibilities.
- Provide many ways for women to get involved. Your committee can, for example, distribute surveys, circulate petitions, staff an information table, lobby public officials, run educational programs or recruit others, for example.
- Recognize good work and reward it. Commend active supporters at meetings, express appreciation in person and through thank-you letters, and mention committee members in union publications.
- Publicize your victories. Let everyone know when you make progress—including your members, your union leadership, and the AFSCME Women’s Rights Department.
- Keep a high profile. Sponsor an awards dinner to recognize outstanding contributions of women in your workplace or community. Or hold a women’s breakfast at your union’s convention or conference.
- Don’t let the committee get stale. Bring in new members with enthusiasm and fresh ideas. The new members will energize everyone.