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Planning Successful Programs

The following steps can be used to put together winning programs on many issues of concern to working women:

1. Select an issue or activity

  • Conduct a survey to determine members’ exact needs or interests (see sample survey in Appendix A)

  • Talk to leadership to get their ideas and support for proposed projects. 

  • Ask co-workers and members for their ideas and encourage them to get involved with the project. 

  • Check the list of program ideas on page 16 of this guide. 

  • Contact the AFSCME Women’s Rights Department for ideas and assistance (see resource section in Appendix D for contact information).

2. Set an objective


  • Objectives should be fairly short-term; most should take no more than six months to a year. 

  • Make sure the objective is realistic and within the scope of the committee. 

  • Get information on the issue(s); do the homework. Know the rules (contract language, union bylaws, state regulations or whatever pertains to the project). For example, if the women’s committee wants to submit resolutions to the union convention, you’ll need to know the deadlines. 

3. Make detailed plans


  • Put together a realistic timetable that lists the major steps toward completion of your project. 

  • Determine the resources you will need (people, money, time and supplies) and plan how to get them. 

4. Assign tasks to committee members


  • Be careful to put the right person on the right job. Make sure people feel comfortable about the job they are asked to do, and that they have enough people and resources to help them get it done. 

  • Keep in touch. Check progress to make sure that members have what they need. 

  • Set up a report system to make sure things are going smoothly at points along the way. Don’t assume that because you haven’t heard anything that the job is getting done. 

  • Make follow-up phone calls to increase participation. 

  • Offer a ride to someone who is interested in coming or walk to the event with them to make sure they attend.

5. Organize attendance at events


  • Be sure to focus as much on ensuring good attendance as you do on putting together a great event. 

  • Publicize your programs in union newsletters, on bulletin boards and through any other available means. Get the word out either through your steward structure or telephone trees, or both. 

  • For conferences and training programs, require participants to register in advance and possibly charge a small registration fee to help ensure their attendance.

6. Evaluate success


  • Meet with committee members to discuss what went well and what could be improved on. 

  • If you had attendees fill out an evaluation form, review the responses and see what the most common suggestions were. 

  • Make a list of what should be done differently next time. 

  • Give recognition and thanks to members who worked hard—and even those who worked a little. People need recognition for a job well done.

7. Publicize your victory


  • Make sure that everyone knows about your successful event or project. 

  • Put the news in the local and council newsletters. And talk about the committee’s work at union meetings. 

  • Write to the AFSCME Women’s Rights Department so we can share your strategies with other women’s committees. 

  • If appropriate, share news of your success with the local media.

8. Select a new project


  • Keep the momentum moving and begin the process over again.

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