How to learn to listen?

We had an interesting dinner at my house last night — did get the required two contacts elected for next year.


Let’s define “hard core member” as “life member or someone who has served on the state or national board in the last 10 years”

At the meeting we had

  • 10 hard core (2 who met both criteria)
  • 2 others

In the branch we have

  • 15 hard core
  • 20 others

So we’re facing not just the challenge that AAUW is so many different things to different people, but also that the group that coalesces to make decisions about the branch may share some underlying assumptions that may not have been articulated to the members who are new or who aren’t active.

Personally, I’m making my bet on the Tar Heel Branch, but there are those who want the community-based branch to succeed. If you have strategies, surveys, or other ways to elicit “what do branch members want” from the silent majority of members, do pass them along.


Okay, I hate robocalls as much as the next person, but I just became aware of the service Simple Blast – an affordable way to send a recorded message to phone numbers.

Since the community I serve includes many without Internet access, I’m wondering if this would be a welcome option. Years ago, we maintained “dial a message” accounts, and people could call in to get updates. That’s still possible, of course, but puts the motivation on the individuals which is problematic, especially if the news isn’t distributed on a relatively frequent, regular schedule.

  • So what applications would you see for this kind of service? Reminders on meetings? Public policy alerts? General e-newsletter summaries?
  • What opt-in procedures would you use before putting someone on a call list?
  • How large would the list be before you’d be tempted to use this service (rather than spending the time to make the much more welcome personal calls)?
  • What other questions should be considered before using such a service?

Thanks, all! Facebook and comments are welcome.

How do we share our good ideas…

I had a letter to the editor published in the Fall, 1996 Outlook responding to an article in the previous issue announcing the launch of

My point was that should list branch home pages (there were a few out there) “to encourage sharing of information among geographically dispersed branches by enabling position papers, project plans, and program ideas to be available online.”

I’ve tried to implement that vision from the “information sharing” side — see, for example,

However, it wasn’t until this spring that a full project description took shape — see

On the other hand, I really don’t think that’s sufficient. Other ways to share ideas include the branch/state recognition programs (where the info really reaches very few), newsletters, displays at conventions (“Taste of Success”), state/regional/national visits to branches to pick up and pass along ideas, inter-branch meetings (and conventions) where people can simply talk to each other…

This posting was prompted because the Association is dropping the state recognition program (apparently focusing on its “award” value and ignoring its information sharing component) as of July 1, 2007. While that program was certainly flawed, I’m wondering what else could replace it. If you’re not familiar with the state application (and how much info can be crammed into it), see the AAUW NC 2006 application.