North Carolina Branch Without Borders

Reposted from www.aauwnc.org:

Doris Bernlohr and Nancy Shoemaker are moving forward to create the North Carolina “branch without borders.” This branch will have

  • minimal structure
  • dues that approximate those that an at-large member of AAUW NC would pay
  • a program that may involve projects in different areas of the state, but which will not be “meeting” based

Who would join such a branch? Those who want to support our mission and get the benefits of AAUW membership, but

  • who live far from the nearest community based branch or
  • whose lives are such that a community based branch is not a good fit

Why would such members join this branch, instead of just joining AAUW at the national level?

  • To connect to the state organization to
    • get advocacy information about what’s going on in Raleigh, not just DC
    • support AAUW NC’s coalition partners such as NC Women United, NC Voters for Clean Elections, and the NC Coalition on Aging
    • get all AAUW NC publications and the information about state projects and the efforts of the community based branches
    • get access to the member section of the AAUW NC web site with directories of AAUW leaders across the state
  • and to connect to AAUW members near them
    • With access to the branch roster, members in towns or on campuses where there is no branch can find each other and perhaps organize an occasional event or project using AAUW’s name (e.g.. take an issue to the local school board, march as AAUW in the local MLK Day parade).
    • Community-based branches will be able to contact these members about special events and issues

Think of the women (and men!) that you’ve tried and failed to recruit to AAUW. Would the conversation had ended differently if you’d been able to offer them the option of the “branch without borders”?

This branch structure follows a model from Montana, and was discussed in North Carolina in 2007 when we changed the AAUW NC bylaws to say that AAUW NC could provide special support to one branch. This new branch will claim that special support and its bylaws will reflect that there may be some functions where the branch will request help from the state board. [The proposed bylaws for AAUW do, however, decrease the number of requirements AAUW places on branches and so by 2009 this branch may need less “help” from the state.]

The next steps:

  • Discuss this at the AAUW NC board meeting on Friday, July 25, and get agreement in principle that starting a such a branch is a good thing.
  • Recruit at least 15 charter members. These may be members of other branches who would be “dual” members of this branch, current at-large members of the Association, or new members. (For those who are not already members of AAUW NC, we’ll collect an amount that will make them individual members (or student affiliates) of AAUW NC — $62 for those new to AAUW, $11 for members joining AAUW NC for the first time, $17 for new student affiliates.)
  • The charter members agree on a name (Tar Heel? Long Leaf Pine? Mountain to Sea? or just “Branch Without Borders”?) and formally petition the state board for its approval.
  • Once approved, move forward with completing the bylaws and communicating the benefits of branch membership to members-at-large and others who may want to join or who may, even if they do not join, may help recruit members for this special branch.
  • As the spirit moves, the members of the branch can then start using AAUW’s name in projects — Doris has already said she’d like to organize a bus to take members to the AAUW 2009 convention in St. Louis, an appropriate project for a “state wide” branch.

If you’d like to be part of the initial team, please contact Nancy or Doris. (You can reach them at info@bwob.aauwnc.org.) Instructions for joining will be posted shortly (after the board meeting).

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