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Chapter Building and Action Strategies

AAUP Chapter Membership Drive

As in any chapter activity, the task of the membership drive is twofold: 1) to accomplish a concrete goal – for example, to increase chapter membership by a certain number, and 2) to build a stronger organization.

To begin, organize a membership committee that will establish and carry out a strategic plan.

Identify Goals: What we want to accomplish

  • Find the right balance between realism and ambition
  • Focus on clearly identified goals

Identify Resources: What assets we have to accomplish the goals

  • The people
  • The issues
  • The materials

Identify Allies: Who might help us to achieve the goals

  • Individuals or organizations which can help

Identify Targets: Whom we recruit to accomplish goals

  • Professors who are non-members
  • Recently lapsed members
  • New faculty
  • Particular communities which may be special targets

Identify Tactics: What we have to do to achieve the goals

  • The specific tasks and methods that make up the drive


Hypothetical Strategy Chart







Increase chapter membership from 25 to 150

5-person membership committee

15 volunteers who will recruit members

87-member chapter on campus

Recruiting materials from AAUP National Office

Faculty Lists



Ownership of intellectual property

State Conference

National AAUP Office

56 lapsed members on campus

100 professors hired in last two years

Faculty in all departments, colleges, institutions and programs






Issue-Targeted Population
Faculty members who develop intellectual property

Membership table during orientation

Two-person teams to solicit potential members

Receptions, breakfasts, meeting with speaker, sponsor a political forum

Chapter newsletters and web sites

Utilize campus media

Develop e-mail as communication tool

Regular committee meetings to assess progress, reallocate resources, revise targets, etc.


National AAUP provides:

  • Membership Recruiting Kit
  • Brochures

General brochure describing Association programs
Outline of membership benefits
Targeted brochures for specific audiences (community college faculty, contingent faculty, graduate students)

  • Academe – the Association’s bi-monthly journal to inform campus leaders about AAUP activities and concerns
  • The Red Book – AAUP’s Policy Documents and Reports
  • Outside Speakers
  • AAUP promotional items (pins, posters, etc.)

State Conferences Provide:

  • Conference newsletters and web pages
  • Speakers from state conference leadership
  • Members from other campuses

Together, State conference and National AAUP staff provide organizational, media, and lobbying assistance for local chapter and conference development. National AAUP staff also provides assistance in establishing payroll deduction dues payment options, and a chapter rebate program to encourage membership development.

Membership Committee

The membership committee is key to any successful membership drive. It should consist of respected active members of the AAUP, including junior faculty, and members of targeted communities. Make the committee as inclusive as possible and as representative of the various disciplines of the institution. The committee should meet and lay out a strategic plan, monitor its implementation and assess the results. The committee is also responsible for recruiting volunteers from the various disciplines to carry out the plan. The committee chair should be responsible for supervising the activities of the committee.

To carry out the plan, maximize personal contact and minimize the amount of work any one person is asked to do. One-on-one or two-on-one recruiting works best. Ensure that each recruiter has clear and explicit instructions. Select the target audience and time frame for the drive.

Basic Tactics to Remember

Keep the institutional calendar in mind as you plan the drive. Avoid conflicts with particularly busy times on campus, such as exams or Homecoming Weekend.

Always take advantage of any issue that concerns faculty, in the hypothetical strategy chart, the questions of intellectual property provides the focus for a particular campus. The issue not only serves as a discussion point on that campus, it provides a built-in target population as well as a group of potential allies who are also invested in ownership of intellectual property. Since the issue may require legislative actions, the chapter would want to combine a government relations and lobbying program with the membership drive and use each of the complimentary activities to support the other.
Lay out your tactics in the order you will undertake them, and make sure that one leads to the next. Follow general introductions of issues with more specialized individual meetings. Constantly asses your progress and keep track of what works. Don’t be afraid to change tactics, but be sure to give a tactic a chance to work.

Always be well prepared. Have on hand plenty of membership applications and brochures outlining AAUP programs and benefits. Know the association’s positions, but always be willing to admit what you don’t know and get back to the person with the answer.

Where it is appropriate, utilize both traditional and non-traditional publicity sources. Maximize you visibility to the faculty as a whole.