Here are some tips and recommendations from fellow chapter leaders about communicating with your members.
- First, make sure you build a contact list of all your members. Make an effort to collect your members' cell phone numbers and non-DOE email addresses (remember, you can't use DOE email for union purposes).
- You may also want to segment your list (i.e., teacher, paraprofessional, new member, etc.) so that you can provide members with information that's most relevant to them.
- When you're emailing your members, set up a UFT list in your Gmail account or whatever email client you use to make it easier to reach them all at once.
- To protect your members’ privacy, make sure you put their email addresses in the BCC: field of your email.
- Keep your chapter communications brief, relevant and actionable.
- Attend to your functional chapter members.
- Communicate more frequently with newer members.
- If you're interested in sending the Chapter Leader Update to your members as a newsletter, you can copy and paste relevant sections into an email. By using the online version of the update, which is posted on the UFT website each Friday night and sent to chapter leaders in a text message, you'll avoid the formatting issues you’ll encounter if you copy and paste from the email version.
- Consider sending group text messages for urgent news and quick, timely items such as "Our chapter meeting is at 12 p.m. in Room 2B today" or "Tomorrow is the deadline for submitting your Teacher’s Choice accountability form."
- Send occasional shout-outs and messages of appreciation to build chapter solidarity.
- Get others involved and ask them to contribute – it doesn’t all have to be on you.
Free tools and apps
Chapter leaders also told us about these tools and apps that make their jobs easier:
A free online tool for creating professional-looking, easily formatted emails and newsletters.
A free mobile app for texting designed specifically to be used in schools. It allows you to segment your list and conceal phone numbers.
Allows you to create an online "bulletin board" for UFT announcements, reminders and resources.
Allows you to use your phone to "scan" and digitize documents and fliers so you can share them with your members.
Have other tips to share or other apps to recommend? Please let us know!