Author: Chelsea Bland
As we continue to adjust to life during this pandemic, we explore new ways to stay connected. Connecting virtually has become even more important given the current circumstances. We’ve pulled together a few tips on how to stay connected with your members and activists as physical gatherings are limited. These tips are also great to keep in mind even when we can get back together again.
- Update your local, council or district website regularly. An updated website means that your members can find out the latest news from the local, council or district whenever is convenient for them. Make sure your website has up-to-date contact information and, where possible, digital versions of important forms. If you need assistance creating a website for your local, council or district reach out to the AFGE Communications Department at www.afge.org/webplanning.
- Create an email outreach schedule. Email continues to be a valuable tool for membership communication. Make sure you have the personal email addresses of all your members. From there, create a schedule for when you will send them updates. Depending on what’s going on at your shop, you can plan to email activists 2- 4 times a month outside of any urgent communication that may arise.
- Move your meetings online. If you haven’t already done so, hosting your meetings online is a great way to stay connected with members when you are not able to meet in person. In addition to traditional membership meetings, you can also host virtual discussions on important topics and even a virtual game night! There are several platforms that support virtual meetings such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Google Meet. We’ve also put together some video conferencing tips. Click here to check them out and here to download backgrounds for your next virtual meeting.
- Create pre-recorded video messages for your members. Periodically creating pre-recorded messages to send to your members is also a great way to be “seen” by your members. This allows you to pre-plan topics to discuss and share them visually. You can add these messages to the local’s website or Facebook page and then send the link around to members.
- Start a Facebook discussion group for your members. Social media is another great way to stay connected with your members, especially when you can’t gather in person. Facebook groups allow for closed group conversations that can be limited to just members of your local, council or district. With this option you’ll need to allocate additional time to managing the group and the conversations. While this is a larger time commitment, the engagement you’ll develop with your members is worth it!
- Host virtual office hours with your leadership team and stewards. Creating virtual office hours will give your members an opportunity to meet with key members of the local. This is another way to get “face time” with your members. It is also another communication tool you can use to engage your members in addition to email communication.
Important Tip: Let’s make sure our content is also accessible. Here are a few accessibility tips to keep in mind:
- Caption your videos! All audio content should include captions and/or a transcript of what was said. Click here for a free video captioning tool for videos less than 40 minutes. For live meetings make sure to let attendees know how they can turn on the captions if the platform you are using provides it. You can also share WebCaptioner.com with attendees as it creates real-time captions.
- Remember to use camel case for hashtags. This means to capitalize the first letter of each new word in the hashtag, for example #ProudUnionMember.
- Include image descriptions and alt-text for the photos you share online. Including image descriptions and alt-text for your images means that a visually impaired person or user who has disabled image loading can access your content through a screen reader.
Click here to learn more about creating accessible content online.