Sub-Units: Proposal Two


Watch the webinar recording for Sub-Units and their Relationship to One Another.

We encourage you to use the PowerPoint presented at the webinar and the Structure Modernization Discussion Guide to help facilitate conversations in your networks.  

 Create a more cohesive NOW brand by requiring participation:

  • Require chapters to participate in State Action Campaigns
  • Require chapters and states to participate in National Action Campaigns

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9 thoughts on “Sub-Units: Proposal Two

  1. Yes! Coalition-building. I used to find it frustrating that people would start new organizations to work on the same issues. Now I am grateful that they find a way to keep fighting, as I see that there is a tendency for some to get possessive about the movement & try to make others feel less-than.
    I would very much like for VA NOW to share how they go about conducting the above-mentioned quiet campaigns.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sue,, coalition building is so important when you do not have very active members. It also sends a message to opponents that our issues are shared across the state between groups. We even partner with organizations to do lobbying, etc. since we are small in comparison. It works very well in a state with a population just about one million.

      States need the ability to pick and choose what they are working for and towards without major interference from NAC.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Bonnie Shapiro, NNJ NOW

    I agree with both comments. I would guess that other chapters are like mine — when we have an issue we must deal with locally (we got a buffer zone for the abortion clinic in our area and now have to fight to keep it an keep it working) there are not many resources in human energy to devote to other issues at the same time. Saying that our issue is not important enough (or important but not what was required) leaves us where? As Judi asked, what is the “treatment” for failing to fulfill the requirements?

    As I type this I have been getting emails from other women’s organizations of which we are not a part, or even in coalition with, telling me what they are doing and how I can be of help. I do not understand why we are not working with other groups to raise our profile on issues that should be ours. (For example, All* Above All). I think coalition building is one of the most important things we can do.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. From Judi Polson, NOW-NYC.

    In addition to the excellent, pragmatic points Susan raises:
    * This weakens the focus of NOW as a grassroots-driven (bottom-up) organization.
    * We’d have to define how “participate” was defined. Many Chapters might not have the resources to both generate their local actions and participate in National- and State-mandated campaigns.
    * We’d also need to understand–I hate to ask, but–what happens if a Chapter fails to participate in one or more National- or State-mandated campaigns? I just don’t want to think about that happening…..

    Liked by 2 people

    • Karen Bojar, Philadelphia NOW

      Historically NOW has been strongest when national and all sub-units were focused on one issue and spoke with one voice. This happened for the most part during the ERA campaign.

      I think we should strive to do this, but recognize that there are times when local issues will be the top priorities for some chapters.

      Karen Bojar, Philadelphia NOW

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This proposal implies there would be conseqences for not meeting the requirements without stating them. In Missouri, the only activists are on the state council & we never hear from the rest of the membership. I have tried taking a poll in the newsletter but received no response. In this scenario, all the work would be dumped on the state council.


  5. Depending on how this was executed, DC NOW could have a problem with this. We had to say no to the last two campaigns because they were irrelevant to us: we passed marriage equality in 2009 and we don’t have a vote in Congress so there was little we could do on Social Security. Also, it would be ridiculous for us to engage in grassroots activation to our non-voting member of Congress because she is a member of DC NOW and a leader on these issues in Congress. All that would be appropriate to do is thank her. That is also true for states that have really good Congressional representation.

    Also, as someone who has worked with state legislators across the states, I can also say that cookie cutter policy campaigns don’t do well. If anything, National NOW could have a selection of campaigns that states and chapters could choose from, taking action on the ones that are relevant to their situation.

    Also, each state needs the freedom to win in whatever way works in their unique context. For example, if a state needs to win a defensive fight by doing the work quietly behind the scenes, they shouldn’t have anyone tell them to run a loud campaign about it. I can think of two examples. Right now, VA is trying to defeat an abortion ban quietly behind the scenes. and if someone brought the fight into the open, we would lose as some Rs would have to switch their vote. Another one is that Kentucky expanded Medicaid by doing it quietly. The quiet gave enough Rs political cover to vote for it.

    I don’t mean to say this isn’t a good idea so much as to say that if we do move forward, we need to avoid these landmines.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for these great comments Susan. We here in Montana have some issues with national action campaigns. With the campaign on Social Security, we here in our state have been working in coalition with other groups including the National Committee to Preserve SS on this for about five years and we continue to do so. So, to come up with a national campaign to bring awareness is behind the times for us here. We have a large senior population and they are acutely aware of what needs to happen.

      We can’t do Walmart actions because our Native population only shops at Walmart and they are dependent on the chain to provide them with check cashing, etc. If we want to bring them into our organization, we need to respect their needs

      So, I do agree that this isnt a good idea but all states need to have “opt-in” options to meet the needs of their state and regionl

      Liked by 2 people

    • I also agree with these comments. The best option is always to offer guidance and support but also the greatest amount of flexibility for chapters.


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