Sub-Units: Proposal One


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.  

 National facilitates States, States facilitate Chapters:

  • National Action Campaigns:
    • National pushes materials to states, states push out to chapters
    • Chaps share info with states, states share info with National
  • State Action Campaigns:
    • National facilitates info-sharing between states working on similar legislation (think ALEC)
    • States push materials & share info with chapters, chapters share info with states

Posting Instructions

1. If you want to share your thoughts on a proposal (remember these are just concepts, the actual language will be developed later), write your reply in the text box bellow the words Leave Reply, and in the box “Enter your comment here…”


2. If you want to respond to a comment that another NOW member has left regarding a proposal, click the small blue link that says “Reply” underneath said comment. It is very important that you click this reply button and not start another comment so that the conversation is easily followed and clear!

3. You MUST put your full name and chapter affiliation before every comment you leave. If a comment does not have a name and chapter affiliation it will not be approved. This is to ensure that only NOW members are commenting.

4. Remember be respectful and friendly! All NOW members want to work to improve the organization and it takes collaboration and patience on our part as a grassroots organization to make sure that all of our members voices are heard – even those with whom we may disagree with.

5. Be creative and don’t be afraid to say what you think! It is vital that you share your opinions — in order to create the best proposals possible we need to know what all of the members think! This site is for YOU to have your voices heard.


11 thoughts on “Sub-Units: Proposal One

  1. Laura Fausone from Brevard NOW. I love the idea of exchanging information from national to states to local chapters and back to national. However, if one wants to check on the progress of chapters from the national website, it is difficult. For example, if one types in, the first page that comes up is how to donate. Now I do understand that’s important, and I donate routinely, but for anyone new who wants to see if there is any activity in their area, and how active that chapter may be, it is quite difficult. I think the communication up and down the chain needs to be more fluid.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This is Joan Waitkevicz, membership chair of Palm Beach County (Florida) NOW.
    1. I agree with Susan Woodland, Proposal 1 sounds comfortably like what we were doing in 2002-2008. To help National implement her suggestions at no cost, National NOW could email the action alerts and packages to all chapter leaders. This could be every 3 or 4 months; with reduced staff it would be a hardship for National to do monthly. Chapters could pursue their own initiatives in between National actions..
    2. There should not be a rigid hierarchy. Chapter leaders should also be able to communicate directly with National–not to make policy but to give feedback on successes for the newsletter.
    3. Bring back the Web archives. Ten year old policy statements from National have value. It’s great to be able to tell an ally with whom we are working in coalition that national NOW has been working on their issue for years.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This is Joan Waitkevicz, membership chair of Palm Beach County (Florida) NOW.
    1. I agree with Susan Woodland, Proposal 1 sounds comfortably like what we were doing in 2002-2008. To help National implement her suggestions at no cost,


  4. Hi Everyone, all good points to consider. Ideally this would be a good way to function, but
    It’s the phone tree thing (Susan Mottet point). One link broken it all breaks down.

    It may be more work, but each sub-unit should have an independent relationship with National. Mainly due to leadership going missing. Say if the state goes MIA, if local members can’t get in touch with missing leadership, How can National?.


  5. I particularly like the idea of position papers & wish to point out that that does not have to mean more work for the national board. They could be developed by nationwide task forces with expertise in particular areas.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. This sounds to me like what NOW has, at times, already done, and at other times has neglected to do. But maybe this has never been the case with ALL state organizations. Ideally, there should be a commitment to share information among all levels. I can see no downside to that.
    What is the point of being a chapter of NOW, rather than an independent feminist group with some other name, except to be connected to a well known nation-wide organization, and to have input into its operation at the state and national levels. So, of course the state and national units should provide materials and information about issues and actions to the chapters, and of course the chapters should keep these units informed of their accomplishments at the local level. DUH!
    I realize that this doesn’t always happen, and that is unfortunate. There was a time when National also offered more practical assistance to chapters. We used to be provided with a monthly membership roster without having to make a special request. There was a time when National provided clear one-page position papers on the issues that could be printed out and used as hand-outs at our info-tables, chapter meetings, etc. For a brief period there were NOW chapter liaisons who called chapter presidents periodically to exchange information. And we could order brochures in bulk from national without having to pay for printing them ourselves. Not any more.
    My state had and still has an active state-wide organization, but I have seen a decline in the number of its chapters willing to take part in state board meetings….not a good sign. We make efforts to facilitate participation by allowing chapter reps to call-in to meetings they cannot attend in person…then the equipment breaks down! We plan to explore the possibility of using webinars. But all of this takes money and personnel, and we have less of both than we once did. Yet we’re not ready to give up, and we certainly don’t want to see NOW transform into a top-down entity, run by the few but funded by the many.
    Proposals that help to develop strong state organizations, and to build and grow chapter membership are welcome!

    Liked by 5 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.


  7. This proposal, like Terry said, is like a phone tree. I fear that this would have the same problem as phone trees. If one link of the chain doesn’t do its job, everyone below that link isn’t in the loop. Since fewer than half of chapters are submitting required anneal reports, it seems reasonable to assume that some number of states would fail to resource the chapters. If we do move forward with a proposal like this, I would want National to have a mechanism (possibly with permission of the state) to go directly to chapters if state doesn’t have the ability to resource the chapters.

    Liked by 3 people

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