Local Unit and University Support
As region leaders, you set the tone for your region and provide the guidance and support your local units and at-large campus reps need to thrive. Below are ways region leaders can foster membership growth through financial assistance, mentorship, membership campaign support, recognition programs, and public relations. Region leaders also play a vital role in establishing and supporting university local units.
Seed money for new local units
Sometimes newly chartered and reactivated local units need help getting started with recruitment. (It might be several months before the local unit generates a rebate or collects local unit dues.) Although the state-level ATPE Initiative Fund can help, it’s provided on a limited basis, so it’s a good idea to earmark region funds as local unit seed money so they can get started with growing their membership right away.
Funds for at-large campus reps
ATPE gains more at-large campus representatives each year. At-large campus reps do not have a local unit to support recruitment and retention activities and, therefore, do not have funds to work with. Regions are encouraged to budget funds for at-large campus reps to use to conduct recruiting activities within their districts. When at-large campus reps grow membership, the region benefits via increased rebates.
At-large campus reps might also want to attend the ATPE Summit, and they need region assistance to get them there. Region presidents are responsible for certifying at-large delegates for the House of Delegates (HOD) meeting, and it’s imperative at-large campus reps have the ability to attend the summit each year. The region will benefit when at-large campus reps are able to experience everything ATPE has to offer!
Region Meetings: Regions can further assist local units and at-large campus reps by providing travel assistance to region meetings. Regions can offer a set amount for each local unit that attends, paid directly to the local unit, that allows the local unit to support their members who attend. Regions may also offer assistance directly to local unit members who attend.
Regions might also consider providing travel assistance to local units for the ATPE Summit and other state events, such as ATPE at the Capitol. Remember to clearly communicate program guidelines and consistently and fairly apply those guidelines.
Often “green,” or even brand-new, volunteer leaders in a region will take on local unit officer roles or start new local units, and they might need a little guidance and mentoring. Some regions assign each local unit a region officer to assist new volunteer leaders. As their mentor, region officers check on these new leaders frequently throughout the year. Specific areas in which new leaders might need help include:
- Understanding where local unit funds come from and how to apply for the initiative fund if needed.
- Understanding how to organize meetings and the election process.
- General help organizing.
- Developing strategies for recruitment and retention.
- Reminders to turn in officer/campus rep lists and help preparing and submitting treasurer’s reports.
- Understanding and using Leader Central. It’s a great tool!
New Local Units: Create a committee to welcome new/reactivating local units and find out if they need assistance in any particular area. Designate a region officer or officers to contact new local units and create welcome packages for them. These packages could include:
- A list of region officers and their contact information.
- Descriptions of region assistance programs (for example, travel assistance and incentive funds).
- A check for new local unit seed money.
- The region calendar.
- Descriptions of state assistance, including the local unit initiative fund, summit financial assistance, and financial assistance for ATPE at the Capitol during legislative years.
- A basket of promo materials.
If possible, deliver this package to the new local unit president in person. Chartering a new local unit can be daunting, and new leaders will feel better knowing they’re not going it alone. By creating connections, your region will help foster lifelong volunteers!
Membership campaign support
Everyone knows local units should have membership campaigns. Regions should, too! Set a membership goal, and develop incentives, competitions, and other strategies to get there. Don’t forget to include at-large campus reps. Remember to differentiate some competitions/incentives based on size so that everyone has a chance to win. Here are a few ideas:
- Increase your membership by 5, 10 or 15 percent.
- Have a competition to see which local unit can recruit the most new members during the 90-day campaign. (Group local units by size, and don’t forget to include at-large campus reps.)
- Social media contests: Ask campus reps to post pictures of their ATPE displays and tag your region page, or comment on a post you make with the picture.
Whatever you do, be sure to reach out to your regional membership specialist for assistance. They might already be conducting an incentive or competition you can piggyback on—and they are here to help you!
New-teacher orientation assistance
Help local units host new-teacher orientations (NTOs) by:
- Mentoring new officers to show them the ropes during NTO season.
- Offering to speak at the district’s general- and new-teacher convocations.
- Providing funds or promotional items to smaller local units so they have plenty of giveaways and door prizes.
- Helping recruit active local unit members to help at NTOs and other recruiting events.
- Training volunteers.
- Volunteering to help cover back-to-school recruitment events.
Encourage up-and-coming leaders by nominating them for awards and promoting them throughout the association. Get to know each local unit’s activities, and reward their efforts:
- Contact local unit leaders and at-large campus reps in early August to thank them for volunteering, and ask if you can assist with their membership campaign. Send another thank-you letter at the end of the school year.
- Maintain communication throughout the year.
- Monitor the local unit’s growth in your region. Offer prizes and other incentives to encourage recruitment at the local unit level.
- Reward local unit officers, campus reps, and at-large campus reps with small tokens of appreciation at the end of each year.
- Nominate members of your region for state/regional awards.
Highlight your region’s accomplishments to create a sense of unity, promote a positive image of ATPE and public education, and encourage community support for educators.
Where can you publicize accomplishments?
- In your community newspaper or on a local news or radio station. (Tip: Target your publicity efforts by focusing on small-town or suburban newspapers, which are more likely to publish organization news than major metropolitan dailies.)
- In ATPE publications or social media channels. (Send info and photos to email@example.com.)
- On your school district’s website or in its newsletter.
- On a cable community information channel.
What can you promote?
News outlets are interested in information that is timely, localized, and relevant to their audience. As a community organization, your region has the potential to generate a lot of publicity. Here are things that might get you in the paper:
- Region/local unit services.
- Region/local unit awards and honors.
- Election of new officers.
- Region/local unit political activities.
- Summit and ATPE at the Capitol attendance.
- Community donations or support activities.
University local units
Did you know ATPE typically has between 16 and 20 active university local units each year? Although not all regions have university local units, all regions have university members, so opportunities abound for regions to proactively work with education departments to build relationships that lead to active, well-supported university local units—and lifelong ATPE members.
How can regions help start university local units?
- Contact your regional membership specialist to find out which universities in your area do not have local units.
- Locate a faculty member at those colleges/universities who is willing to become a sponsor. (Sponsors do not have to be ATPE members.)
- Request a membership list for those colleges/universities from your regional membership specialist. Work with the sponsor to contact members on the list and find local unit officers.
- Plan the first meeting.
- Work with your regional membership specialist, who can help and might already be working with certain faculty or members.
How can regions support university local units?
- Offer incentives for university local units to attend region events.
- Remind university members that their summit registration fees are waived. (Sponsors’ registration fees are also waived.)
- Send notices of important state and region events to sponsors and presidents via email.
- Encourage university local units to apply for the Local Unit of the Year Award for a chance to win money for local unit activities.
- Host graduation celebrations to celebrate student teachers’ success, and provide red-and-white graduation cords for graduating ATPE student teacher members.