Connecting Grassroots Activists and NOW Action Center a Priority

by Loretta A. Kane, Public Relations Director 

 Photo by Lisa Benette-Haigney
NOW Action Center staff members make their Wednesday night calls to chapters around the country. Pictured left to right are, Johnathan Darr (Product and Production Coordinator), AnitaMarie Murano (Intern/Volunteer Coordinator)), Johanna Ettin (Direct Mail Manager), Angela Arboleda (Field Organizer), Vanessa Salinas (Racial Diversity Director) and Loretta Kane (Public Relations Director).

The National Action Center, NOW's Washington, D.C., office, is offering an exciting service to NOW chapter and state organizations: the Activist Liaison System. The system is designed to improve communication between the activists in the field and the activists in the Action Center with periodic updates on important issues and campaigns.

Here's how it works: the Action Center has extended hours until 8 p.m. (Eastern time) on Wednesday nights. The switchboard is open, and all of the departments are staffed by at least one person who can field questions from activists. Additionally, at least one national officer is in the office and available to take calls. All staff members participate in some capacity with the Activist Liaison Team, and the liaisons call their assigned chapter and state contacts approximately twice each month with action updates. Liaisons can also troubleshoot any communication problems a chapter or state is having with the Action Center.

The liaison system is not meant to replace any other communication to or from the Action Center, but is an addition to the chapter and state support that has always been available.

"The Activist Liaison System has been an excellent tool for improving communication. Through the system, we are able to improve the effectiveness of our written communications by adding important two-way conversations," said Karen Johnson, NOW's membership vice president.

"We also need to know how things are going in the field. The liaisons are able to pick-up the phone and talk with the people on the front-lines. As a result, we are better able to serve the chapters and states," Johnson concluded. The system has been operating for a little more than a year, and during that time activists have been updated on federal legislation, action organizing and election issues and have functioned as a rapid-response network for urgent actions.

At NOW's Women's Rights Convention and Vision Summit last July, many satisfied chapter members found and thanked their staff liaisons for keeping them in touch with the Action Center and informed about hot issues throughout the past year.

Racine (Wis.) NOW President Rachel Trobaugh said "It has made us feel much more connected with the national organization. It helps us out here get answers to questions pretty readily and some guidance on how to attack a problem."

If you are a chapter president and you have not been receiving these calls, please contact Loretta Kane at extension 762 to begin receiving updates.

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