I wanted to write this article to suggest how branches could move to adopt new technologies and, at the same time, attract members. Hopefully, this will also get a discussion going.
My understanding is that the NBWI started in NB to offer up a voice for women and to create a community that would offer mutual support. It also was intended to develop leadership skills and provide greater education by sharing information on various topics, including current events, education and agriculture to name a few.
Here we are over one hundred years later and technologies have changed while the NBWI’s spirit is still strong. However, we have a great proportion of “mature” ladies and an expressed willingness to change the mix so that younger ladies with all their energy and ideas join and participate in our activities.
How do we practically use some of these new technologies that will attract, connect and retain these members?
I did not get a choice when it came to using Facebook. My daughter, a very practical lady, determined that this was a useful way for her to communicate with me and the rest of the family. So, one day, she burst into the house, took me by the hand and set me down in front of my computer.
Despite my protests, she led me through setting up an account, showed me a few things that were possible on it and gave me a couple of warnings so that I didn’t share too much information and always securely logged out.
Many years on now, I realize that I would miss a lot of my family’s information and activities without it. Yet, I don’t particularly like the commercialization and I’m wary of any quizzes or surveys that ask me for my personal information. I also guard my time jealously so that I don’t spend hours in front of my computer!!
I do like the speed and ease with which one can communicate with a group of like-minded people though.
So, why are we not using this more as a tool for the NBWI?
There’s so many ways that we could use it to create a community that would offer mutual support! Wait!! Wasn’t that one of the original objectives of our organization?
There are courses that are held in the use of technology, including Facebook. Some are specifically geared for seniors. I took one and learnt a lot. Of course, Facebook isn’t the only way to involve communities by using technology.
There are a few small and easy things you can do to help both your branch and the NBWI reach a younger audience online.
- Like the NBWI page on Facebook, then like and comment on our posts. Facebook likes to see people engaging – the more people who engage, the more they’ll show our posts to others.
- Share your upcoming meetings and events. You can post them to the NBWI page or email or call Rose to share these for you.
- Share your meetings and events to local online events calendars. Many radio stations, newspapers and even student associations offer this service for free.
- Start your own Facebook page for your branch. Our Public Relations Officer can help walk you through this and provide tips for best practices!
If a branch is interested in improving their communication between meetings and, by the way, involving possible younger members, why don’t you invite them to your next meeting and ask for their suggestions. They have them! Let’s listen and learn and let these young women play a leadership role. Isn’t that what the NBWI is all about?
Submitted by Jacquie Cleveland, NBWI Secretary and member of the Greater Fredericton WI