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How do I persuade people to get more involved?

21 September 2007

Active members are the heart of any union. The more people we can count on to do something, however small, for the union, the more powerful we are. This power will ensure that management will have to listen to what we say.

Finding out who cares

Your best bet in getting people more active is always to start with the people who care most deeply about an issue. There a lots of ways of finding out who cares: It may be that there is a specific issue in your workplace. Look out for those who speak up about it at a meeting. Be proactive: ask about issues when talking to colleagues or recruiting people. Use surveys to find out what the big issues are. Keep a record of everything you find out as it's really useful information and you will use it again and again.

Asking people to get involved

Use emails or letters. This works better if you target them using any information you've gathered beforehand.

Use personal approaches. You can apply many of the techniques for one-to-one recruiting to approaching people to get more active. Focus on the message that the union is the place where people can take action to address their concerns and effect change.

This also means listening to what they say and being responsive. It may be that the person you are talking to doesn't want to or can't come to meetings and doesn't want to be rep. Think instead about what they CAN do. Ask them if they can put up a poster, distribute newsletters, help with the website or pass us information? All of this helps us to grow stronger.

Keeping in touch

Remember to keep in contact with people to see how they're getting on. Getting someone to do one thing for their union is rarely the end of the story. It's often the case that people who do one thing for the union gain the confidence to do something else and that first, small task becomes the first step on the road to them becoming a union activist.

For committee officers, there is also lots of advice to help you with building your local branch here:

Last updated: 25 September 2007