These are challenging times…scary challenging and exciting challenging. The scary part is that the entire infrastructure of social policy in this country is at risk. The exciting part is that we social workers can and must rise to that challenge and restore a progressive vision of what our society can be and ought to be. Because we are social workers, we know that a monumental task such as that cannot be done alone but requires the concerted effort of hundreds of us working closely together. There are too many forces which seek to divide us, to distract us from what is really important, to keep us busy with the small fires while the big fires bear down on us.
One of NASW Wisconsin’s principal objectives for the coming year is to increase membership so that our collective voice can be heard and our advocacy for social justice can be even more effective. During the past two years we have expanded the presence of NASW-WI on the internet by opening a Facebook page and making use of Twitter. We have revised our website to be even more user friendly and added a Social Work Jobs link. However, all of this is effective only if members and potential members know about it.
As we travel around the state and talk with social workers about membership in NASW, the most frequent question is “What will NASW do for me?” It’s understandable that the potential member wants to see value for the membership dollar. When we do answer that question, the usual response is “I wasn’t aware of all those things that NASW does for me and for the profession.” All of us must do an even better job getting the word out about services for members and advocacy for social justice.
The 38th Annual Conference “A Meeting of the Profession: Igniting our Spirits,” is coming up on October 29-31, inBrookfield. Here is an opportunity to network with colleagues, earn continuing education hours, and celebrate the profession. Planning for Lobby Day 2013 is just beginning. Our Social Work Jobs link on the website has been used frequently and has grown. Advocacy on behalf of clinical social workers has led to revisions in reimbursement rates. Support for revisions in the regulations for certification has strengthened requirements and protected consumers. Continuing education events have been well attended, especially the ethics workshops. There is more going on than can be described in this small space.
So, how can we reach out to colleagues and recruit new members? Person to person. You are our best advocates and recruiters; you are our best salespersons because you know firsthand the benefits of membership. Speak to colleagues at work. Make informal contacts with colleagues in the community. Participate in your branch activities and bring a friend.
Together we can build a more just and inclusive society. Let’s begin!