New Castle County Vo-Tech EA build connections with members during building visit campaign

One of the chief characteristics of a strong, successful local association is a membership that is informed and connected to its leadership.


Leaders of the New Castle County Vo-Tech Education Association sought to strengthen existing and establish new relationships by conducting a week-long member outreach campaign.


“Our goal was really just to meet with our members, talk to them about how their year was going, and let them know that we are here to help them,” said Charley Hackett, President of NCCVT EA.  “


NCCVT EA leaders scheduled their building visits to coincide with DSEA’s annual “Stay Connected” campaign.  This annual event encourages all members to verify or update their contact information so they can stay up-to-date on education information and news.


The team from NCCVT EA visited each building in the district and also went door-to-door to talk with members individually.  The team spoke to members about their issues and concerns regarding their work and encouraged them to visit the table that was set up to provide information about the benefits of membership.


The outreach was successful, as the EA was able to hold meaningful conversations with over 125 members across the district’s four schools over the course of the week. Eight new members joined NCCVT EA, including one paraprofessional who had recently become a teacher.


Carlos Espada (teacher) and Raymond Gray (counselor) are both building representatives at Hodgson Vocational High School and were part of the NCCVT EA team who spoke with members at Hodgson.  They felt the member response to the building visits was excellent.


“It’s difficult for members to take time out of their day to meet and talk with local leaders,” they said.  “Providing a treat to entice them is always helpful.  However, once contact is made, it typically starts a greater conversation about membership, the benefits of membership, and can answer some lingering questions a member may have for Association leadership.”


Charley Hackett reflected on the fact that one of the key points of learning was that the buildings with lower membership numbers often also had fewer building representatives.  Contrarily, the buildings with higher membership numbers have a stronger record of holding regular union meetings with members.


The connections made over the course of the week-long campaign will help improve those outcomes and create an impact that will be felt by the local in the months ahead.


“When members don’t work in the same building as the association leadership, they might feel removed or disconnected from them,” said Espada.  “We want our members to know that their local association is supporting them and that we’re all part of a larger community dedicated to improving the profession.”


Hackett echoed Espada’s opinion about the long-term value of the member outreach.


“A lot of teachers join their local because they feel it’s what they’re supposed to do,” said Hackett.  “But going out and talking to them is a reminder that union membership is more than just benefits and protection.  We advocate and support them in so many different ways and they need to be reminded of that.”