How to Invite a Fellow or Grantee to Your Branch

Would you like to spice up your programming, diversify your membership, and strengthen connections with your community? Would you like to be inspired by women researching topics as wide-ranging as international development and environmental engineering, or organizations conducting innovative projects in your community? Reach out to fellows and grantees in your area! AAUW funds hundreds of talented women and projects each year. The recipients of our fellowships and grants are often looking for ways to engage with AAUW locally, and they make great speakers at branch programs.

The Four Steps

1. Assess Your Branch’s Needs

Talk to your members about your branch’s goals for the year and about how engaging with fellows and grantees can support those goals. By doing this in a meaningful way, you can

  • Invigorate your branch programs.
  • Engage students and young women already working to support AAUW’s mission in your branch’s activities.
  • Increase your branch’s visibility as a community leader and advocate for women.
  • Provide a greater incentive for giving.
  • Enhance collaborations and connections between your branch and academic institutions, student organizations, businesses, professionals, and your community.
  • Develop a diverse and inclusive membership base and increase member engagement.


2. Find Fellows and Grantees in Your Area

See where they are located, what they’re doing, and who their sponsors are by viewing the Fellowships and Grants Directory of Recipients and Sponsors. Branch leaders receive contact information for new recipients each July. The Fellowships and Grants tool kit has additional tips on finding fellows, grantees, and alumnae in your area.

Want help contacting a recipient? Contact us.

“You might not even realize the full impact of what you have done, but I would like you to know that by equipping me as a woman, you have trained a generation. You have empowered me and given me the hope to put in hearts of other women.”

— 2013–14 International Fellow Abosede Gbenga-Akinbiola


3. Invite a Fellow or Grantee to Speak

Fellows and grantees are looking for ways to become involved in AAUW, network, and demonstrate gratitude for their awards. Inviting them to speak at a branch event is a great first step to getting them involved. Here are a few programming ideas:

  • Invite them to discuss their research or community project and the benefits of their fellowship or grant.
  • Conduct a workshop in their field of expertise at their institution, in the community, or at your branch.
  • Collaborate on research or community projects related to local or national AAUW program efforts. For example, you could ask a recipient studying working mothers to speak at a program on pay equity.

Want Help Planning a Successful Event?

  • Contact Fellowships and Grants at for additional programming ideas or to get materials such as brochures or alumnae pins.

Best Practices for Reaching Out to Fellows and Grantees

  • Understand that most are juggling full-time academic schedules or research as well as family and other obligations.
  • Invite them at least 1–2 months in advance, in writing.
  • Be specific about what you want them to do and describe the expected audience.
  • If there are multiple recipients in your area, invite several. It gives them an opportunity to meet each other, provides a richer experience for members, and ensures that you will still have speakers if someone cannot attend.
  • If recipients are traveling a long distance to attend the event, offer assistance to defray their costs.
  • Allow 2–3 weeks for a response to your initial call or e-mail. Follow up if needed.
  • If recipients can participate, call them a week or two before the event and confirm the details.
  • Have a backup plan! Some recipients may not be able to accept an invitation because of timing, family and academic commitments, distance, or finances but would be interested in other opportunities. If that happens with your invitee, have additional opportunities for them to get involved with your branch handy.


4. What Next? Make Ongoing, Meaningful Connections with Fellows and Grantees

Since you are AAUW’s eyes and ears on the ground, you play a critical role in creating longstanding, productive relationships between your branch and these women and organizations. Help do this by suggesting additional ways they can stay involved, such as the following:

  • Ask them to join your branch or even offer them a free membership.
  • Foster relationships among fellows and grantees by introducing them in person and online and by inviting multiple recipients to events at the same time.
  • Ask them to help spread the word about your branch’s events with faculty and staff on their campuses or with their organization’s community partners.
  • Ask them to send information about their academic work or community project to help you write a branch newsletter article, blog post, or press release.
  • Invite them to a casual lunch so that you can learn more about their research and provide one-on-one support. You can also do this by sending notes of encouragement during their fellowship or grant year.
  • Ask them to stay connected by joining your mailing list.
  • Reach out to them periodically and personally.

Please contact us with questions, to get more ideas on engaging with fellows and grantees, and to let us know about what connections you have made!



Natalie Dawson, 2010–11 American Fellow

Fellowships and Grants Tool kit

Here’s what you need to know about fellowships and grants for your branch or state. 


Your Every Question Answered: Advocacy How-to Guides

Use these resources to guide you in advocating for women and girls through a variety of tactics and actions.

AAUW Fellowships and Grants Directory

Directory of Recipients and Sponsors

Look up a current or former recipient, or find out who sponsored someone.