AAUW’s Guide for Renewing and Recruiting College/University Members

The AAUW student organization at California State University, Sacramento.

The AAUW student organization at California State University, Sacramento.

Recruiting colleges and universities to join the AAUW community isn’t possible without the dedication of AAUW members out in the field. This resource identifies best practices on recruitment and retention of college and university (C/U) member institutions for state and local C/U chairs.

Download and print this resource!

C/U chairs should be knowledgeable about AAUW’s campus initiatives and leadership programs; connect with their local C/U representatives; and encourage students, faculty, and staff to get involved with AAUW.

Overview of AAUW

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) is the nation’s leading voice promoting equity and education for women and girls. Since our founding in 1881 AAUW members have examined and taken positions on the fundamental issues of the day whether they be social, economic, or political.AAUW has a long history of advocating for women in higher education. The organization has been steadfast in its commitment to protecting and enforcing Title IX to ensure our nation’s commitment to moving toward full and equal educational opportunities for all students. Through our fellowships, grants, campus initiatives, and leadership programs, we are empowering the next generation of women leaders on campus and beyond.

Everything we do goes back to our mission statement: AAUW advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research.

The Benefits of AAUW C/U Membership

Check out our printable flyer to help you understand the benefits of AAUW college/university membership for faculty, staff, and students!

How to Recruit C/U Members

Reach out to local campuses.

Target the schools in your state that are NOT already C/U member institutions and find out if anyone in your branch has connections at the school. Your next step is to determine which offices or departments at the school would be best to contact. Examples include

  • Women’s centers
  • Career centers
  • Student affairs departments
  • Women’s studies/gender studies departments
  • Diversity and inclusion offices
  • Community engagement staff
  • Multicultural affairs staff
  • Equity offices
  • Title IX coordinators

Make a call or use this sample email to reach out to them:

Hello [name],

I hope that this email finds you well. My name is [name] and I am [AAUW connection]. I am writing to request that [college/university name] join AAUW as a valued college/university (C/U) member.

AAUW has more than 800 C/U member institutions that promote women’s equity and create community on campuses. C/U membership with AAUW offers benefits for students, faculty, and staff, including professional development opportunities like presenting at AAUW’s National Conference for College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL) or salary negotiation workshops. Students, faculty, and staff can apply for AAUW fellowships and grants, ranging from $750 to $30,000 each year for gender-equity projects and graduate study. AAUW awards about $3.7 million in funding annually.

Additionally, membership offers discounts on NCCWSL registration, Graduate School Fair exhibition, salary negotiation workshops, and posting on AAUW’s career center. Two faculty or staff members receive free AAUW national memberships, and all undergraduate students can become AAUW student associates for free.

[Personalize it here! For ideas, see below.]

Please let me know if you have any questions or need more information. I hope to hear from you soon!

[Name], [AAUW affiliation]

Make sure you add in a paragraph personalizing your letter. Here are some ideas:

  • What AAUW presence does the school already have? Do they have an AAUW student organization? Do they have any AAUW fellows or grantees on campus? Mention those and how they benefit the institution.
  • Does your branch or state offer local scholarships? You might already be supporting the school by sending high-achieving students their way.
  • What are some ways your local branch wants to collaborate?

Prepare for an effective meeting with campus staff.

Research the school to understand their needs and determine your best approach. Think about the benefits the school can gain from AAUW and tailor them to the campus. A large campus is going to need a different approach than a community college, for example, since the makeup of the student bodies are different.

Remember that getting in touch at the right time is key. Reaching out during the summer, holidays, or the start/end of semesters will result in low response rates. Before your meeting, refresh your knowledge on the benefits of C/U membership and print out the recruitment flyer!

Meet with campus staff members or your campus connection.

Now that you’re prepared for your meeting, get ready to market the benefits of being an AAUW C/U member! Using the recruiting flyer as a guide, promote our national campus initiatives and leadership programs and any local scholarships or programs that your branch or state provides.

Don’t leave the meeting without your ask! Encourage schools to join online.

Follow up on your meeting with an email.

Send an email within a day or two thanking them for their time, and reiterate why an AAUW membership is a benefit to their school. Highlight anything that stood out from your meeting.

Think about next steps.

Once the school joins, build relationships with the C/U representatives and share the great work of your branch or state. Check out ideas to keep your local campuses engaged below.

At a Glance: the AAUW C/U Renewal Process

State and branch C/U chairs play a vital role renewing C/U memberships. Your groundwork ensures that faculty, staff, and students continue their AAUW engagement. Here is an overview of the process:


Starting toward the end of the spring semester (April or May), AAUW begins the C/U renewal process by sending out invoices to the schools. Touch base with the C/U representatives to remind them of the value of an AAUW membership. Remember, you can access the list and emails of C/U representatives for your state through the Member Services

Schools will receive a second invoice in the summer, followed by a final invoice early in the fall semester/quarter. Make sure to follow up with any C/U representatives you didn’t get to speak with in the spring. If you find out new contact information, let us know at connect@aauw.org.

Pro tip: Schedule a meeting with the C/U representatives in mid-to-late March, before they receive their invoices, and discuss how you can build or continue your relationship with their institutions as you move into the next academic year.

5 Easy Ways to Keep Your Local Campus Engaged

It is important to show potential and current C/U members that your branch is committed to supporting them. Here are our top five suggestions on how to establish a positive working relationship with local colleges and universities:

  1. Promote AAUW’s campus initiatives and leadership programs like our campus grants or salary negotiation workshops. When you meet a group of engaged students, encourage them to start an AAUW student organization! Remember, the forming of an AAUW student organization must come from the students themselves. Your role is to serve as the liaison between the local/state AAUW and the campus.
  2. Fundraise for the next generation! Send a student to the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders (NCCWSL) and invite that student to come back for a branch meeting or state event to speak about their experiences.
  3. Think beyond C/U representatives. While it’s important to maintain relationships with local C/U representatives, make an effort to engage other local faculty or staff. Invite them to speak about their work at your next branch meeting or send them AAUW’s newest research reports to include in their syllabi.
  4. Create meeting opportunities. Include a workshop or talk at your state convention that appeals to faculty, staff, or student leaders or create a leadership conference for college students.
  5. Be visible on campus. Ask to have information about AAUW displayed on highly visible bulletin boards or ask to table in a high-traffic area. Tabling can be a great way to spread the word about AAUW’s public policy priorities, especially on or around Equal Pay Day. It can also help you sign students up to be free AAUW student associates.

General Tips

If your AAUW state or branch doesn’t have a C/U chair position, create one. It is important to recognize the value of this position and connect with local C/Us.

Utilize those personal connections! Work with AAUW branch members who already work at or are alumnae of a local college or university.

Celebrate the successes of students, faculty, and staff in your state through a newsletter, social media, or even in person at meetups or events.

Be on the lookout for your quarterly Campus Connections newsletter for the latest updates, resources, and leadership opportunities. If you are not receiving these emails, contact leadership@aauw.org so we can make sure you’re on our list.

Never miss updates from AAUW national by following us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

C/U Membership Frequently Asked Questions

Who can become a college/university member?

Any two- or four-year educational institution that offers recognized associate, baccalaureate, or higher degrees and that has full regional accreditation or appropriate professional association approval can join AAUW.How can I find out which colleges and universities in my state are members?

See the list of college/university members on our website.What does it cost to join AAUW as a C/U member?
Annual membership extends from July 1 through June 30. AAUW college/university membership annual fees are $175, regardless of institution size. Brand-new C/U members may join at a promotional rate of $125.

What is the role of a college/university (C/U) representative?

Up to two C/U representatives are appointed by an AAUW member institution to serve as the liaisons between AAUW and the campus. Responsibilities include

  • Responding to and initiating communications with AAUW at the national, state, and branch levels in order to best meet the needs of your institution using AAUW resources
  • Disseminating AAUW information, resources, and leadership opportunities to campus offices and departments
  • Encouraging campus participation in AAUW campus initiatives and leadership programs
  • Informing the AAUW national office of new contact information for C/U representatives when it changes by emailing connect@aauw.org

How can I find the contact information for C/U representatives in my state?

Use the Member Services Database.

If you have any questions, feel free to email AAUW staff at leadership@aauw.org!



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