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Memo from Chris Carson: Student PMP Waiver Program

To:                  LWV State Presidents

From:            Chris Carson, President, LWVUS

Cc:                  National Board Members & Shur Fellows

Date:             April 10, 2018

RE:                 Student PMP Waiver Program


State and local Leagues have told us that the cost associated with membership is a barrier to students joining the League. We have heard that message loud and clear – and we are taking action. 

Last month the board voted to waive Student PMP at the national level through January 2021. 

We want to continue to grow this organization at every level. To do that, we need to increase our membership with the energy and passion of the next generation. It’s not enough just to register students to vote. We want them contributing to the future of our organization. Our hope is that by offering them free or reduced student membership now, they will become life-long League members.

Effective immediately, LWVUS will not be charging PMP for any students during the period defined above, regardless of state or local League participation.

Our close partnership with chapters across the country made it clear that we needed to knock down this barrier. But doing so won’t solve the challenge of bringing in younger members; it’s only a first step. Now we need to tap into that partnership again to help drive the critical engagement piece in communities across the country. 

Vision for this program:

  1. Recruit the next generation of League leaders. The future of our organization depends on the successful cultivation of young members. 
  2. Engage with young members.Involve students and new members in ways they want to contribute.
  3. Demonstrate success with collected data. For this program to work, we need accurate reporting on new student membership. 

What it means to participate:

We are encouraging ALL state and local Leagues to eliminate or reduce student PMP. Regardless of if a League chooses to change their rates, LWVUS will not charge PMP for any students through January 2021.

Recruiting and Engaging Students 

Young people are the future of the League and we need to build the next generation of League leaders, today. It’s not enough to bring them in the door, we must engage with them on the topics that are important to them.

As part of our ongoing transformation work, we recognize the need to make our organization more inclusive. This program is a great starting point for us. Are we welcoming to new generations of volunteers? Can we fold their talents and skills into the League and help shape the future of this organization? 

Here are some ways state and local Leagues can begin recruiting and engaging with new student members: 

  • Conduct outreach to schools to promote the free or reduced student membership in your state or local League. Connect with politics, women’s studies and government programs to reach potential student members.
  • Consider setting aside funds to do more outreach activities to engage students. 
  • Promote the free or reduced student membership at registration events.
  • For state Leagues: Identify opportunities to engage students in our mission impact work at the state level.  
  • For local Leagues: Think about how to engage students in your community and plan accordingly. 
  • Make the new student member survey available for students to complete when they join. This is a great tool to learn more about the young members and where their interests lie.

Collecting Data

For this program to succeed, we will need to track membership growth in a more precise way than we have in the past. This is critical to understanding if the program is working. We will not be able to gauge success if we don’t have the numbers to tell the story. 

  1. Regularly update the Member Database (CRM). Participating Leagues will be expected to update ALL membership information in Salesforce on a quarterly basis. 
  2. Provide the new student member survey. We all want to understand why student members are interested in the League and what issues appeal to them. Having new student members fill out this survey will help us all identify which tactics are working, which are not, and how national can better support state and local Leagues.  

We recognize that transparency is a huge element to our transformation and that data collection is new to many Leagues. National will compile the data and make the quarterly reports available to all participating Leagues. The national office will also be available to help Leagues with any questions related to reporting their data.

We will evaluate the program’s success at Convention 2020. The collected data will demonstrate quantitative success or not.

What’s next? 

In the coming weeks and months, we will continue to encourage state and local Leagues to participate in this program and to engage more students in our mission work. The national office will provide participating Leagues with tools to recruit and engage more students. Participating Leagues will be contacted about future surveys and data reports.

We hope you will choose to participate in this opportunity – and encourage other Leagues to do the same – as we work to bring more young members into our League.

For any questions about this program, please contact LWVUS Staff at [email protected]