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					Technology Solutions for Your AAUW Branch
By Roxyanne Young
Roxyanne@2-TierSoftware.com
Technology Chair, AAUW San Diego, http://www.AAUWSanDiego.com
Co-Owner, 2-Tier Software, Inc., http://www.2-TierSoftware.com

A BRANCH WEB SITE CAN HELP YOU:
   • Attract new members and engender community support
   • Explain AAUW membership requirements and offer membership packets online.
   • Distribute online newsletters, which will save your branch money on printing and
     postage, plus volunteer hours assembling, and mailing the newsletter
   • Advertise your branch fund raisers, community projects, and special group events
   • Reach a potential audience of millions, but mainly promote your Branch and AAUW
     within your own communities
   • Take advantage of an easily accessible and cost-effective means of communication to
     keep AAUW members informed about events, meetings, and projects at the branc h, state,
     regional, and national levels
   • Promote the mission of AAUW, the AAUW Educational Foundation, and the AAUW
     Legal Advocacy Fund

HOW TO BUILD AN EFFECTIVE WEB SITE:
  • Always keep your audience in mind. Make it easy for them to find their way around your
    site.
  • Use large, easy-to-read type and short text blocks. These are easier to read online.
  • Use appealing graphics. Be careful of poorly lit photos, or photos that need cropping.

CONTENT YOUR SITE MUST HAVE:

•   Welcome - About AAUW, Branch Overview, Mission and Diversity Statements
•   Contact – branch, AAUW Help Line (800/326-AAUW, helpline@aauw.org).
•   Calendar of Events – list general and board meetings, special events, fundraisers, etc.
•   Membership Page – include membership application
•   A link to the Association site

RECOMMENDED CONTENT
• Explanations of AAUW corporations
    – Educational Foundation, Legal Advocacy Fund, AAUW Association
• Descriptions of AAUW-sponsored programs and interests

      – Gender Equity, Public Policy, Sister-to-Sister, Voter Education, Tech Trek
•   Online Newsletter
      – Save postage and printing costs by offering downloadable newsletters via Word
          documents or .pdf files
      – Newsletter can be password-protected so that only your branch members can access
          them, or left public for anyone to see
      – You can put anything in an online newsletter that you can in a print newsletter, with
          better quality graphics (color photos, for instance).
       –   You can take online advertising to help cover the costs of maintaining a Web site
          (Spotlight member-owned businesses to encourage networking.)
       – Archive back issues online
       – Put the AAUW logo, mission and diversity statements in every downloadable issue
•   Community Action Projects and Public Policy Work
       – Promote a specific function, a dinner, sports tournament, etc. that will raise funds for
          a particular cause such as a local school library, a program for teen mothers,
          scholarships, and so on.
•   Scholarships
       – Put your scholarship requirements and applications online in downloadable files so
          that applicants can get all the forms they need to fulfill your application requirements
          – Notify all the local colleges and universities about your online application via
              email, with a link back to the application and information pages

NOTES ON WEB SITE CONTENT FROM THE ASSOCIATION:
 Don't reinvent the wheel: Where appropriate, feel free to link to the national AAUW home
  page. You can also copy information from other AAUW resources, such as the membership
  brochure, the fellowships and grants brochure, the style guide, AAUW in Action, Get the
  Facts, Action Alert, and AAUW Outlook. Feel free to copy from AAUW's website, too.
 Be in style. Use the AAUW Style Guide to maintain consistency with all AAUW publications
  and to provide a unified message and professional image.
 Check your facts. Make sure all facts and figures are accurate and up-to-date. For frequently
  changing data, link to the Association site.
 Designate this Web site as your branch or state AAUW Web site, as opposed to the
  "American Association of University Women" home page, to differentiate between your site
  and the national site or other branch and state home pages.
 Capture your surfers. Create forms for readers to fill in with their names, addresses, phone
  and fax numbers, and e- mail addresses so you can communicate with them and potentially
  gain new members, donors, and allies.

SEARCH ENGINES
   Search engines send out programs called “spiders” that crawl the Web looking for new
     sites to catalog. They follow links from your site to other sites and catalog those, too,
     which is why reciprocal links are so important.
   You can register your site for free with the major search engines like Google, Alta Vista,
     Dog Pile, and Yahoo, but it can take a couple of months for your site to sta rt showing up
     in search results for anything other than your name.
   Put your Web address on every piece of print literature you put out
   Increase your ranking by using effective Meta Tags (Keywords), Meta Descriptions, and
     Meta Titles. Remember, power words up front.

RECIPROCAL LINKS
   Reciprocal Links = “You link to my site and I’ll link to yours.”
   Search engine spiders follow these link trails as they catalog new sites on the Web. The
     more links you have coming IN to your site, the better.
   Reciprocal links are SPIDER BAIT! The more you have, the higher you rank.
WHERE TO GO TO BUILD AN EFFECTIVE WEB SITE
  • 2-Tier Software, Inc. is an Affinity Partner with AAUW Association
           – http://www.2-TierSoftware.com - be sure to select the AAUW package
                  • $120 per year includes:
                         • Hosting
                         • Free Setup, Free 10-day Trial
                         • Custom domain name (www.AAUWYourBranch.org)
                         • Pre-built site with AAUW-approved content and graphics
                         • 50 pages to customize for your branch
                         • Live Tech Support
       Geocities/Yahoo, local cable companies, and iVillage all offer free
Web site templates. These have their good points and bad points.
           o Pros
                   They’re free
                   They’re fairly easy to use
                   Design tools are good for single pages
           o Cons
                  • No control over banner ads
                  • No control over domain name
                  • Don’t manage large amounts (multiple pages) of information well


WHEN YOUR SITE IS COMPLETE AND READY TO LAUNCH:
  • Request a link from AAUW Association and your state branch
  • Request links from all your members who have their own Web sites and offer to link
    back to theirs on a special members page


A FINAL NOTE…
Above all, your AAUW Branch Web site and online newsletter should reflect the mission and
purpose of the American Association of University Women. It should be polished and
professional, and it should portray your members as the diverse, strong, independent, educated,
community- minded women they are.

				
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