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Unions 21

Bringing Webinars to the NAHT

At the start of the pandemic, Unions 21 worked with the NAHT to put into place a digital engagement programme to reach members at what was a turbulent and difficult time for them.

We brought together a cross directorate team (including comms, campaigns, membership and policy) to create an initial approach based on the union’s strategic aims and walked them through their first broadcast.

Rob Kelsall, National Secretary, NAHT:

We came to Unions 21 to get the initial support and ideas gathering. We knew that the team had a wide view of what other unions were doing and what was working as well as their own areas of expertise working in unions.

We wanted to ensure that our members knew exactly what was happening in negotiations with the government as well as offering us a chance to hear directly from the school floor. This was our main goal but in working with Unions 21 we also thought more systematically on how we can use the platform and webinars to build our membership and activist base.

The total engagements in our broadcasts have far exceeded our expectations when we began the transformation to digital. Over a period of just over two months we had 17,489 registrations and a 91% watch rate. Our membership stands at around 34,000 so this is phenomenal reach. As well as unprecedented membership growth and engagement, we also drew in members wishing to become reps within the union. Almost 100% of those stepping forward were serving school leaders. The sheer number of new reps and activism is unparalleled.

What we would say to other unions is that this has been the start of our our digital transformation and it is changing the way we think. While we worked cross team before, it has turbo charged that work. Examples of this include working with the recruitment team to build in permissions to contact non-members when they register for online events, and working with democracy and governance to identify opportunities for engagement of members in the democratic structures of the union and providing a direct connection between the members which we serve amplifying their voice and their influence within the union .

Working with Unions 21 was seamless and that critical friend who understood the challenges we faced and gave us the space to develop our skills and team.

Team working on this project: Becky Wright and Vic Barlow