10 ways to get organised

After such a tumultuous year, it’s more important than ever that working people stand together and that we continue to find new ways to reach out and organise

As the UK’s largest trade union, UNISON’s strength is in our members working together. United and organised, we can achieve real change for working people.

Here’s 10 tips to help you get organised!


First and foremost – find out where your members and potential members work. Local government branches have to deal with various employers, such as councils, different schools, and providers of outsourced services. What workplaces do you need to deal with? How many members do you have in each one? You can’t be everywhere at once, so mapping helps you to work out where you need to recruit new activists or members and where you need to recruit. Use UNISON’s membership systems (RMS and WARMS) and information from employers to map out your patch.


Who are you organising? By researching your branch’s workforce, you can tailor your approach and reflect your members diversity. Consider gender, age and ethnicity, as well as what roles workers carry out and their working patterns – all of these things will impact the issues they care about, their concerns and how best to pitch the union to them. (You can also use RMS and WARMS to do this and ONS can also be useful.)

Ask your members

What do your members think? Find out how they feel about work and the issues they’re facing. Free tools like Alchemer or survey monkey  take five minutes to setup professional looking surveys.


Campaigns are a wonderful way to get members more active and to introduce non-members to the tangible change a union can make to their lives. Finding something widely felt and deeply felt is a great start – and you could do that by kicking off a survey (see above!).

Or get your members and colleagues involved in one of UNISON’s existing campaigns – you’ll be joining a national fight and there’s readymade resources to help you. Find out more about the national campaigns UNISON local government are currently running:

Fair pay for council and school workers

Save our Services

Local service champions

All UNISON campaigns

Use join online

2020 was the year our whole world moved online. And while building trust and relationships with members is key, we cannot ignore the fact that the place most people are right now is online. UNISON’s join online is going through the roof. It has been optimised so it’s simple, quick and easy for people to join.


Setup a dedicated webpage

Non-members searching online for a union are likely to search for the name of their employer and ‘union’. Set up a dedicated page on your branch website, with some key information and link through to join.unison.org.uk. Explicitly telling people that there are UNISON members where they work can get them over the initial hurdle. Include information on how people can contact UNISON reps in their workplace.

Use Social Media

Social media is one of the most effective ways for branches to keep members informed and reach non-members. It can help you to communicate faster, more often and with greater relevance.

UNISON’s recent SOS campaign video was watched by over 1.1 million people! Social media has an ability to reach potential members and to re-engage your existing members in campaign issues.

And you can use existing content we’ve already created!

Click here to share the SOS video on Facebook

Click here to share the SOS video on Twitter

Easy Joiner tool

UNISON’s Easy Joiner is a useful tool for you to sign up new members without a long form-filling process that may put new joiners off.

Find out more

Consider your timing

At certain times of the year, like the festive period or school summer holidays, most people are less likely to make the decision to join a union while they’re concentrating on additional costs. Consider easing off at these times and increasing activity around periods when people could be more receptive.

Remember your members

Keeping the members we’ve already got is at least as important as recruiting new ones. Effective and regular communication is vital to ensure that members remain engaged with UNISON and its aims. Make sure your branch contact information is always up to date. If you send emails, think about making them easy to read. If you think you have capacity, consider using social media.

It’s also important to give attention to new members – research shows at this point people are very engaged and are likely to be more receptive to the conversation about getting more active and involved.

And remember – persevere and remain positive! Good luck!