We are better together! A more diverse membership profile that reflects a whole community will enable the organization to do the most complete conservation work. Until we represent a broader group of stakeholders and bring them to the table, TU’s solutions remain incomplete. Therefore, it is major priority for the organization to diversify our membership, our leadership and to create a more welcoming and inclusive community, including our volunteer-run chapters and councils.
National Leadership Council Diversity and Inclusion Workgroup
In 2011, TU organized an initiative under the National Leadership Council to focus on engaging more women through our chapters and councils. The Women’s Initiative engaged in membership drives, recruited and trained volunteers at the local level to put on events and activities geared towards women across the country, and created a number of resources for women in leadership and encouraged their continued involvement.
In 2016, the NLC’s Women’s Initiative Workgroup decided to expand the scope of their work to involve outreach to other underrepresented demographics.
TU Diversity and Inclusion Workgroup Mission: To create effective strategies and programs to recruit a more diverse membership profile in TU; encourage diversity within leadership at the chapter, state and national levels; and to ensure every chapter creates a welcoming environment for TU members of different genders, ethnicities, ages, and cultures to achieve the TU conservation mission.
Join the monthly calls of the National Leadership Council’s Diversity and Inclusion Workgroup. They are held the third Thursday of the month at 8 p.m. Eastern. Simply dial: 1.866.740.1260 and enter the code 2829092#. Be prepared to hear from other volunteers with TU about their experiences working on diversity and inclusion at the local level, and we invite you to share your experiences as well.
Diversity and Inclusion Resources
The following are just some of the diversity and inclusion related resources available TU volunteer leaders. As always, reach out to your council leaders, your diversity and inclusion regional representative or the TU Volunteer Operations staff for questions or to talk about your local interests.
- In the model of the TU national strategic plan, consider adding diversity and inclusion into your chapter or council plan.
- Take time to evaluate the needs of your community, the resources available, and the impact of this work to the TU mission. Spend time listening to goals and experiences before asking how we can work together. For instance, if you are looking to build relationships with your Hispanic and Latino community members, start by reviewing the River Network’s Best Practices Guide to Engaging Latino and Hispanic Community Members to guide your efforts. Each community may have different goals and interests.
- Don’t go it alone. Build collaborative relationships with local community partners to understand existing community needs and to accomplish your diversity and inclusion goals. Your best role may be to lead from behind.
- Learn from other chapters. Attend council meetings, regional rendezvous, engage in the TU online Leaders Forum and participate in Diversity Initiative work group offerings to learn from others successes and missteps. For instance, your team may find this Leaders Forum discussion on engaging Hispanic and Latino community members insightful.
- Identify individuals with the skills and personality to lead. Review sample chapter and council specific position descriptions related to diversity and inclusion, create your own, and consider assigning a point person to certain roles.
- Establish a sense of belonging for everyone at your current events. Review your existing offerings to remedy participation barriers (e.g. location, timing, marketing, access). Address factors that impact your efforts to set a strong foundation for the future. Small adaptions like a change in venue or more lead time in your communications plan can result in major impacts.
- Orient yourself with the Tacklebox resources. Resources like this “how to” guide – One TU Youth Education Report – may help your chapter frame goals to guide you to success. Review the plethora of Women’s Initiative resources to support your efforts.
- Budget. Make sure that your chapter or council budgets appropriately to set your diversity and inclusion efforts up for success.
Promote your Chapter/ Council to New Audiences:
- Your chapter can order copies of our Stream Explorers magazines online at and have them printed with your own chapter name, website address, contact information and more printed right on them so anyone you hand them to can learn more about TU and easily find your chapter.
- The TU Youth Membership Brochure can be printed out at home to have at youth and family events to hand out and encourage people to sign their kids up for TU.
- Check out other chapter’s Women’s Initiative Brochures and Flyers.
- Promote the TU’s Veterans Service Partnership with this flyer.
- Incorporate aspirational communications with positive language, full event details and images of target demographics (people of color, women, youth, etc…) in your communications. The Women’s Initiative has photos for general use available and you may find the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation’s toolkit helpful to reflect Latino and Hispanic community members.
- Meet people where they are. For example, if your chapter would like to engage with the Latino community, build relations through genuine community connections and gatherings (churches, community centers, etc…). You may find this Leaders Forum discussion insightful.
Create Events Catered to Target Demographics:
- Learn from the NLC’s Women’s Initiative on their ideas for women’s focused meetings and seminars.
- View this video on organizing an introductory fly fishing clinic and these chapter templates for women’s seminar programs and planning documents.
- Plan a meaningful youth education event with guidance from this two-page synopsis.
- Start new youth education programs like Trout in the Classroom, STREAM Girls or a TU 5 Rivers College clubs.
- Get your chapter started with a Veterans Service Partnership program locally with our vast suite of VSP resources.
Make Them Members:
- Recruit new adult members for half price ($17.50) at www.tu.org/intro. For every new member your chapter recruits there, you will receive a $15 rebate at the end of the year. So, for example, after your next women’s specific casting clinic, for only $2.50/ attendee you can buy memberships for everyone.
- Youth and spouses/ partners can be added to the current TU membership of their parent or spouse/ partner for FREE using this online form at tu.org/familymembership. This is a great way for existing TU members to add all of the members of their household to their membership so everyone receives the benefits of being a TU member.
- Youth can currently join TU online.
Stream Explorers memberships (up to age 12) are $12.
TU Teen memberships (age 13 to 18) are $14. Bulk discounted youth memberships (orders > six are $8/ea.) are available for purchase. Contact TU’s Youth Education staff for details.
- Veterans who have participated in your chapter’s Veterans Service Partnership programs and events are eligible to receive a free, one-year membership to TU. For information on how to sign up eligible veterans, contact Veterans Service Partnership staff.
- Check out tips from the Women’s Initiative on how best to retain these new members.
Make Them Leaders:
- Make sure diversity is a target for your chapter or council’s leadership recruitment or nominating committee.
- Share with people interested in national-level leadership how the Diversity and Inclusion Workgroup of the NLC operates.
- Consider sending an active chapter teenager to the TU Teen Summit, so that they might stay involved with the national-level Youth Leadership Council.
- Consider sending a veteran that you’ve engaged to a nationally sponsored trip, so that they might stay involved with the national VSP. For more information, contact TU Veterans Service Partnership staff.