Become a Salary Negotiation Workshop Ambassador

Gender pay gap
Whether you’re an AAUW member or a workshop facilitator, you can use this guide to teach a school or organization about the gender wage gap and recruit them to host an AAUW salary negotiation workshop. It takes approximately four to six months to recruit for and plan a workshop, and AAUW depends on the energy and efforts of volunteers like you to identify locations. Thank you for helping bring this valuable resource to women in your communities!

Stay tuned for more information about recruiting and hosting a Work Smart site.

7 Steps to Recruit a Start Smart Workshop Site

Step 1: Prepare Your List of Leads

Create a list of target campuses or organizations and build a list of potential contacts at each location. Take a look at our list of Start Smart sites to see if workshop has already occurred on a nearby campus. AAUW college/university partner members are already invested in AAUW, and they are a good place to start when you’re looking for a college venue. You can also use the Start Smart program as an opportunity to invite colleges and universities that are not yet AAUW C/U partner members to join AAUW!

As you make a list of potential contacts, be sure to include the following:

  • Any personal contacts whom you already know
  • Any representatives from women’s resource centers, women’s leadership centers, student affairs departments, and career centers
  • A contact list from AAUW, which you’ll receive once you fill out the form below

I would like a list of AAUW contacts to help me recruit a school for Start Smart.

Fill out this form and we’ll send you a list of our contacts on your target campus within three to five business days. Please keep an eye out for an e-mail from us in case we have additional questions.

Step 2: Become an Expert

Become conversant on the issue of pay equity so that you can articulate the significance of the Start Smart and Work Smart workshops to your contacts. Review AAUW materials on the gender wage gap, including

Be prepared to answer questions such as

  • Why should the site sponsor this program?
  • How will the workshop help women and students who attend?
  • What will participants learn?
  • How are Start Smart and Work Smart different from what they already offer?
  • How are the programs presented?
  • What are the costs of the workshop, and who may be able to help defray those costs?

(And review our Start Smart FAQ to brush up on your answers!)

Step 3: Ask Your Leads for a Meeting

E-mail or call each of the contacts on your list to set up a meeting to discuss the benefits of having a Start Smart and/or Work Smart salary negotiation workshop. The key to securing sites for workshops is to fully understand and communicate the significance of the salary negotiation workshop. Be clear that this is a workshop and that it is about salary negotiation and not about résumé writing or job interviewing skills. Put your salient points in your own words.

Step 4: Prepare for Your Meeting

Before each scheduled meeting, send a copy of the information sheet to each attendee. Print out the information sheet and the list of Start Smart campus workshop locations and bring them to the meeting. Review the Start Smart page, the FAQ, and your talking points so you’re prepared to answer questions about the program.

Step 5: Meet with Your Potential Recruit

Answer any questions or concerns that the campus contact has, and be sure to refer to opportunities for co-sponsorship and collaboration that may help minimize the costs of the workshop. (See “Tips for Defraying Costs” below for more information.)

During the meeting, ask contacts if they can recommend any other departments on campus that should be involved in the Start Smart salary negotiation workshop, and follow up with those departments.

If the contact would like to review materials from past workshops or needs more information, contact AAUW Program Manager Dorrie Sieburg to arrange a conference call with the team.

Note: You may need to coordinate with several departments that are interested in supporting this workshop. It’s usually best to select a “lead” contact, but your group will determine how best to move forward.

Step 6: Send a Thank-You Message

After the meeting, send a thank-you note to the contact, and request feedback by a specific date. Send a similarly worded post-meeting e-mail to all other contacts so that they can forward your information and engage others on campus. Follow up with a phone call if the contact has not responded by your deadline for feedback.

Step 7: Confirm and Get Ready!

Once the contact has committed to hosting the workshop, contact Dorrie Sieburg again. She will finalize the school’s commitment paperwork and schedule a planning call for the whole team.

Tips for Defraying Costs

If your contact is concerned about the cost of the workshop, suggest that the cost might be divided among several campus or community organizations. They can also look for other community businesses or organizations that might sponsor the event. Here are some past examples:

  • In Maine, one committed individual was so passionate about pay equity that she underwrote all the pilot workshops in the state that year.
  • In New York, an AAUW branch paid for several workshops.
  • In Rhode Island, a women’s center funded a workshop.
  • The Wyoming Women’s Foundation underwrote travel and other accommodations to bring the Start Smart workshops to two Wyoming campuses.
  • The Maine Women’s Fund supported workshops and facilitator trainings on all public campuses statewide.
  • Organizers can also seek grants from local nonprofits to cover costs.

How to Talk to Funders

You’ll speak to individuals differently than you will to foundations and even corporations. That’s because everyone has a different reason for funding the program. A clothing store like J.C. Penney or Gap might be interested in offering funding so that students think about them when it’s time to get a work wardrobe. A local bank wants students to open accounts with them. A local Optimist Club might want to help the young graduates in the community start off on the right foot. Here are some helpful tips when it comes to approaching funders.

  • Keep their audience in mind, and consider what the funder would get out of their support.
  • If you’re uncertain, ask them. Try a simple, “So XYZ Bank, why is it important to you to reach young women graduates with your messaging?”
  • Tailor your responses to the funder. How can you help them reach their goals?
  • Show them how their name will be showcased and what additional role they might be able to play. For example, a clothing store could hold a fashion show to tell students how five pieces can make a great work wardrobe.


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