THE NSW branch of the Country Women’s Association has achieved a remarkable turnaround in numbers, turning a general reduction in numbers into a positive figure.
For the first time in more than 10 years, the organisation has revealed a positive result in terms of its membership for 2017/18, along with the addition of several new branches.
“Between September 2017 and September this year our membership numbers grew rather than fell, and while it’s not by an enormous number, it does represent a very significant shift,” said CWA of NSW president Annette Turner.
“For years prior to that the number of members leaving the organisation has exceeded the number of new members, so for us, the past 12 months shows we’re bucking the trend and reinvigorates our efforts to ensure the CWA of NSW is around for generations to come.”
In mid-September membership numbers stood at more than 8000, with close to 400 branches, making the CWA of NSW the largest CWA body in Australia and also making it the largest advocacy group for rural, regional and remote people in NSW.
Mrs Turner said this change in fortunes could be attributed to a number of things, including refocusing on the organisation’s primary aims, working hard on the lobbying front and ensuring that communication with members and the general public was a priority at all times.
CWA of NSW chief executive Danica Leys said the turnaround had been significant.
“Usually we’re looking at 200, 300 or even 400 decline in members each year, but this year we’ve had a net increase of about 5 per cent,” she said.
“When you consider on average there’s a decline, to turn it around to a positive is significant.”
She said the increase could be partly attributed to a concerted effort to talk to mkore people about what the CWA does both inside and outside of the organisation.
“And I think people want to be part of something bigger than just the individual.
“People can see the issues we lobby on are driven by the grass roots members, people can relate to the issues being pursued.
“As a result we’ve got whole new branches opening.”