Making groups open and welcoming


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This briefing paper provides guidance on how groups might publicise their meetings via group mailings.

All groups are required to send at least one mailing each year to members in their area. This does not need to be complicated and can be in the form that best suits the group. 

Mailing Format

There are many ways to communicate – newsletters; letters; flyers and posters; invitations.

  • Newsletter:  you can use this format either annually or more often.  You can use it to give details of upcoming meeting dates, a review of previous meetings and any other updates that you feel appropriate.  If you do choose to use a newsletter style then please make sure you adhere to the newsletter guidelines.  Read more…
  • Letter: you can use this format either annually or more frequently.   It gives you the chance to offer a little more detail without going to the extent of a newsletter.  You may give the details of up coming meetings and provide a bit of detail about the content/format of the meeting.  You may use it as a method to encourage people to attend. Read more…
  • Flyers & Posters: you can use these formats to give members and others details of upcoming meetings.  They are less formal and posters can be used to publicise the group and meeting dates in other ways as well (eg it can be put up in the local library or clinic).  A flyer can be a simple and effective way to let members know about meeting dates for the year ahead or for an individual event – it does not require much more than the basic details of the event(s).  Read more…
  • Invitation: you can use this for larger or more formal events such as a garden party or social event.  Read more…

Setting up a mailing list

All groups need to set up a mailing list with UK Office.  This is essential to ensure that all members in your area receive your mailing.  To set up a mailing list contact UK Office on 0845 458 6211 or email info@dystonia.org.uk to discuss your groups needs. You will need to have details of the area your group covers and where possible the postcodes for that area.  You can also include individuals by name that may be outside your usual postcode area but would like to be included.  Don’t worry; UK Office can work through this with you.  It is worth checking back with UK Office from time to time to ensure your mailing list is current.

Sending the mailing out

It is now a requirement for all new groups (new groups from 2012) to use the in-house mailing services that we offer (unless otherwise agreed with the group).   We are also asking that as many existing groups as possible transfer to using these services.  The in-house mailing service for groups means no more envelope stuffing for your group and it can be a way of keeping the costs of mail outs down. We offer two different services to groups, these are:

  • Option 1: UK Office can produce and send mailing labels to your group when you need to send a mailing out (UK Office simply produce a label run based on the postcode allocation agreed with your group: your group simply needs to allow sufficient time - about 2 weeks - for UK Office to produce the labels and post them out to you). This ensures that every time you do a mail out to members in your area interested in receiving group information you know you are using the most accurate and up to date mailing information that we have.
  • Option 2: UK Office can take over all the hard work for you and do the printing, envelope stuffing, postage and mailing for you. You just need to send (usually by email - although for those without email we can make alternative arrangements) the contents of your mailing to UK Office who then arrange for the mailing to be sent out (UK Office simply print the copies required and mail them to the mailing list produced from the postcode allocation agreed with your group: your group simply needs to allow sufficient time - about 3 weeks - for UK Office to do this work). This method not only ensures that every time you do a mail out to members in your area interested in receiving group information you know you are using the most accurate and up to date mailing information that we have but it also makes the mail out cheaper - we buy in bulk so envelopes, paper and printing are cheaper but we also use a franking machine so the postage is cheaper as well.

We would like as many groups as possible to switch to using our in house mailing facilities in order to reduce costs and the associated risks with holding data in more than one place (if you do still choose to hold a mailing list locally please contact UK Office to discuss this and make sure you follow all the relevant Data Protection rules to ensure you are compliant with the requirements of the law). All new groups are now required to use our in house mailing services.

To find out how your group can benefit from this service and to set up a mailing list please contact UK Office on 0845 458 6211 or email info@dystonia.org.uk to discuss your groups needs.

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