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Photo of 'The Internet  Messenger' by Buky Schwarz. Picture by Dr. Avishai Teicher.

To promote your club, a website is not enough

People don’t just get information sitting at home perusing websites … it is actively sent to them in many other ways. And they do this on the move - using mobiles, smart phones, tablets, laptops and the like.

If you are not there, you are missing out.

So contacting potential and current members via Emails and Texts, Facebook and Twitter should all be part of your strategy.

Isn’t all that stuff just for kids?

Not any more, according to our research. Each has its own advantages and some IAC Clubs are already using them successfully.

Email Group - members sharing information

Bristol Film & Video Society use the free Yahoo Groups service for round-robin emails to members who opt in. They introduced it as part of a recruitment drive, offering it as an additional 'benefit of membership’. Officers send reminders of meetings and competition deadlines. Individuals circulate their views, for-sale adverts and news.

Here are their views:

In 2007 the Bristol Film and Video Society (BFVS) was keen to recruit more members and so introduced an additional 'benefit of membership' in the form of a Club e-mail group.

The aim of the group was to provide a channel for rapid communication to the majority of members to ease the problems of passing out news about events such as Club filming sessions. It also enables the Club to remind its members about the content of upcoming regular meetings and, in particular, any last minute changes.

The BFVS Group is a 'Yahoogroup' which is operated without cost by Yahoo! but members of the group do not need to have a Yahoo! account. Only the moderator of the group is required to have a Yahoo! ID / password and this is free of charge. 

Readers familiar with Yahoogroups will know that each group has a unique e-mail address to which any member can send an ordinary e-mail message which will then be copied out automatically to all members of the group and thereby allow two-way communication between members. This latter feature has several advantages in that it enables members to feed back ideas and suggestions for future Club meetings and, importantly,  it enables members to ask one another for help with their filming related problems.

Experience has shown that one of the principal reasons why people join a film-making club is to get help and advice on how to improve the multitude of skills needed to make good films. Within our Club group, members with a script will try to find other members who can help to turn the idea into a film, budding cameramen can ask for advice on tripods or lighting whilst other producers hunt for solutions to the common problem of recording good sound in difficult situations. When another member replies to the query that reply also goes to all members and so everyone benefits from the advice.

To date our group has proven to be a positive addition to our club communications and some 95% of our Club members and prospective members have opted to receive the group messages. The use of a Yahoo email group has proved so effective that we reckon it should be an automatic part of every club’s armoury.

Operation of the group is fairly straight forward although Yahoo! is a somewhat idiosyncratic organisation which is inclined to issue 'improvements' to its service from time to time and cause some head scratching for the moderator or owner of the group. I believe that Google also provides a Group service in a somewhat similar fashion but I have no personal experience of their offerings.

Julian Baldwin
E-mail group manager for Bristol Film & Video Society.

Direct email from you (the club) to members:

The familiar email format can keep people up to date with what is happening both immediately (next week’s meeting) and in the longer term (e.g. competitions).

Finchley Filmmakers, for example, collect (with permission), email addresses from members and casual visitors. They then send weekly mailings about the latest programme.

Do's and Don'ts

Do not share club email addresses with other members accidentally. If you put all their addresses in the To: line you accidentally share them with everyone on the list.

Do use "BCC"

The simplest way to send an email to many people is to put a publicly known address in the TO line - such as our-club@gmail.com Then add the other addresses to the BCC line. (You may have to click an arrow to display the BCC line.)
BCC means "blind carbon copy" a reference to typewriting days. Each recipient sees only the original "TO" address and their own.
most email programs allow you to gather several addresses into a group. You can then send an email to the group. Each recipient sees only their own address at the top.

To find out more about how to send out emails to a group we suggest you search in Google with the phrase "how to send emails to a group xxx" where xxx is the name of the email system you usually use.

Because Spam (unwanted advertising) is such a problem there are many attempts to block it. Small email groups to club members are unlikely to trigger such defences.

If your club is to stay visible in the modern world, travel online beyond the website!

Go to part two ...

Share your passions.

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Page updated on 19 February 2015
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