Establishing your U3A

Publicity

Publicity is important. Try to find a really enthusiastic volunteer to handle it. They will need to make contacts with the local newspaper/radio/television station, and can very quickly get your U3A known throughout your district. Social media can also play a part. Facebook is a great resource and can get your name out to the community very quickly so find someone to run your page, it's not only good publicity, it's also good fun. Another good idea is to make your organisation known to the local community radio, if you have one, they are always on the lookout for people to do talk back on air and, of course, it's free. Never underestimate the power of word of mouth which is arguably the most effective advertising there is, just by talking to people in a social situation can sometimes create interest and possibly new members so, don't be embarrassed, extol the virtues of your U3A to everyone you meet.
This form of publicity is valuable, but so is the demonstration of what U3A is about.  The Network Committee has a brochure available for distribution to interested groups:

Promoting offline

Although we believe promoting through digital platforms is a very effective way of advertising your U3A, there is still a place for the more traditional forms of promotion such as business cards, open days etc. and, combined with your digital platforms such as websites and Facebook, creates a very powerful promotional tool to better reach more potential members for your U3A.
Please read the following article for some handy hints about: Promoting Offline


Open Days

Think about having an annual Open Day on which prospective members can come & see what it's all about. Perhaps plan on having an information stall at the local Seniors Week or Adult Learning Week. However, the very best form of publicity is word-of-mouth". Many people have joined U3A because a friend or neighbour told them how much they were enjoying it.

Newsletters

Newsletters play an important role in keeping your members informed, and to foster their sense of belonging, and each edition must be distributed to all members, with additional copies placed at strategic locations throughout your local community (tourist information bureau, local council offices, etc). You are sure to have a suitable person in your membership to be the editor.

The Newsletter does not need to be an elaborate publication, but does need to be suitable to its readership. Frequency of publication is a matter for your Committee to decide, and typically they will be either monthly or quarterly. Free photocopying is often available at your local MP's office.

Here are some guidelines for the editorial team:
  • Provide information on current courses/activities, and on those planned for the future;
  • Be wary of including commercial advertising. Your membership may feel that they are being exploited.
  • Do not use material which shows any form of bias (ageism, racism, sexism, political, religious). Your membership will represent a wide spectrum of the community and will reflect vastly differing opinions/attitudes.
  • Encourage contributions from members (letters, articles, reports of activities, anecdotes, etc.)
  • Be aware of the requirements of the Copyright Act if you plan to use work that you feel may have already been published.
  • Use a clear typeface that is not too small - some members will have failing eyesight.
  • Last but not least, why not advise us at Network of that your newsletter is available? We can then share on the Network Facebook page so everyone can enjoy your news.

Programme of Classes

You will also need to issue a programme at the commencement of each term/semester to give your members details of the planned programme of activities they can look forward to.

Try to obtain copies of a Newsletter/Program from other U3As to see how they communicate with their members. If you do not know where to find another U3A, and have Internet access, use the "Find Queensland U3As" page on this website and follow the prompts to find the U3A you are searching for. While you are there, you can supply your own details so that others can find you!

Networking

While your U3A will be autonomous, completely in control of its own destiny, it will benefit from interaction with other groups. Try to establish regular contact with those nearest to you. If you're lucky this will mean face-to-face contact. While the Australian "tyranny of distance" makes this impractical for some, there's always the telephone, email, websites and Facebook to assist in maintaining contact.

We, at Network, are here to help with publicity ideas so take advantage of this whenever assistance is needed, we are only a phone call or an email away.