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Guidelines for Conveners

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The following guidelines are designed as an easy reference. They are based on established U3A practice.

Contents
2. Membership matters    
3. Involving your members    
4. Other matters within groups    
5. Wider arrangements    
B: Tasks of Groups' Coordinators    
1.    Supporting groups    
2.    Forming new groups    
3.    Publicising groups    
4.    Linking Groups with the Executive Committee    
5.    Record keeping

 

Guidelines for Conveners

The Group Coordinators are always available to assist and advise.

A:    Tasks of Conveners

During the Year

Conveners' Meetings

Twice a year the Group Coordinators hold a discussion Meeting for all Conveners to attend as a forum to raise issues on how Groups are running, concerns and matters affecting U3A as a whole.

Each Group meeting

Inform the host of any apologies and mark the Attendance sheet. On receipt of the monthly Executive Committee Minutes, refer to items which may be of interest to your Group.

February and March

Remind Group members that subscriptions are due by 31 March. Only financial members receive the Handbook and can join Groups.

November

Contact the Groups' Coordinator of any changes to your Groups entry in the following years' Handbook. If your Group started after the Handbook was printed, check with the Groups' Coordinator that your Group will be featured.
After the last meeting for the year
Send the Attendance Sheets to the Groups' Coordinator.

2. Membership matters

Recording Members' details and Attendance
Use the Record Sheet to record the names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses of the Group's members and those that join through the year, striking out any withdrawals. Members might like to have a copy so they can contact each other perhaps to arrange car sharing. Use the Attendance Sheet to keep an accurate record of Members' attendance or absence.

New members

When welcoming a new member to your Group, ensure they have a current Name Tag and explain how the Group operates and offer other information as appropriate. Of special mention is to contact the Convener or host for the session if they are unable to attend.
Prospective members
A financial member of U3A may visit a Group for 3 sessions. A non-financial member may visit for 2 sessions. It is preferable on a visitors' first visit to mention if the Group has vacancies and if not, encourage them, if they're interested, to contact the Groups' Coordinator to be put on a Waiting List explaining that with sufficient numbers of members on a Waiting List another Group can be formed or alternatively they will be contacted when a vacancy occurs in the Group or Groups of their choice. Only financial members of U3A can be put on a Waiting List.
Short of members.
Contact the Groups' Coordinator who may have a waiting list and if not, will advertise your Group in the next Newsletter and at the next General Meeting.
Non attendance to the Group.
It is important that members of a Group value their commitment and that if a member misses 3 consecutive meetings without an apology, they can be told that they are no longer part of the Group. Talk to the Groups' Coordinator first if you wish.
Attendance & Record sheets.
These are sent out at the end of each year for the following year. If you need more, ask the Groups Coordinator.

3. Involving your members

Inviting feedback
From time to time, encourage members of your group to offer suggestions on the way the Group operates.
Appointing a deputy
A deputy can take your place as Convener when you can't attend a Group meeting or Conveners' discussion.

Delegating
Various tasks could be assigned to members of your Group: to be the phone or email contact, collect money for room hire, where these apply, chair a discussion, write an item about the Group for the Newsletter.
Scheduling ahead
Some Groups work on an agreed program of discussions or presentations which give members time to prepare their contributions in advance.
Celebrating your group
Occasionally a Group may plan a social occasion for whatever reason that may seem appropriate.

4. Other matters within groups

Morning/afternoon teas
Each Group decides its own arrangements but generally members pay an agreed contribution. Hosts need only provide simple refreshments.
Visiting speaker or trip
Some Groups arrange a visit from an interesting speaker on a specialised matter, or a trip to an interesting venue where an expert is available to talk to the group.

Changes to the operation of the Group
Inform the Groups Coordinator of any changes to the Group: Convener, venue, times, days so changes can be recorded for the next Handbook.
Changing meeting dates
Groups make their own decisions of when, where and how often they meet. Some meet once a week, once a month or twice a month. Where a group meets twice a month the meeting dates must be either the first and third, or second and fourth, day of the month, not successive fortnights. This reduces clashes with other groups and simplifies booking commitments ahead.
Problems or concerns
The Group Coordinators are always available to discuss any issues a Convener might have, as a similar instance may have arisen before.
A Groups' Requirements
Contact the Groups Coordinator if you have need for particular equipment or require a different venue. Consult the Membership Secretary if you require expertise on a particular matter as they may be able to find a specialist in the members' Skills Register.

5. Wider arrangements

Promoting your group
Occasionally a Group could share their activities with another Group, or speak at a General Meeting and keep the Groups' Coordinator informed of vacancies.
Newsletter items
Contact the Publications Editor of forthcoming activities other U3A members might enjoy, such as a visiting speaker or trip. Deadlines for Newsletters are given in the current issue.
Webpage items
Such forthcoming activities can also be placed on the webpage by contacting the Webpage Editor.
Group Notice boards are available on the U3A Tauranga web site to any group. Have a member delegated to write articles and post images relating to your group.
Communication
Conveners are the contact person between the Groups' members and the Groups' Coordinator thus ensuring a flow of information throughout U3A.

Information available about U3A

Handbook - sent to all Financial Members
Newsletters - sent to all Financial Members
Brochure - Questions asked about U3A - given to new and prospective Members available from the Membership Secretary.
Publicity brochure - available in Libraries, Citizens Advice
Bureau etc. Copies available from the Publicity Organiser.
Committee Members - refer to the Newsletter or Handbook.
Postal Address – U3A Tauranga Inc. P O Box 14453, Tauranga,  3143

B:    Tasks of Groups' Coordinators

1.    Supporting groups

Management of Groups
Within the principles of the U3A movement and U3A Tauranga, allow groups to run as they see fit.
Waiting Lists
Maintain a Waiting List for Groups that are full. Contact Conveners regarding vacancies and, where necessary, publicize the need for members in Newsletters and at General Meetings.
Attendance and record sheets
Post these to Conveners at the end of each year for the following year and as needed. Summarise the Attendance Returns at years' end.
Problems or concerns of Groups
Work out a solution with the Convener, drawing on experiences from other Groups.
Assisting in Group needs
Assist Groups' needs for equipment or a different venue.

2. Forming new groups

Forming new Groups
With sufficient numbers on a Waiting List for a Group that is full, a new Group may be feasible. If necessary, publicise the intent for starting an additional Group.
The issue of duplication of Groups
Where a new Group might cover a similar topic to an existing Group, encourage a decision which avoids, where possible a duplication, taking into account that times, dates and venues may be a factor in a similar Group starting.
Assist in the start of new Groups
Call the first meeting and encourage the new group to decide on a Convener, venue or venues, dates, times and the format of meetings. Where a particular expertise is required, suggest an enquiry to the Skills Register. Provide the Convener with Attendance and Record sheets and stress their importance.

3. Publicising groups

 

Newsletters

Provide the Publications Editor with items on new Groups, changes to existing Groups, Groups needing more members.
General meetings
Publicise new Groups forming and Groups needing members as appropriate.
Handbook
Keep a record of changes to Groups' for the Publications Editor to update in the next Handbook.
Brochures
Monitor the need for changes to the U3A brochures as appropriate.

4. Linking Groups with the Executive Committee

Committee meetings
Inform the Committee on Group matters.
Conveners' Meetings
Arrange a Conveners' Discussion Meeting three times a year for an exchange of views on how their Groups are running and matters affecting U3A as a whole.
New Members' Meetings
Three times a year arrange a Meeting to show New Members how U3A operates, make Group lists available for perusal, introduce Committee Members and show short Power Point presentation.
Represent Groups
Inform the Executive Committee the recommendations and requests from the Conveners' Meetings.

5. Record keeping

Numbers of Groups
Keep an up-to-date record of Groups, their Conveners and tutors.
Changes of Groups
Maintain a record of groups forming and ceasing during the year.