u3as have been sharing ideas with each other and coming up with resources to help the movement retain and recruit members during this time and beyond. This series hosts these resources in a toolkit for u3a members to use when needed. Credit: Jean Hogg
How to Guide: Relaunching your u3a
Preparing for the future – celebrate and relaunch
The purpose of the guide is to suggest how you can relaunch your u3a. Having a launch event, perhaps many years after your u3a first began, might be a good way of telling the world that you are getting back to normal activity after Covid-19. You will no doubt want to celebrate with your current members, but this guide is more about relaunching to attract some new members.
At some point, face to face meetings are going to become both safe and permitted. Whether your u3a has kept in touch with members and held some virtual meetings, or has found it difficult to do much at all, we need to mark this occasion. Many u3as will already have had fantastic ideas about your future activity, but the hope is that this guide will give ALL u3as some inspiration. Please can those of you with good ideas share them as widely as possible.
We will be collecting feedback to create an improved version for use by u3as. Your experiences of using the guide are of vital importance. Please email your suggestions for improvement to firstname.lastname@example.org
How to relaunch
If you have ever been involved in the start of a new u3a you will know about the buzz of excitement and the ideas that abound – the ‘we could’ and ‘what if’ suggestions.
So – could you create that feeling in your members now? How can you let your community know about your u3a?
- There are plenty of ideas, from the traditional Open Morning, with displays by Interest Groups, ‘pop up’ stalls in shopping areas and at community events, and information leaflets in Libraries. You may also think about performances by music groups, such as ukulele, recorder, choirs etc. How about a walk around the neighbourhood – wearing branded clothing?
- The important thing is to use this as a wonderful opportunity for publicity and for attracting new members. Sadly, some people will have lost their jobs in the pandemic or had to take retirement earlier than they had planned. They need your u3a and could bring new energy, enthusiasm and ideas.
- Many Regions now have a Public Relations Advisor who can help. Use as many outlets as possible, including social media, local radio and newspapers, your website and, of course, posters and leaflets.
- If finances are tight you can still use free outlets, such as local/community news sheets, websites and radio. If you can afford it, publicity resources, such as tri-fold leaflets can be obtained and personalised at the u3a brand centre.
- Involve your group convenors and members. You may want to create a sub-committee to work on this.
- Some u3as have sent a survey to members asking how they feel about u3a but also for suggestions, including about new interest groups and events.
- The Recruitment Working Group has developed a number of ‘How to…’ guides that could be helpful.
Sharing your ideas
- Raise this idea at your next Network or cluster meeting. Have a brain storming session!
- Join the u3a closed Facebook group ‘Keeping in Touch’ (if you have not already). Share your ideas and learn about others.
- You may want to time your relaunch to coincide with 2 June, u3a Day. (If we are lucky and are allowed out by then!) There is a closed Facebook group for u3a Day where members share their ideas for the day, and there are resources and ideas available on the u3a day page of the national website.
Let us all make 2021 the year that our membership increases nationwide and sees many more Third Agers enjoy the benefits, enjoyment and interest of u3a!