Running an effective Branch or Group
If you are involved in a branch or group, this section offers information and guidance on running, developing and maintaining your branch or group. This includes everything from holding successful AGM’s and recruiting new volunteers, to fundraising and raising awareness.
As a membership organisation we have a legal responsibility to hold an AGM. Whilst holding an AGM isn't a legal requirement for our branches, due to the nature of their responsibilities we have written into our Association governing documents that an AGM should be held by them once a year. AGMs are key events in our calendars and happen between February and April*. There are formal responsibilities to be completed such as presenting the accounts.
Alongside this, the event offers a great opportunity to share and celebrate all you have achieved over the past year with your members and supporters and in particular to:
- say thank you to members and supporters
- raise awareness about MND and our work to wider audiences
- celebrate all of our achievements during the previous year, including fundraising and how the money raised has been spent.
The key to a successful AGM is in the planning. The earlier you start your planning the better, especially if you want to ensure the availability of a particular key speaker. You can access the Branch Agreement here.
Groups are not required to hold AGMs, however you may want to use the date the group started as an annual time to hold a similar celebration with your members. Please see our Group Agreement.
*If you are an affiliate branch these timescales are not applicable.
The following guidance and resources will help you with planning and running your branch AGM.
Branch AGM template- an editable presentation that gives an overview of national impact, plus slides for you to add information about your activities etc
Quick AGM checklist
Example AGM agenda
Example AGM invite letter for members
Example AGM invite letter for supporters
Example AGM invite letter people not involved
Example Agm reply slip
Reference request form
As an Association we are committed to doing everything we can to support people with MND, their families and carers. Nationally and locally we need to raise awareness and ensure that everyone diagnosed is aware of us and the services that we and other organisations provide.
Raising awareness locally of your branch/group and what you and the Association can offer is key to ensuring that people affected get referred to us and go on to receive the vital information and support they will need.
There are many ways your branch/group can raise awareness and most can be incorporated into the activities and events you do, or through the contacts you have.
• through a branch/group leaflet, which can be given out to local HSCPs/GPs/ care providers to ensure they are aware of you and can pass accurate information on
• giving short talks to local community or business groups which may encourage more sponsors and donors to give their time and/or money
• articles in the branch/group newsletter, webpage or social media page giving information on the work being done locally to help people living with MND.
Caring for someone with MND is physically and emotionally challenging. The Association recognises and values the vital role played by families and unpaid carers and is committed to ensuring that they have access to a network of support and high quality information.
Branches and groups have a key part to play in this commitment by including the needs of carers as part of what they offer locally. A warm welcome, friendship and an opportunity to meet others in the local community who understand their situation are so important.
Branches and groups can do this through offering and promoting:
• regular meetings, particularly carers support meetings
• support by funding, such as respite care and complimentary therapy (refer to financial support guidelines for further information)
• the Association’s Carers Guide for carers and the services of MND Connect and their local Area Support Coordinator (ASC)
• organising social events for Carers
• carer focused news, information and articles in your newsletter, website and at open meetings
• information about local carers groups and other carers support organisations in the area.
If you would like support or advice on how to develop any of the ideas listed above, do contact your Area Support Coordinator.
As a volunteer you’ll become aware that all branches and groups hold committee meetings or planning meetings, all with differing times, dates and at different venues. According to the branch charter, a branch management committee needs to meet at least four times a year, for a group it’s less formal, they can choose to meet as often as they need, however, it is important that there is good regular communication between all those involved in the running of a group or a branch.
Preparing the agenda for committee meetings is usually the task of the secretary with the chair having final say about its content, but however, it is up to all involved to ensure meetings run effectively.
Some branches and groups may have a minute’s secretary who takes the minutes, ensuring they are accurate, all decisions are recorded and who is responsible for any actions agreed is clearly noted. Whoever is responsible for typing up the minutes should ensure that a copy is sent to the volunteering team at Francis Crick House.
The following information details good practice on how to run effective committee meetings such as guidance on facilitating discussion, data protection, location ideas for meetings, starting the meeting on time.
Fundraising is a central part of the work of our branches and groups. Not only in terms of the difference you are making to the lives of people living in your area in a very timely and practical way, but also by the contributions that you can make in response to specific project appeals, through annual transfers to central funds for care and research and extra donations that enable us to influence the care and treatment for people now and in the future.
Fundraising can be fun and rewarding, and as well as raising money, the activities are also ideal opportunities to raise awareness and raise the profile of your branch or group. The variety of ways to fundraise are limitless, but as competition for support increases, it is important to ensure that the energy and enthusiasm your branch or group invests in fundraising activities is focused and well planned. This will ensure that the time and resources used result in the best outcomes for your branch or group and ultimately achieve our aim of making a difference for people affected by MND, their carers families and friends.
Do contact and discuss your fundraising plans with your Regional Fundraiser who has lots of experience and knowledge, and is able to offer your branch/ group support, help and advice on any aspect of fundraising.
Whilst fundraising for the MND Association, you must abide by the Code of Fundraising Practice.
Raffles and lotteries
Motor Neurone Disease Association Raffles and Lotteries are licensed and regulated in Great Britain by the Gambling Commission under account number 4800. The Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP) change regularly. To keep up to date with any changes visit the Gambling Commission website.
To check our current licensed status here - account number 4800
In order to respond to the unprecedented situation created by the Covid-19 crisis we have created a set of tools for branches to and groups to quickly create their own emergency appeal.
The toolkit includes:
- A-Z of Winter Fundraising Ideas
- Suggested text for JustGiving pages
- Social Media Images - which could also be used on your JustGiving pages
- A Press Release template
We hope this toolkit will support you with your branch or group fundraising during this time. If you have any questions or need any support with this then please contact your Regional Fundraiser.
In November we hosted a fundraising webinar to provide hints and tips to fundraise over the festive period
The following documents provide guidance on some of the different ways you can raise funds for your branch or group. Some you may already be doing, and some you may want to try in the future.
Silence Speaks- access a range of guidance and resources here
Static collecting tins - guidelines and resources
A to Z of fundraising ideas
Materials order form
Street and store collections
Walk to d'Feet
Approaching clubs and societies
Gift aid (Gift Aid form)
Giving in memory
Tribute funds and fightback funds
Sponsor forms - a quick guide(a guide for those raising funds on your behalf)
There are many different online systems to try to see which works best for you. Here is our advice for using the platform Zoom for your committee and support meetings.
Zoom - Online Group Video Meetings
- Available online and as an app on Android and Apple Phones/iPad
- Free Basic Version available. Enhanced versions are available with prices from £11.99 per month. This could be paid for out of Branch/Group funds if required
- Video calls accept up to 100 people at once so you could meet ‘virtually’ with Branch/Group members.
- 1 member can create an account, set up a meeting and send a link by email inviting your Branch/Group members to join – Getting started Guides
- Please be aware– the Basic version limits meeting to 40 minutes – but another meeting can be set up to begin as the time limit ends if needed.
As with any video calling platform it is important to take steps to use Zoom safely and securely.
Below are some tips for maintaining the security of your next Zoom meeting.
When Setting Up Your Meeting...
- Password protect your meetings;
- Only allow signed-in users to participate;
- Don’t allow others to join before you, the host;
- Use the waiting rooms feature;
- Use a randomly generated meeting ID;
- Check for software updates.
During Your Meeting...
- Lock the meeting when everyone is present;
- Turn off participant screen sharing;
- Avoid file sharing;
TOP TIPS – whichever methods you use
- Let people know if you are sending them a link so they know it is safe to click as they may not recognise it
- If you are hosting using a new method, try it out with a few people first to check you understand how it works
- Try to take notes and circulate these as usual should anyone not be able to access these online gatherings
- Remember that not everyone will have a computer, tablet or smart phone. It is so important to stay connected, so do consider helping those without devices through your Quality of Life grants.
- As you keep in touch with people affected by MND you may learn about needs they have that require help from the Association locally or nationally. Please do keep the local team updated on such information, and if you are an AV please update the portal.
As a not for profit organisation we are all responsible for ensuring that we spend our money wisely; those funds raised by our branch and group network or monies raised centrally. These funds are prioritised to ensure we meet our key core objectives, providing care and improving the quality of life for those living with MND, investing in the very best research and also campaigning.
On average, branches and groups have contributed in excess of £2.5 million each year.
The changes in branch reporting will allow quarterly information to be gathered for our branches in addition to the information already received from our groups. This will allow for more accurate budgets and forecasts, something we have not historically be able to achieve until now.
The following guidance and resources may be of use to you when considering 'money matters' within your branch or group.
As volunteers you can get used to working within specific geographical areas for the benefit of local people affected by MND. However, there are also benefits to be gained from working in partnership with our neighbouring branches and groups.
By joining forces with other branches or groups you may be able to:
• raise awareness over a much greater geographical area, or attract the interest of the regional media
• joint fund equipment
• share expertise or pass on ideas that have been successful in your own branch/group area
• share volunteers, maybe for a fundraising event such as a street collection.
There are other examples of branches and groups who have worked together on various different activities, the following guidance will give some examples and suggestions on how to get started on partnership working.
Providing valuable local support for people living with MND, their families and carers is one of the most rewarding activities for your branch/group. Support can be offered in a variety of ways and whatever the size of your branch or group there is always something you can be doing to help those affected in your area. Some of the main ones are:
• providing opportunities for people with MND, their carers and families, to meet together informally through open meetings, get-togethers, garden centre meetings, socials and drop-ins
• helping to fund equipment and services that improve the quality of day to day living for people with MND which are otherwise unavailable through other sources
• producing informative and interesting newsletter to keep people aware of what your branch/group is doing in your area
• having a branch or group contact who proactively maintains contact with people with MND, their families and carers, ensuring they are informed of the work of the branch and the Association
• developing and maintaining a branch/group website and social media sites to keep in contact with your branch/group members and share what else is happening locally.
Whatever your branch/group chooses to do to offer support, good organisation and planning will help make all the difference.
A great way to recruit new volunteers is through word of mouth of existing volunteers. Through your volunteering activities you'll meet lots of people who are connected to our cause and may be interested in volunteering themselves.
The following guides will help you to recruit more volunteers locally.
Recruiting support volunteers
We have created some resources to help you recruit more support volunteers. Check out our toolkit.
We also have some new recruitment posters & flyers which you can use:
If you'd like to request any of these posters or flyers in a local printer format, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
More and more people now use the internet as their first port of call for researching information. We are therefore actively working to increase our network of branch and group websites in order that anyone wanting to know more about MND, the local support that is available, or even how they can get involved and contribute in some way can find the information at any time of day convenient to them.
Websites provide an opportunity to publicise your branch or group to a wide audience, most of who will have specifically searched for local information.
Social media is increasingly becoming part of our everyday lives and is the number one reason we use the internet. For many people, more than a quarter of the time spent online is spent checking and updating social media profiles.
Using social media increases your presence on the web, giving people more ways of finding out about your branch or group.
We have a range of guidance to help you develop an online and/ or social media presence.
Webpage guidelines (Setting up a branch/group page on our website)
Website guidelines (Setting up an external branch/group website)
Using social media
Volunteers using social media effectively