Local volunteering

This section offers information and guidance on hosting and promoting your branch or group meetings, whether they be virtual meetings, support meetings for people affected by MND, or committee meetings.

For any meetings, please refer to the below guidance

When communicating with volunteers, group members or other supporters in your area, please see our guidance on protecting and respecting personal data, including information on how to send emails.

Support meetings

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.

Hosting support meetings is a great way for people affected by MND to come together, offer friendship, support and information.

Committee meetings

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.


Annual general meetings (AGMs)

Holding an AGM isn't a requirement for branches or groups but they may choose to hold an AGM if they wish.

Holding an AGM 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.

If branches or groups choose not to hold an AGM we ask that an impact report is produced which outlines the activities of the branch or group over the previous year and for this to be shared with local members.

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.

The following guidance and resources will help you with planning and running your branch AGM.


Forms/ Resources

Virtual meetings

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.

Our introduction to video platforms

Zoom - Online Group Video Meetings

Our guide to getting started with Zoom

  • 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.

Our guide to making a call with Zoom

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.