How to manage communications

Thank you for volunteering as an IoF Group Committee member. Your commitment is vital to us and we hope to work together in partnership to provide the best service to our members and service users.

This document aims to help you manage your outgoing communications with your contacts through emails, data, events, marketing and PR. It is important for us to maintain a consistent brand throughout all IoF-related communications, and we aim to continually improve standards. This document will be continually updated and improved as we create more resources to support you.

If you have not done so already, we recommend that one person in your committeeis made responsible for marketing and communications and they are the point of contact with the IoF marketing team regarding issues such as emails, event promotion and marketing/PR queries.

This document will cover the following topics:

  • Branding
  • Direct Email Communications
  • IoF monthly Groups E-Bulletins
  • Press Requests (including Third Sector)
  • Managing your data
  • File sharing in your Group
  • Marketing materials templates
  • Events
  • Social Media


We are working to ensure there is a consistent brand message throughout all areas of IoF, including our National, Regional and Special Interest Groups.

We have developed an easy to use, accessible set of brand guidelines for your information.

When having materials produced, please refer to the brand guidelines and/or use one of the templates provided. The IoF Marketing Team can offer support & advice if required.

  • Business card template
  • Headed paper template
  • Powerpoint template
  • Pop-up banner template

The above templates have been designed and your bespoke versions will be provided by the IoF marketing team on request.

Whilst IoF can create the design and suggest our recommended printer - Groups are responsible for covering the cost of the production of these materials.

Direct Email Communications

Email is the easiest way to communicate with your contacts. IoF can provide support and help you set up a Mail Chimp account for managing bulk email sending. We have provided a template email header. Please contact the IoF marketing department to create your bespoke design.

If you would like the IoF Marketing department to send your Group emails, you will need to provide the following at least 3 days in advance of your required send date:

  • Final copy
  • Email subject title
  • ‘From’ email
  • ‘From’ name
  • Any images

Please see the Timetable for communications requests for more information.

Opting out
Data protection laws require an ‘opt out’ option to be available on all email communications with your members. This is something that can be incorporated automatically into your email template through Mail Chimp.

When someone unsubscribes, please notify the Head of Membership Communities at IoF so the database can be updated accordingly.

For more information, including rules and best-practice guidelines regarding email marketing and communications, please see this guide from the ICO:

Please also see the IoF Policy Statement for more information on Data Protection.


In the interest of best-practice, we recommend sending one regular e-bulletin per month. Targeted email timing is most effective and more likely to be read by your contacts.

IoF has an email schedule and aim to spread out our main campaigns by a week each way. It is likely you will need to send additional emails sometimes, for example if you have an upcoming event. If you are unsure or would like any advice regarding email timing, please get in touch with our marketing team.

Email Design

In order to encourage your recipients to read your email communications, you need to create a good design or ‘template’.

Email communications are the primary tool for regular engagement with your contacts.It is important to think strategically and send useful and informative communications to encourage their further involvement and attention. Think about your content and features such as ‘Tweet of the month’ or ‘Featured member’ – See the IoF Groups E-Bulletin for ideas. You can also encourage member feedbackby asking members to share their experiences and learning with you.It is useful to have bold words and links to relevant information to highlight important points, and to include some imagery when you can.

IoF monthly ‘Groups e-Bulletin’

As a committee member, you should receive the monthly e-bulletin, put together at IoF. This is a great opportunity to share highlights and relevant news between the Groups. This is not seen as a marketing tool for your Group events,although we will include a short list of upcoming events linked to the relevant pages online.

Each month we will include a ‘Featured Group’ which will consist of an interview with one of the Committee’s officers.

If you have something of interest you would like to share in this monthly e-bulletin, please do get in touch. We are always interested to hear about cause-related topics and your fundraising endeavours. Please be aware we have limited space in the bulletin – Contact us as soon as possible (recommended at least two months in advance) if you have an item for inclusion.

Please see the Timetable for communications requests for more information.


Press Requests (including Third Sector)

You may want to release information regarding your events and fundraising activities of both your group as a whole, and individuals, online and to the media. The best way to do this is by preparing a press release including all the relevant information to distribute to any bloggers, journalists etc that you have in mind. There is a template press release which you can adapt according to your own subject matter.

As you know, IoF has a Third Sector page including 2 columns. We are keen to share our members’ experiences and the activities of our Groups through our various outputs including the Third Sector column. If you have something of particular interest that you feel could be relevant, please send your copy, no more than 400 words,to our Media Manager (

Third Sector is published on a Tuesday so we will need content 3 weeks in advance for any issue.

Please be aware that, due to a high volume of requests, we cannot guarantee inclusion in Third Sector but also have opportunities for features in our regular newsletters and our blog. Again, these are not promotional tools for events, but an opportunity to share the work of your group and its contacts.

Please see the Timetable for communications requests for more information.

Managing Your Data

IoF stores Group data centrally, keeping it up to date and cleansing it when required. Each month, we will email each group the most up to date version of the data for your communications.

For any information surrounding your data, or to request an up to date list, contact the Head of Membership Communications at IoF.

IoF will store your data safely under the requirements of the Data Protection Act and will not use it for central communications – other than where the individual has specifically opted-into receiving such communications.

File Sharing in your Group

You may need to share files within your group regularly, whether this is a press release, designs for a flyer or event information.

We highly recommend using Dropbox to do this. Dropbox (free for up to 2GB storage) is a file sharing program which can be downloaded to your computer and appears as a regular file, it can also be accessed easily from anywhere with an internet connection. Anyone who you share the file with also has access in this way and documents can be updated, added and removed easily and this will sync automatically. This prevents sending lots of email attachments and all your files can be saved in a location central to anyone who needs them.

You can either all have access to the same account, or have one ‘master’ account with a shared folder with anyone in your group.

Download: – There is also a helpful video on this page, explaining Dropbox & it’s uses.


In January, please complete the document ‘Events Calendar’ and return it to the Head of Membership Communities at IoF for all known events (a rough guide can be provided if dates etc not confirmed). Please return the completed template by the end of January each year. This will help prevent event clashes and help with our central scheduling.

The Head of Membership Communities will send out each February a complete list of all planned events (known and identified at that stage). This working document will be updated and circulated throughout the year.

Promoting Your Event

If your Group has an event coming up, such as a conference or networking evening, follow these steps to make sure you are promoting it fully:

  • List your event on the IoF website – do this as early as possible. A guide to web editing is provided. Please note: when uploading an event to the IoF website, you must change the expiration date to the day after your event finishes.
  • Send an email to your contacts. See ‘Email Communications’.
  • Send out regular notifications about the event through your social media platforms – a guide has been created.
  • Create a press release for the media. There is a template press release, which you can adapt according to your event.

Event Collateral

You may require collateral for your events, such as flyers and pop-up banners. Templates for all of the following items can be tailored to your Group. Please get in touch with the IoF Marketing department to create your bespoke design where applicable.

  • Pop up banner
  • Event flyer
  • Press release (See PR section)
  • Name badges
  • A4 folder template
  • Conference brochure template

Social Media

Social media is one of your most important marketing tools. We recommend Groups set up a Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn Group set up. For more information see our how to use social media guide.