Organising your local group

As a local group organiser, you’re part of a growing network of Society of Authors members across the UK and beyond organising meet-ups and online events that provide valuable opportunities for writers, illustrators and literary translators to build connections in their local area.

The local group organiser role

As the local organiser, you will need to:

  • Plan and host your online Zoom meet-ups.
  • Send us the meet-up details so that we can inform members with plenty of lead time – ideally a month in advance.
  • Invite, liaise with and, if appropriate, agree expenses and/or fees to external guest speakers.

During the first group meet-up, it’s a good idea to talk about what members would like to get out of the group and how often they would like to meet. You can’t please everyone, but it’s important that online meet-ups work for you as the local group organiser. You could also ask if there are other members who would be willing to help organise the group – many hands make light work and you can take it in turns to host or lead a session. Join our Facebook discussion group to speak to fellow organisers about what has worked for their groups.

The Society of Authors is committed to promoting professional behaviour throughout all its activities, and to tackling and preventing bullying, harassment and racism in all their forms. As a local group organiser, we ask you to be aware of our Dignity and Respect policy.

Keeping in touch

Attendees who are happy to share their contact details can post them in the Zoom chat box. After the meeting, you can send round a follow up email to those who would like to keep in touch in between local group meetings.

The SoA can set up a closed Facebook discussion group for SoA members to connect, share news and discuss issues in between meetings.

All details about upcoming local group events are posted on our website and emailed out to members in the area. There’s no need for you to keep your own mailing list as the Society of Authors handles all local group communications from our central mailing list which is kept up to date with new members and leavers. Any member details you keep in the form of spreadsheets or mailing lists may breach GDPR regulations and leave the Society of Authors vulnerable to investigation and a fine.

Every local group is organised differently, so the most practical approach to retain a list of contact details for the purposes of organising a local group (planning meet-ups, arranging member talks etc) is to ask people for permission and to be clear about how their data will be used. It is transparent, enables you to keep an informal list and, most importantly, it keeps the people on the list in control of how their personal information is used. Using a mailing platform like Mailchimp handles GDPR for you and allows people to unsubscribe or change their preferences.

Please note: Zoom stores names and email addresses of meeting attendees. By using the SoA Local Groups Zoom account, you agree to not collect, use or save attendee contact details unless you have express permission from the attendee to contact them after the meeting.