Membership, Mailing and Response Services


Note: Pretty sure this is out of date info, as are many of the listings below …  bulk mailings (4,000 or more) can get discounts under Royal Mail’s Mailsort service if they are pre-sorted – mailing houses may keep quiet about this and keep the discount for themselves! Sometimes it can be worthwhile to set up your own Mailsort account – try 0345 950950 for your nearest Sales Centre.

Membership/Mailing list management

  • Membership Plus are ‘membership marketing communications specialists’. Membership cards, renewals, fulfilment, mailing, consultancy, creative services. Phone 01227 741066, email:
  • Lavenham Press Design and Print, mailing as well as membership management. TLG, Arbons House, Water St, Lavenham, Sudbury, Suffolk, CO10 9RN, phone 01787 249199.
  • Kingston Smith Have an ‘Association Management’ outsourcing division which does database and membership management. While it appears to be focused on trade associations, the firm also has more general ‘not-for-profit’ expertise, so worth a try. Phone 020 7304 4646, or the trade association contact Michael Trenchard on 01727 832261, email:
  • Electoral Reform Society (under Other services) also do subscription renewals, database management, membership surveys, appeals management, mailing services etc.
  • Dataforce The whole bundle of membership admin and more, in just about any combination. They have handled appeal responses for the likes of Oxfam and WWF including call handling, banking, renewals processing, National Trust magazine mail-outs etc. but are interested in smaller scale too. Phone 01604 673800.

Mainly Mailings and Marketing

There are a large number of ‘Mailing Houses’ who will take a mailing list and process it in various ways. Some with voluntary sector experience include:

  • ITO, a mental health charity. Mailing, response fulfilment, packing and distribution. Lydstep Terrace, Bedminster, Bristol, BS3 1DR, phone 0117 966 8491.
  • Adare has long experience working with charities, such as RSPB. Mailing services, printing etc.

Slightly different but worth noting, is L-Mail, where you can send send letters to any postal address via the Internet.

For email newsletter management and the like, see Internet and Web Services.

Response handling

Coping with response to appeals or the promotion of a special event or membership drive can really strain the resources of many groups. Often part of one of the above services, and is noted where known, but some of the banks will also provide the service (whether postal or phone, possibly even internet), checking cheques or other payment and passing on or processing information received with it. The Co-op Bank is one such.

  • Two-Ten Communications, phone 01937 840210.
  • Tokenhelp.

Other membership services

Elections, ballots. Electoral Reform Services Ballot services for unions and other membership organisations. Free seminars too. 33 Clarendon Road, London, N8 0NW, phone 020 8365 8909, email:

Ballot boxes. Try Shaw’s election supplies.

Event Services

Professional organisers of conferences, outdoor events etc. Venues, Online services.

Conference and events organisers

  • Event Management Systems Third off for charities, according to a scribbled note!
  • Green & Away ‘organisers of environmentally sound conference and events’. PO Box 40, Malvern, WR14 1YS, phone 0870 460 1198.

Outdoor events and activity organisers

  • Across the Divide organise charity challenge events all over the world including the UK. Phone 01460 30456.
  • Charity Challenge Run expeditions themselves (similar to Classic Tours) which charities can benefit from, but may be a source of ideas too.
  • Classic Challenge (was Classic Tours) Originators of worldwide charity challenges (treks, cycling) since 1992.
  • Skyline Professional events organisers of adventurous fundraising events, UK and worldwide.


Some of the voluntary organisations under Local Contacts, particularly in the larger urban areas, have their own spaces for hire, or info on other facilities. Many universities are set up to provide conference facilities, often making use of student accommodation out of term time – too many to list here, so do a web search on ‘university conference facilities’ or similar.

  • Carronvale House, the Boys’ Brigade Scottish Headquarters, is also a conference, training and activity centre. Residential accommodation and sports facilities too. In Larbert, Stirlingshire, between Edinburgh and Glasgow.
  • Bore Place (was Commonwork Centre) Kent Residential/non-residential conference centre run by an educational charity with an environment programme. Commonwork Land Trust, Bore Place, Chiddingstone, Edenbridge, Kent, TN8 7AR, phone 01732 463255.
  • Hillscourt In the attractive Lickey Hills on the south western edge of Birmingham, owned and operated by teachers union NASUWT. Hillscourt Conference Centre, Rose Hill, Rednal, Birmingham, B45 8RS, phone 0121 457 8370, email:
  • Hothorpe Hall, Theddingworth, Leicestershire. 85% of groups booking are from Charities, Churches, Local Authorities or National Health, and they aim to provide value for money but quality facilities. Theddingworth, Leics, LE17 6QX, phone 01858 881500, email:
  • King’s Park Conference Centre is a Christian-run venue in Northampton, catering for groups of up to 150 for residential and day conferences.
  • Knuston Hall Northants Residential conference and training facilities in a 17th century manor house in 40 acres, used by the likes of Oxfam, Help the Aged, Victim Support. Knuston Hall, Irchester, Wellingborough, Northants, NN29 7EU, phone 01933 312104, email:
  • Quaker Meeting House, Cardiff. Three rooms, from small to large, available at competitive rates for community groups.
  • Tenants Hall, Middleton, Leeds.


  • Avonmouth House (part of etc venues) Used by various charities and housing bodies. 6 Avonmouth Street, London, SE1 6NX, phone 020 7378 1547, email:
  • Coin Street Conference Centre in the heart of Waterloo.
  • The Gestalt Centre Conference, Training, Meeting and Coaching Rooms from £20 per hour, 10% discount for registered charities. Near Old Street tube station.
  • King’s Fund, which provides resources for the health and social care sector, has a venue which hosts small meetings and seminars to formal conferences and presentations, in central London.
  • London Youth Five minutes from Old Street tube, flexible meeting space on the ground floor and fully wheelchair accessible. Projector, WiFi connection, Dedicated phone line available. Phone 020 7549 8810.
  • Mary Ward House Conference and exhibition centre with 15 different sized rooms for meetings etc. Willing to consider special rates for voluntary and community organisations, are now linked to the Simon Community. 5-7 Tavistock Place, London, WC1H 9SN, phone 020 7387 9681.
  • One Park Crescent conference centre.
  • Resource for London.
  • Royal Horticultural Halls Big stuff, but connected with a charity (RHS). 80 Vincent Sq, London, SW1P 2PE, phone 020 7828 4125.
  • The Wesley Hotel (was Methodist International) in Euston area.
  • Westminster Central Hall Has smaller rooms as well as large ones, suitable for a variety of events, meetings. Costs vary month by month. Storey’s Gate, Westminster, SW1H 9NH, phone 020 7222 8010, email:
  • ORT House Conference Centre. Connected with Pavilion Publishing (who produce health/social care training materials, and also organise events in this area). Discounts for charities. 126 Albert Street, Camden, NW1 7NE.

Venue finders, agencies, directories

Venue finder services usually operate by charging a commission to the venue on any bookings handled, even when they advertise as providing a free service.

General, commercial

  • Conference Consultancy Provides a venue finding and booking service.
  • Focus Venue Finders Has worked with Barnardo’s, Oxfam, Cancer Research UK.
  • Venues UK venues directory.
  • A service from Conference Blue & Green, there is an A to Z index and regional search facility, info on special offers.
  • Evcom, the body for event and visual communications professional, has a members list.

Specialist, voluntary sector

  • Christian Residential Network is the membership association of Christian residential venues across the UK.
  • RentaHostel It is possible to rent some Youth Hostels for exclusive use – now only in  Scotland?

Online events services and tools

Booking, ticketing, events management etc.

Running an Event

Important note: this page is definitely NOT a complete statement of the legal issues – we only give pointers. Check out our Legal Matters page for further help in this area.

Events Diaries

Year Ahead (was Awareness Campaign Register) has a calendar of all campaigns logged with them, to help avoid clashes or fit in with existing events. However, access requires a subscription.

Fundraising UK has some information on upcoming events.

Where Can We Go, while a general ‘family events’ listing site, encourages community and other charity events to be added.

General tips

‘The event isn’t over until you’ve packed up and got back to base’. Too many events fall into chaos at the end due to premature celebrations by the organisers.

Checklist from Open University ‘Winning Resources and Support’ – SCHEMES:
– Space
– Cash
– Helpers
– Equipment
– Materials
– Expertise
– Systems

Start from the event date and work backwards in planning the lead up. Can you realistically carry out several tasks in parallel, or do you need more volunteers or time (or money to pay overtime, outside agencies etc)?

Don’t forget contingency planning – ‘what if …..’ You can’t anticipate everything, but a way to deal with a broad range of problems should be thought through early on. What is crucial to success, and how do you ensure this?

If your organisation is ever going to run any other event, a ‘debrief’ is very helpful, within a few days of the event finishing. What went wrong, but also what went right – it is easy to assume that the latter happened naturally and end up not giving these items enough attention next time.

Although it is helpful to divide up the work, it also needs to be co-ordinated by one person or a very active (and small) committee.


Taking Money

Don’t forget that there are strict rules about collecting money in public places, with charities having to be particular careful. While police/local authorities may turn a blind eye to small-scale bending, it is usually better to do the homework. See Charity Commission website for leaflet CC20 – Charities and Fund-Raising.

If you are running a more sophisticated event and have the potential to process credit card payments, note that it is now possible to get hold of hand-held electronic terminals which connect via the mobile phone network. Various options out there, but changing, so best to do a web search.

A leaflet from HM Revenue and Customs, Fundraising events : exemption for Charities and Other Qualifying Bodies  – note leaflet CWL4 not available from new web section at November 2014 – sets out the conditions for direct tax and VAT exemptions that apply to fundraising events.


There are quite a few regulations around ‘public’ events. Unless your event is by invite only (and even then you ought to make sure on the exact status), it is likely to fall within this. Possible issues:

  • Sale of alcohol. Will require application to magistrates court – check out via local council. The common tactic of selling raffle tickets and winning a ‘free’ drink is legally highly dubious!
  • Public entertainment licence. Check with local authority. May also require Music licence – see Legal Matters.
  • Lotteries. You need to register with the local authority.
  • Street collections. Ditto.
  • Food hygiene registration if you are preparing food ‘on site’. Try Environmental Health section of local council.
  • Fire regulations are generally the responsibility primarily of the venue management. Hirers may be required to observe particular rules, or notify them if certain hazards are present (e.g. fuel for a barbecue?).
  • Street activities will probably need clearance from the police, and maybe the highways authority (local council) too.
  • Also see Risks below.


Village halls and the like wishing to show films need a licence from the local authority. There are a number of exemptions to this, including:

  • if there is no charge or private gain
  • if the premises are used for no more than six films a year
  • if you are a non profit making organisation with a Home Office exemption certificate
  • if you form a non-profit making film or video society whose performances are only open to members

Copyright and royalty permissions are necessary even if a licence is not required.


The Theatres Act 1968 states that where a local authority is satisfied that a play is to be performed for a charitable or other like purpose in respect to one or more particular occasions no fee is payable for a licence. This means in practice that if a play is to be performed for charitable purposes and if dates of performances are given in advance, no fee will be required. However, in the case of an annual licence, there would be a fee payable because it relates to unspecified performances throughout the year.

(The above two items extracted from June 01 Newsline from Community First H&W. They may well be out of date, due to the Licensing Act 2005.)


Centre for Accessible Environments has produced a guide, Make your conference accessible, but now doesn’t seem to be on the web site (March 07).

Also see Admin page on Access and other premises issues.


The usual marketing checklist – who’s the audience (people), how do you get to them (place), what is the attraction (product) and what do they have to do to participate (price)? Don’t forget to give contact details, meeting or kick offs times and how to get there. Obvious but often something is missed off – get a second person to check over what has been produced before it goes to printers/local newspaper etc.

See Marketing page.


See the Insurance information page, or go direct to Insurance Services page for brokers.

A ‘duty of care’ is placed on anybody organising an event. This means looking at activities for possible health and safety problems for participants, organisers and bystanders. While challenge and other (fundraising) physical activities have obvious risks, everything from meetings in badly maintained buildings to crushes around celebrity appearances have their own unique issues. Step back and consider the (reasonable) possibilities, and plan to prevent or manage them.

The Home Office (with wider input) produced (summer 06) ‘The Good Practice Safety Guide for small and sporting events taking place on the highway, roads and public places’ so that such events are as safe as possible for the public and participants. Its 72 pages has specific sections on charity stunts, carnivals, charity walks, cycle races and other useful material. No longer available from website, May 2010?

Do you need first aid cover? Typically provided at charity events by volunteers from St Johns Ambulance, British Red Cross etc, but there is usually some charge for the service. There may be a commercial service available e.g. Primary Ambulance Services in Essex.

Live music booking agency Function Central have put together “A Definitive Guide to Health and Safety Requirements for Event Planning“. Some of this will only apply to larger or more complex events, but plenty of food for thought.

Code of Practice

The Chartered Institute of Fundraising has various Codes of Fundraising Practice which cover running events – outdoor, charity challenge etc. They have also produced a leaflet with the Association of National Park Authorities on Charity Challenge Events but no longer on the web site?

More Resources

Society of Event Organisers run various seminars etc. on how to organise exhibitions, conferences etc. Phone 01767 316255

See Event Services page for ticketing, event booking etc.