Writers’ Groups need somewhere, to find useful information that helps set up and maintain their club. The intention of this page is to provide a range of useful resources, from papers of interest to clubs, such as how do you go about setting up a new writing group, sources of financial support, a standard constitution and some ideas around setting up an annual programme.
This is very much your page, so ideas, papers and links to resources are welcomed. Please contact Marc Sherland who will manage the information provided. Email
Starting a new writing group : first of all gather together anyone you know who wants to support this endeavour. You don't need a lot of people to start a new group, two or three keen and adventurous souls is all it takes.
Meeting place : whilst it is always preferable to find a public space, such as a room in a library, community centre, pub, church or other hall, to get started a living room would do, especially whilst numbers are low. As the group gets larger the need for a public space increases.
Advertising : Let People Know - Download this poster template and add your club info.
Download the poster
getting the word out there is vital, word of mouth is a great way to let people know the club has started, but notices on community boards is a good next step. Something simple giving the meeting place, time and day and purpose of the group. Perhaps add a few pithy comments about how much members enjoy the club and examples of the programme.
Developing a Constitution : it soon becomes necessary to adopt a constitution, especially if you want official recognition, to open a bank account and to apply for grants. To this end we have prepared a standard constitution, which can quickly be adapted to your needs and we have checked with the staff at the grant making body 'Awards For All', that it fits their current requirements.
Download the standard Constitution
Charitable Status - Some Writers' Groups want to become a charity. Charitable law has changed in Scotland and there are a couple of 'levels' of charitable status, one designed for large charitable organisations and one (SCIO) for smaller groups. There is good advice on the following website : http://www.oscr.org.uk/charities/becoming-a-charity
Essentially the issues tend to be around oversight and accountability v. perceived benefits.
The benefits are around being able to apply for charitable grants and monies from trusts and having the ability to raise money through charitable donations and activities. Some councils may charge less for a charity which is meeting in their premises, though this is by no means certain.
The arguments against charitable status tend to be around the requirement to provide (on demand and by arrangement) fiscal and other proofs of charitable purpose being fulfilled. It is the legal/administrative burden that this places on groups that tends to put people off (some submissions are required on key dates and there are penalties for groups not complying), as well as there sometimes being a requirement that the internal structure of the group decision making structure having to change to conform to a recognizable form (Directors, Trustees etc.), as well as changes to the governing documents of the group (constitution, articles of association etc.).
Once granted a charity must bear its Scottish Charity number on all correspondence and documentation.
All in all the matter needs to be weighed up carefully. Some groups make clear in grant applications that whilst they are not a charity, they operate within the ideal of charitable purposes and this is often enough for the grant making organisation.
Raising Funds and Resources - Every group gets to the point where funding becomes an issue, whilst we would encourage self fundraising activities by the group, some projects need more money than self funding can easily achieve. The attached paper gives some useful sources of funding bodies and direct links to their services.
Group Fundraising - Raising funds is a good communal activity for any group. It usually plays to the strengths of individual members, those good at doing, making or organising things and builds comradeship. It is always most effective when the fundraising effort chimes with the usual activities of the club or group.
Download the Group Fundraising Paper
Savings Club - The SAW Conference is a wonderful opportunity for Affiliated Clubs and their Members to get together with other writers in a setting which becomes a fantastic learning and social environment. It cannot be overemphasised just how valuable we think such an opportunity is for aspiring writers. We believe the negotiated Hotel costs to be extremely good value for money, however we are aware that some writers find the Conference costs difficult to raise. This paper hopes to suggest a variety of ways in which clubs can help, especially by introducing a SAVINGS CLUB.
Download the Savings Club Paper