Beenleigh Scout Group Communication Plan
Overview • What is a Communications Plan? • Email Communications • Text Message Communications • Newsletter Communications • Media Publication Communications • Website/Blog Communications • Facebook Communications • PinterestCommunications • Fundraising Communications • Event/Activity Communications • Section Night Communications • Awards/Certificates of Appreciation • Meeting Minutes & Agendas • Invoicing • Business Cards
What is a Communications Plan? A communication plan describes • Objectiveswhat you want to accomplish with your association communications • Goalsways in which those objectives can be accomplished • Audiences to whom your association communications will be addressed • Tools and Timetablehow you will accomplish your objectives • Evaluationhow you will measure the results of your program
What is a Communications Plan? Communications include all written, spoken, and electronic interaction with association audiences. A communication plan encompasses objectives, goals, and tools for all communications, including but not limited to: • periodic print publications; • online communications; • meeting and conference materials; • media relations and public relations materials; • marketing and sales tools; • legal and legislative documents; • incoming communications, including reception procedures and voice mail content; • committee and board communiques; • corporate identity materials, including letterhead, logo, and envelopes; • surveys; • certificates and awards; • annual reports; • signage; • speeches; • invoices; and • business cards.
What is a Communications Plan? Guiding principles To ensure that all stakeholders in our Scouting group are communicated to in an effective and timely manner to ensure that the stakeholders are fully informed and ensure they feel part of the group. • When attending to any form of communication adhere to the following principles • be authentic • listening to what has been asked, • respond to comments and questions • converse naturally • provide content that focuses on quality over quantity • avoiding link spam (only a third of posts should be direct links) • avoid brining in personal feelings or judgements about the person in the communication
What is a Communications Plan? Audience • parents • youth members • Group Executive Committee • Group Leader • Region Support Team • other Section leaders • other Group member and leaders • external groups supporters and sources
Email Communications E-mail can be a useful and valuable tool of communication in our personal and professional lives. However, it also has potential pitfalls, which we must seek to avoid if we are going to use it effectively. • Utilise basic good, interpersonal skills. Communicating positively, constructively, respectfully and in a timely manner. Practice the following: • Empathising • Listening • Looking for common ground • Repeating/rephrasing what others say • Refrain from attacking • Avoid using a “tone’ when writing • Avoid pre-mature judgment.
Email Communications Guiding Principles • Check your emails regularly • It is not acceptable to ignore communications as it can lead to constant follow up emails and direct contact at meetings. • Use short, specific descriptions in subject lines. • Use appropriate greetings or salutations, as in face-to-face communication: • Try to use less than 65 characters in a line and no more than 25 lines of text • End lines with a carriage return • Use appropriate grammar, spelling, capitalisation, and punctuation. • Choose language carefully. • Don't blurt a message impulsively. • Re-read messages and use spelling, grammar checks before sending. • Confirm, empathize, and sympathize in e-mail communication. • Consider the correspondent. • Practice civility, utilise good manners, and use please or thank you. • Consider re-writing or not sending a message, which is not fair, honest, or constructive. • Protect against computer viruses, which can be delivered through e-mail. • Protect against from unwanted e-mail by using a spam blocker or blocked senders list. • Don't send unwanted, unsolicited e-mail messages. • Be very careful in forwarding messages. • The truth of alarmist e-mails, such as rumours, virus warnings, pleas for help, prayer requests • Use appropriate closings. • Place messages for references in well-organized folders. • Carefully decide when to use e-mail and/or the telephone.
Email Communications Tactics • Highlight key points through the use of italics, bold print or underlines. • Where possible address the matter directly within the context of their email. • Treat each email on its own merit • When contacting outside sources ensure that you explain why you are contacting them and what you are seeking • Prompt responding to any type of message shows that you are on top of your game.
Text Message Communications Text messaging has been a saviour in the world of communications. Conveys ideas in verbally challenging in loud places Great way of constantly keeping in touch and informing people of interesting titbits of the day which don’t require a long phone call. Text messaging can be bliss as this is where the build-up of friendships and good relationships. EtiquetteBe aware of messaging wrong things at the wrong time in the wrong situations to the wrong people. A few words gone wrong and tied with the wrong timing can really create a lot of misunderstanding. Use guiding principles of texting.
Text Message Communications Guiding principles • Capture The Tone • You Can’t Text Message Everything • Avoid The Complicated Reply • The ‘k’ Reply • DON’T CAP IT! • Emoticon It Well • Snazzy Slang You Should Avoid • While In Others Company • As Bad As Drunk Driving • Give It A Break: • Turning Down The ‘Beeps’ • Drunken Texting: • Don’t Text Just Anytime:
Text Message Communications Tactics • Abbreviations • Proper Language • Honesty • Relevant Value
Newsletter Communications One of the most cost effective ways to market and promote the Scout Group is via newsletter. It gives the group an opportunity to promote and feature the good, new and interesting things that our we are doing. By sending out a newsletter full of info about involvement in various activities – camps, events, business, civic and otherwise, including any ground-breaking news or significant achievements by youth members and group successes, we are not “hard-selling” our prospect, we are “soft-selling them.” This approach tacitly demonstrates the group’s successes and what people are missing out on by NOT being involved.
Newsletter Communications Reasons to Feature Your Client Successes in Your Newsletter:People love to see their names and faces in print. • People love to see news stories about themselves and their group . • Use the newsletter as a forum to feature clients that use your company’s product or service. • Include a picture about them in an “article you write” about how your product or service helped to “improve or enhance a situation or circumstance” for that client.” • Let your clients be your sales people, trumpet their success, let them spread the enthusiasm for “what you’ve done for them” and watch the phone ring. • Newsletters have great shelf life • They are frequently passed from one person to another and can be included along with your other sales and marketing materials. • Flexible, adaptable, modifiable, and always customized, newsletters do more than carry your company message, they practically become a living and breathing sales person for you and your company. • Basically we are selling the group to everyone and building on providing a common understanding of what we do and when we do it.
Newsletter Communications Guiding principles • Provide a newsletter at least once a month on what the group has been up to. • Hand out on parade and emailed to all members • Add to the website for wider marketing • Determine the purpose of the newsletter. inform, educate, entertain, share, any of dozens of other possibilities. • The newsletter should contain:Group Update, Sections Update, Fundraising , Event advertising, Supporter page. • Draft out a newsletter as planned through the steps above. • Pass the draft newsletter out to trusted family members, friends and colleagues for critique and offer ideas and suggestions for the document’s improvement. Review the returning comments, taking them into consideration in finalizing the newsletter’s design. • Use colour in photos and clip art whenever possible. • The masthead of the newsletter should not take up more than one-quarter of the page. • Use font styles, types and sizes that are easy to read. • Use no more than three different font styles within a single newsletter. • Add descriptive captions to photographs that say "who" is in the photo and "what" is happening. • Make sure photos are large enough to see. Otherwise, don't bother printing them at all. • Proofread the document thoroughly before printing and sending it out. • Edit to improve the quality and readability of the document. • Avoid tiny print that cannot be read by those with poor eyesight. • Avoid too much of anything--too much print, too many graphics or too many charts and graphs. • Avoid using light colours for print. It will make it more difficult to read. • Don't print photos that are too busy or hard to visualize. They will do nothing to improve the look of the overall document. • Ensure that we have explicit permission or have captured who can and cannot have images published for legal reasons.
Newsletter Communications Tactics • The newsletter has a design that’s engaging to the eye and draws in your audience. Our logo is quickly and easily identifiable. • It has a design that is consistent with your website. • It should be easy to skim with short paragraphs, bullet points and most importantly white space.. • Clearly identifies the topics, the topic line should stand out. • Incorporate a theme in your newsletter.
Media Publication Communications Promoting Scouting via the various media outlets is a great way to get your group advertised in your local area. Events that are noteworthy should be seen as chance to send out feel good messages about what we do.
Media Publication Communications Guiding principles • Contact the Marketing & Promotions Manager to advise you intend sending out a media release. • Do this at least a week in advance where possible. • By contacting Marketing & Promotions you are assisting to ensure Scouts are seen to be conducting themselves in a professional manner. • Where needed the Marketing & Promotions Manager can assist you with editing your release and assist with contacts at your local paper. • It is always important to remember that your local paper may be the local paper of one of your neighbouring Scout Groups and we want to avoid multiple requests to a media outlet at the same time. • Please always advise Branch prior to contacting mainstream print Media eg.The Courier-Mail, Radio Stations or any State or National Television programs. • Media release templates which you can download, to assist you in writing media releases. Media release templates will be up-dated regularly. If there isn't an appropriate media release template for your proposed news story please fill out a A72 - Media Release Request Form • Obtain parental / guardian consent for the Scouts to participate in a media, photo or filming opportunities This can be done by having parents/guardians fill out a A73 - Publicity Authorisation Form.pdf Forms must be held by Groups in case verification is required by Branch at a later date. It is important to remember some members circumstances do not permit them to take part in these activities. • Receiving a request from the mediaIf you receive a request from the media any National or State media outlets (eg, The Courier-Mail, Radio Stations or any Television Stations) please refer these to the Marketing & Promotions Manager in the first instance. The Chief Commissioner is the only spokesperson for the Association and all media comments for mainstream media must go through the Scouts Queensland Marketing and Promotions Manager- Shaun Sandilands 07 3721 5712.
Media Publication Communications Tactics • Ensure that photos are available • Ensure media is contacted a minimum of two weeks in advance and provided details of the event and significance to the group • Ensure all papers are available at the den when the publication is ready to ensure distribution to parents outside of the delivery area • Provide a clear statement and engage with Branch where needed.
Website/Blog Communications Blogs are a great resource to provide a continuous stream of information, often information not delivered via news release or other means and typically focused on a niche topic. Blogs are more conversational and stream-of-consciousness, frequently linking to other sources and incorporating photos, video, charts and other visuals. Blogs enable readers to comment on individual posts and engage in conversation. The Group maintains a website/blog site which has several active blogs focused on activities of the group, sections and events topics. The blogs are authored by group leader and section leaders to promote what is happening at the den.
Website/Blog Communications Guiding principles • To ensure that our audience is kept up to date on activities within the group. • In general, activity is focused on: • being authentic • listening to fans/followers • responding to comments and questions • conversing naturally with fans/followers • providing content that focuses on quality over quantity • avoiding link spam (only a third of posts should be direct links) • The group already have a solid group of followers and continue to increase in followers and gain new audiences with increases in activity and changes in tactics.
Website/Blog Communications Tactics • Blogs can be great way to push out information, but also to expose the Group brand. Proper blogging techniques can help gain and keep readers. • Consistent updatesTo keep readers actively checking the blog, it needs to stay updated and consistent. A minimum of 1 to 2 postings per week is preferred, with more as needed. Having a set schedule for posting can also help (such as Monday, Wednesday, Friday), as readers know when to expect new content and will start to visit on those days for the latest post. • Timely and useful topicsKeep posts relevant and timely. If commenting on a hot topic, do so in a timely fashion, as interest may wane. Timeless topics are good as well, as is any useful information that readers can directly benefit from and share with others. • Be responsiveOne major feature of almost every blog is the ability for readers to comment on posts. Be responsive to these comments and show readers that they are being heard by commenting, answering questions and following up on requests. • Keep writing shortIdeally, blogs are not a long form of writing and posts should be quick and to-the-point, as well as contain other useful multimedia such as photos and embedded video. • Link and cross promoteOne of the best referring sources for new readers is the blogosphere (the collection of all bloggers). Actively link to other bloggers and their posts, and in return they may do the same, helping to increase traffic and audience
Facebook Communications Facebook is a social networking website which allows users to: • Become “fans” of pages • Follow the page’s activity • Share the page’s content • Interact by commenting on the posts. • Set up Pages by businesses or organizations and used to post news, events, links, photos and video. • Customise usability of pages. • The Group maintains a several Facebook pages which are used to share news, events, links, photos and videos that highlight past, current and future items, as well as a look at the group, such as the people and activities behind it. The pages are authored by group leader and section leaders to promote what is happening at the den
Facebook Communications Guiding principles Dos: • Message Private Matters Instead of Posting on Wall • Be Mindful Of What You Post • Call Rather Than Post Personal News • Reply To Comments Especially If They Are Questions • Avoid Posting Comments On Every Post • Bonus: Be Careful Of Your Tone
Facebook Communications Guiding Principles Don’ts: • Make Friend Requests To Strangers • Tag Your Friends In ‘Unglam’ Shots • Overshare Yourself • Vent About Your work • Post Chain Status Updates • Bonus: Flame Others
Facebook Communications Tactics One goal of the group is to provide a voice or personality through the use of Facebook, offering a way for our members and others to engage and talk back to group members. The Facebook page is also used to showcase a “behind-the-scenes” look at group, including videos and photos of activities and events. Audience-relevant news and information is also posted or shared. • Engage followers.Answer questions and provide direction to resources, “talk” with fans and provide feedback, comments or general conversation • Photo/video posting:Use of the various video- and photo-sharing • Custom tabs:used to highlight particular information • Highlight news/activities/events:Share information and links for upcoming events and activities • Push media mentions: links to stories are shared to promote the brand in third party outlets • Highlight trends/topics: hot topics that are relevant to the audience are promoted and shared • Brand cross-promotion: share news and resources from other liked activities • Community page interaction: community pages relevant to the group are identified, using keywords that pushes the content
Pinterest Communications Pinterest lets you organise and share all the beautiful things you find on the web.People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favourite recipes. Best of all, you can browse pinboards created by other people. Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.
Pinterest Communications Guiding Principles The guidelines below are based on collective input from people using Pinterest. These are suggestions to help keep our community positive and to ensure that every pin is useful to other people. • Be RespectfulPinterestis a community of people. We know that individual tastes are personal, but please be respectful in your comments and conversations. • Be AuthenticPinterestis an expression of who you are. We think being authentic to who you are is more important than getting lots of followers. Being authentic will make Pinterest a better place long-term. • Credit Your SourcesPins are the most useful when they have links back to the original source. If you notice that a pin is not sourced correctly, leave a comment so the original pinner can update the source. Finding the original source is always preferable to a secondary source such as Image Search or a blog entry. • Report Objectionable ContentWe do not allow nudity, hateful content, or content that encourages people to hurt themselves. If you find content that violates our Terms of Service or Acceptable Use Policy you can submit the content for review by pushing the ”Report Content“ link. • Ensure Permission to Publish/legally able tooWe need to ensure all photos are vetted and we ensure those on our books who cannot have photos published will be exposed
Fundraising Communications Fundraising is a key component in helping get the group up and running and ensure we have enough funds to cover the expenses and to minimise the cost to parents. With any fundraising activity there has to be promotion of the event as well as sourcing contacts from businesses to assist in the fundraising efforts. To ensure that we are promoting the group and events effectively the following guidelines have been defined.
Fundraising Communications Guiding principles Basic guidelines which guards against potential misinterpretation, confusion, and irritation. • Decide what your fundraiser will be • Add a fundraising component to an existing event. • Get sponsored to complete a physical/sporting challenge or to shave your head or moustache. • Seek approval from the Group Support Committee • Ensure that the fundraiser is in the spirit of Scouting and does not offend, involve children selling raffle tickets or direct gambling. • Decide on a date • Plan well in advance. • Ensure the date doesn’t clash with other important dates such as public holidays and similar events. • Ensure the date is advised and on a calendar and approved to run • Select a venue • Consider attendance numbers. • Amenities. • Council permits may be required for events in parks, public areas or outside shop fronts. Contact the appropriate council for more information. • Donations and Sponsorship • Don’t forget to ask local businesses to support your event or activity. • Donations may come in the form of cash, products or services. • The donation of products and services will help you keep the event costs down. • Promotion • Think about how you will promote your event to your target market. • Ask local business to put up posters in their shop windows. • Place ads on websites and e-newsletters if possible. • Scouting logos to be present on any handout material. • Budget • It is essential that you set a realistic budget and stick to it. • Brainstorm all the costs involved and get quotes in the planning phase so there are no surprises. • TimelineSet a realistic timeline to help you effectively prepare for your event. • Don’t forget to delegate tasks to helpers and follow up to ensure they are completed. • Factor in time for approval from the Foundation and for permits for raffles etc. (if applicable). • Apply • Once you have thought through all aspects of your event, it is essential that you gain permission from the Foundation before you start fundraising. The application form is at the end of this document. Allow two weeks turnaround time. • Don’t forget to also apply for raffle permits and council permits for parks and food handling if applicable. • Enjoy • Organising a fundraiser can be hard work but it is rewarding. Don’t forget to enjoy the experience! • Follow up • It is important to follow up people and businesses after your event to thank them for their donations. • Gather feedback from your donors and supporters to find out what you did well and how you can improve for next time. • Don’t forget to inform the media of your success. In consultation with the Group Support Committee, inform the media about your event and provide pictures. Let them know the date for next year’s event.
Fundraising Communications Tactics • Posters/Flyers • Posters for the event should be visible in the following timelines: • Den: At least 2 months prior to the event, where possible • Community boards: one month prior to the event • Shop notices: 1 month prior to the event • Posters should be bright, and have A3 and A4 sizes available • Posters should be designed with in A3 format as this can be reduced to A4 without losing quality. • Posters should contain basic information about the event Cost , Location, Time, Date, Tag line, What it is, Scouting Logo • Calendars • Ensure that a calendar of upcoming events is visible for at least 6 months and at a minimum term by term. • Donation • All communications in relation to seeking donations should be reviewed and approved by the Group Leader to ensure it complies with scouting methods. • Seeking donations directly – face to face – you should be introduce yourself as a member of the Scouting Group and hand over a business card as proof. • Business cards should have a contact name and number on the back to allow for contact • All donators must be registered with the Secretary so that an official Thank you letter and Certificates of Appreciation can be sent out after the event or at sox month intervals. • Email communications • Ensure that the emails are sent from the Beenleigh Scout Group official email only • Draft your email and have the Secretary or Group Leader send out your email this way we ensure that we are representing the group and have communications returned to one point where many can access the mailbox. • Other promotions • Ensure that the events are registered on the Logan City Council website events calendar • Ensure the event is advertised in the local papers allowing time to sell the event as well as seek buy in from stall holders if hosting a Car boot Sale or demonstration event. • Invitations should be sent out at least six weeks prior to events to ensure timely responses.
Event/Activity Communications Events and Activities are a key component in what makes Scouting fun. These activities and events help to reinforce the fundamentals of Scouting and encourage our members to explore new things and challenge themselves. They also provide an opportunity to promote Scouting to the wider community.
Event/Activity Communications Guiding Principles Here some are basic guidelines for organising an event. • Decide what your event/activity will be • Decide on a date • Select a venue • Budget • Timeline • Activity Notifications • Group Approval • Parent notification • Promotion • Due Dates • Activity Time A notification must be sent to Group Leader/Safety officer or nominated person of the numbers scheduled to attend to the numbers arrived/returned at the being and end of the activity. Format should be: Beenleigh Section: 15 attending, 14 arrived, 1 sick • Enjoy • Follow up
Event/Activity Communications Tactics • Plan • Document • Promote clearly • Keep people informed • Via email or text messages – it will put parents mind at rest and show a level of organization and commitment to them and their children. • Follow Up • Make sure that you receive feedback on the event seeking details on where to improve for next one • All feedback requests should be issued one week past the event • Ensure all complaints are acknowledged to within 24 hours of notice, and a weekly update is provided on the statuses of all issues. Group Leader must be included in major issue communications.
Section Night Communications The Section nights are the main focus of running a section. It is here that the youth members learn the principals and foundations of Scouting. It is important that these nights are run smoothly and that parents are made aware of what is happening week in and week out.
Section Night Communications Guiding Principles Here some are basic guidelines for organising your nights. • Decide what your Section night will be • Select a venue • Budget • Timeline • Activity Notifications • Promotion • Think about how you will promote your event to your target market. • Ask local business to put up posters in their shop windows. • Place ads on websites and e-newsletters if possible. • Put up banners in the den • Produce a calendar of events each term/six months for handout • Add to the Group Google Calendars on the site • Add to websites • Keep parents informed • Invite special guests • Enjoy • Follow up
Section Night Communications Tactics • Plan • Provide calendar of yearly activities • Provide term calendars to give ideas on what the nights will present • Plan more than 4 weeks in advance, not week by week. This displays a level of disorganization and can sometime speak louder than communicated words. • Document • Make sure your nightly activities are well documented so anyone can pick them up and run the night if not there. • Promote clearly • Ensure that all members are provided details to present to parents • Printed notices • Follow up emails – don’t just rely on the youth members to feed parents information. What do your kids tell you at home about their day?? • Talk to parents on parade when necessary to convey the message. • Ensure that the message is clear and concise and will not lead to misinterpretation • Keep people informed • Via email or text messages – it will put parents mind at rest and show a level of organization and commitment to them and their children. • Provide an opportunity to talk to parents and youth members at the start and end of nights • Allow at least 15 minutes prior to the night • Separate from preparations so you can devote time to the parents. • Section Leaders are the only ones that can dispense details on their sections. It should not fall to those outside that circle to answer section questions • Be approachable, you are the face of the section and if you are not prepared to answer parents questions then discourse and continual questioning will present itself • Never turn away or reject a comment, if you don’t know be honest and get back to them. • Be prepared to answer questions at the end of nights also. • Ensure invites are sent out at least four weeks in advance to ensure those invited can schedule time to attend. • Follow Up • Any questions that need to be addressed should be followed up within at least two days to reassure you are attending the matter. • If there are issues with members, follow up, see how things are. These gestures will do more good than any written word can.
Awards/Certificates of Appreciation The award system is a tangible acknowledgement of a positive achievement and help the recipient look back on the year with a sense of pride and plays an important part of helping them stay motivated for the forthcoming year.. Not every member or supporter is going to be brilliant at Scouting. The award system encourages participation and helps motivate them to achieve goals they are setting. The Certificate of Appreciationprovides a method of recognising and commending contributions, or a high level of assistance, in helping achieve the defined outcomes for the year. The Certificate of Appreciation is a nonmonetary award consisting of a printed certificate with the Scout Australia logo and “Certificate of Appreciation” printed on them. At the discretion of the approving official, a commendatory letter may accompany the certificate. When possible, the certificate and letter of commendation (if included) are presented in an official service award; otherwise they are handed out or mailed to recipients.
Awards/Certificates of Appreciation Guiding principles Here some are basic guidelines for organising your nights. • Eligibility • Award System • Certificate of Appreciation • Award System • The Certificate of Appreciation • Records • It is important to keep track of who has received recognition for their efforts. • Records should be updated weekly to ensure update to date and records presented for an audit one every six months. • These records can be referred to again in the event to assistance or provide a detailed outline of years of service to the group • Ceremonies • Ensure that large awards are given special attention • Invite special guests, local dignitaries and Scout Australia officials or certificate awardees.
Awards/Certificates of Appreciation Tactics • Plan • Ensure that the section nights provide ample opportunity to have badge work signed off • Ensure section night provide content to allow members to achieve badge work appropriately. • If larger activities are coming plan to have badges pre-ordered to ensure members are rewarded on the day. • Ensure that Leaders or designated examiners are available to work with youth members. Everyone member is important and should not be ignored or passed over. Badge work is the most important thing to a member and we should make it a trivial act. If unable to assist ensure another time is set and met. • Make sure that all certificate of Appreciation applicants are noted to ensure no one misses out • Ensure that all printing is ready to roll and any stationary needs are on hand. • Document • Set up a register of awards • Publish all awards in the group publications and where possible to the newspapers • Ensure Group Secretary is advised of all awardees for acceptance into Group Minutes. • Promote clearly • Ensure all invited guests are advised with a minimum of two weeks’ notice of special event s • Ensure invites are designed or a quality letter is drafted and reviewed. • If calling via phone ensure you clearly state who you are from and ensure that the Group Leader or Chairman is made aware of any dignitaries attending and preferably an invite extended to as well.
Meeting Minutes & Agendas A Scout group has several meetings in a month. These include the following standard ones: Group Council, Group Support Committee, Fundraising Subcommittee, AGM’s and General Meetings plus each Section should hold a planning meeting once a month and they should have both minutes and agendas documented. The agenda is the statement of the business, including supporting documentation, for consideration/noting at the meeting. The secretary drafts the agenda and the chairperson amends/approves the agenda. Once the agenda is approved by the chair, it is circulated to members and other interested parties. The minutes are the formal record of the meeting. Minutes provide an accurate, concise record of the meeting, and provide clear and unambiguous statements of recommendations, decisions and action required. They also include a brief historical record. Minutes are public documents, which become part of the historical record of the University. Individual speakers are not usually referred to by name, unless they have spoken in an expert or official capacity. Discretion should be exercised.
Invoicing, Receipting, Account Statements Whether it is for the supply of goods or for the provision of services (or indeed for both), the purpose of an invoice is twofold: it acts as an official record of that sale to the customer and in effect is most often also the very first request for payment made to that customer. Accuracy and promptness are vital on both counts. As a true record of the sale, the invoice must be correct in every aspect, and in order to ensure payment on due date, it should be issued without delay to the customer. Far too many small businesses, typically those involved in serving customers direct, such as plumbers, electricians, joiners and carpenters etc., and even some of the larger SMEs seem to think that “paperwork” is of secondary importance to doing the work or supplying the parts. On the contrary, the correct paperwork is fundamental to the professional finish to the work done, and is not something that can be “held over until we have time”. Invoicing must be part of the whole order-to-cash process. From a credit management perspective, the purpose of an invoice is essentially to inform a customer how much he owes, by when it should be paid, and exactly to where it should be paid.
Invoicing, Receipting, Account Statements Guiding principles Here some are basic guidelines for organising your nights. • What should an invoice look like? • Many supplier invoices are poorly designed. There is no regulation as to the size or colour of an invoice, whether portrait or landscape, or indeed how it should be laid out. Many computer produced invoices are on poor quality paper, have faded print and/or have somewhat confusing product descriptions or codes. The more complex an invoice appears to be, the greater the chance of processing delays by the recipient, and the greater the volume of customer queries. • It should therefore be clear and uncluttered – over-complicated or fancy company logos should be avoided, together with unnecessary “marketing” additions. The customer need to recognise at a glance that the document is an invoice and can be readily matched to his order and to the actual goods received or service provided. • What information should an invoice contain? • The supplier’s full correct legal name and address • Telephone and fax number for customer contact • Email address for customer contact • The customer’s full name and address (for invoicing) • The customer’s full name and address (for delivery if different) • The supplier’s VAT number • The supplier’s company registration number (if applicable) • The customer’s account number • The customer’s order number and if appropriate the method of ordering(fax/email/telephone etc) • The date of delivery or work done • The date of the invoice – this crucially establishes the due date for payment according to the agreed terms as well as the tax start date for VAT purposes. VAT is due from the date of supply, NOT from the date of payment • Correct product or service description • All correct pricing information – cost per unit, number of units, discounts etc • GST payable & rate (If applicable) • Correct extensions and totals – a clear and unambiguous figure showing the amount to be paid • Payment terms • Payment due date • Payment instructions – supplier’s bank details, address for remittances etc. Many companies include a tear off remittance advice as part of the invoice • All invoices sequentially numbered – a legal requirement • Clearly identified as an INVOICE • Invoice administration • The invoice should be produced promptly, ideally on the day of delivery or at least no later than at the commencement of each term for term fees and within one week of notification to draw up an invoice from members of the group. • The sooner the customer receives the invoice, the sooner the whole matching and payment processing sequence can begin. There is often a “push” in the last few days of a calendar month to get more sales for that month which puts pressure on invoicing, but systems and processes should be geared up for such eventualities. • Getting the invoice to the customer as quickly as possible involves not just prompt production, but also utilising the most effective delivery method. • Receipting administration • Where possible issue a receipt immediately upon accepting money, or ensure that the information is recorded in a standard process each time so traceability can be acknowledged. • Once a month produce a statement of account to ensure that all payments are met and receipt numbers issued.
Invoicing, Receipting, Account Statements • Tactics • Plan • Ensure that you are in planning at least two weeks prior to term to have all invoices issued • Receipting/Statements must be issued one week after the close of the month. • Distribution • Email out – where possible - and ensure that you have a few printed copies
Business Cards Business cards are an easy marketing tool used by professionals to advertise their services. They are used when a person's contact information is requested, at professional conferences or meetings, and to refer another person to a business or person with whom you've worked.Business cards usually include the name of the business, a person who works within that business, his title and his contact information. Most reference business cards also include a logo of the business.
Business Cards Guiding principles Here some are basic guidelines for organising your nights. • Please refer to the Scout Queensland Guidelines in reference to design of Business Cards • The Group will use Business cards for the Group Leader as an introduction to others and provide a focal contact point • Fundraising or no name specific cards are to be provided to allow those that are working for the group to assist in fundraising activities can provide proof working for the group and identify themselves as a contact for the activity. Tactics • Identify who should issue the cards • A register of who has been issued with cards and how many needs to be listed to ensure that permission has been given to work on behalf of the group. • Subcommittees will need to seek cards from the Support Committee and ensure they are capturing who is receiving the cards. • Use the cards to promote the group