Groups Handbook

This page will occasionally be updated, but also check https://www.yes.cymru/groups for other resources related to YesCymru groups.

The first thing to remember about running a YesCymru group is that there is no one way of doing so, therefore make it your own! Your local YesCymru group will reflect your local community or town, and what is important to you collectively. There are infinite reasons to want an independent Wales, and different ways to campaign for it, so do it your way.

However... there are some handy things that will help you. With that in mind, and in order to avoid everyone re-inventing the wheel, here is a collection of things that we have learned so far on our journey towards an independent Wales.

You can skip to the relevant sections here...

 

Setting up your group

Do I need permission to set up a local group of YesCymru?

Drop a line to post@yes.cymru or get in touch via Twitter @YesCymru or Facebook, just to say hello and check there isn’t already a local group in your area that you have missed!

If you are starting a group, we will need to know your full name and personal email address. This is just for our records – we will not share your details with others.

Naming your group

Consider which location would be the best one for your group to represent. A distinct town/city or area may work better than choosing a whole county of Wales as your name, as it will then allow other towns and communities in the county to form their own groups. If you live in the Cardiff or Swansea area, there are groups for the whole city, but also groups representing some of the districts within, so it’s totally fine if you wish to create a more localised group like this.

Email

The first step is to set up a general email address for the group. This will come in handy when creating any other accounts you may need, e.g. social media. Also when you start getting other people involved in running the group, it will enable you to share email duties between group members.

Most of our groups have opted for a Gmail email address, and for that reason this is what we recommend. Therefore you will have an email address such as yesebbwvale@gmail.com or yesporthmadog@gmail.com. If you prefer another email provider then that is also fine.

We are able to offer an ‘@yes.cymru’ email address (e.g. ebbwvale@yes.cymru or porthmadog@yes.cymru) for your group as well, but a few things need to be in place to enable this, therefore it might be something to consider some time down the line. Check the DEVELOPING YOUR GROUP section below for more details.

Whatever your general group email address is, we will list this on our website so that people in your area, and representatives of other local YesCymru groups, can get in touch with you. We encourage you to check this email account often for correspondence.

Social media

Start with a Twitter account and if you can, also a Facebook Page or group. If you aren’t into either of these things, recruit a friend who is! Use your new group email address to register with the sites.

With Twitter there is only one type of account, so it’s pretty simple. Set up your account, and if you have enough space, you may use the full name form, e.g. for the page/account name you could have YesCymru Welshpool, but if you’re limited in the number of characters (a Twitter handle is limited to 15 characters) then the abbreviated form, e.g. YesWelshpool might be more appropriate.

With Facebook it can be tricky at first. When you are using Facebook for your personal social networking, this type of account is called a profile. Profiles are meant for people, not organisations, and so if you try to create a profile in the name of your YesCymru group, it will probably get closed down by Facebook, and you’ll have to start from scratch. What you need is either a Page or a group, or both. A page is mainly to let the public know about the YesCymru group's activities, and a group is mainly for discussion between supporters in your area.

Profiles (i.e. people) can show support to Pages by 'Liking' them, and when they do, your content will show up on their timeline. Profiles can 'join' groups to take part. The difference between the three types of accounts is explained in this article on the Facebook website.

In terms of giving access to the social networking accounts to others in your YesCymru group, Twitter and Facebook are quite different in this regard. With Twitter it isn’t possible to give an account the permissions to use another account, therefore the only way is to give them the main password. If they use Twitter on a smartphone app, then the YesCymru group account will appear as a separate account on their Twitter accounts list. This is a simple solution, but more restrictive, because you have to share the password with all the contributors, and if you want to revoke someone’s access, you will have to change the password.

Note: when the Twitter password is changed, this does not automatically log out all users of the account, therefore everyone who has the account set up on their phone will still be able to use it fully. If you are changing the password to restrict access to the account, you will need to log out of all sessions. To do this, go to the YesCymru group Twitter account, go to Settings and privacy, then Account, then Apps and sessions, and choose Log out of all other sessions. Everyone who will be using the account from then on will have to log back in with the new password.

Facebook is much more sophisticated in this regard, and for each Page you can set different roles to different profiles, i.e. to different people. For example, you could give someone the Editor role, which will allow them to post on the Page, or you could make them an Admin, which will additionally give them the ability to add or remove people from the page roles.

Therefore there is no need to share any passwords, and if you want to revoke someone’s permissions for whatever reason, you just need to remove their profile from the Page Roles list. Permissions of Facebook Pages are explained in this article (Note: to begin this process, you need to be looking at your page, i.e. https://facebook.com/[pagename], rather than your profile).

When reacting to content from others in Facebook, It can be tricky to know whether your actions are done 'as' the Page, or 'as' your profile, so here is an article on the Facebook website that might help with this.

Logo

For their social media accounts, some groups use the plain YesCymru logo, but we think it looks better if the logo is slightly adapted to reflect something about the local area. Some groups have been very creative – have a look at what others have done. Here is a Twitter list of YesCymru groups: https://twitter.com/YesCymru/lists/grwpiau-yescymru-groups/members

Alternatively, please let us know if you want us to design something centrally for you.

Do I have to be a member of YesCymru in order to start a group?

You don't have to be a member to start a group – there are a few groups whose main contact person is not a member – but we would be very happy to get you as a member of course, so that we could add you to our members’ mailing list to keep you informed of the organisation’s activities.

Also, GDPR now means that we can only share information about other members with you if you are a YesCymru member, for example if you need a list of other members in your area for the purposes of your group. We cannot share this data with non-members.

Making your group accessible

Local groups are open to anyone who has an interest in independence – they don’t necessarily have to be members of YesCymru to get involved. Having said this, try to encourage people to join. The subscription fees help fund events both centrally and locally, and help produce materials that we send to the groups for use locally – campaign materials like leaflets and merchandise.

Know your audience. Finding your niche in the wider campaign is key. How will you appeal to local people? What is your demographic locally, what is important to people where you live, and how will you make an independent Wales relevant in this context? It will take time to figure this out, so don’t worry about getting it right straight away.

Support for independence isn’t an on-off switch, so in discussions with the public it’s a good idea to lay out a progression for them, a personal pathway towards independence. Using terms like #indycautious, #indycurious and #indyconfident can help with this.

Make it fun – if you are enjoying yourself then other people will join in!


Communicating YesCymru's message

Keep it positive! One of the most important things we have learned so far is that positive messages are more persuasive than negative ones. Reasons why an independent Wales will be totally amazing are more inspiring than reasons why the opposite is a bad thing.

Ask a lot of questions. People will ask you for all the answers. But the most powerful thing that groups have found, especially when running street stalls, is to be inquisitive. Ask people about what they want for Wales’ future.

Does all the group’s communication need to be bilingual?

You should tailor your approach to suit your local audience. For printed materials, if you have translating capabilities within the group, great, but if not we can translate centrally. For social media, we accept that it may not always be possible to communicate bilingually, therefore just do what you can, and what will most likely attract support to the cause.

External issues

Stay clear of any issues that are not directly related to the campaign for independence, issues that may cause disagreement between supporters of independence. As YesCymru is a non-partisan organisation, we do not normally have a position/policy on specific issues other than the belief that Wales will be a better country of managing its own affairs. Some people may try to use YesCymru as a platform for their own beliefs/ideology, and ask YesCymru to express a viewpoint or comment on specific issues. Being dragged into external issues will only weaken our core message, and give some people a reason not to support us. You should therefore ignore any such request unless it relates directly to independence, or unless YesCymru has decided to support the cause. In most cases it will be possible to answer the request by reminding them that the people of Wales will decide on this after independence. Here are some examples of issues that may cause arguments between independence supporters:

  • Membership of the European Union - of those who voted in the 2016 referendum, over half voted to leave the EU. A 2017 YouGov survey showed strong support for independence among those who voted to leave the EU. So don't give an opinion on whether Wales should be a member of the EU - just say that Wales will have the right to decide on that after independence. Being critical of the way in which the Westminster Government has managed the process of leaving the EU would be OK, since this is a matter of competence, not ideology.
  • Immigration - this is at best a controversial subject, and certainly not one that YesCymru should be expressing an opinion on. Again, immigration policy is something that the Government of an independent Wales would decide.
  • The monarchy - not everyone believes that an independent Wales should be a Republic, so we don't want to alienate these people from the idea of ​​independence. We can visit this issue post-independence, as did Ireland.
  • Others - the military, socialism/capitalism, nuclear power.

Political parties and organisations

We are a non-party political organisation. We should not show bias to one party for supporting independence. Likewise, do not attack another for not. Winning the support of Wales' main parties is vital if we are to achieve our goal. One may have an opinion on how quickly the Welsh Government is progressing with devolution, but if we are critical of how they run our country with the powers that they actually do have, one could easily ask "Why do you want independence and give them more powers?", thus undermining the case for independence.

Likewise, do not attack other organisations, groups or campaigns. We are likely to need their support in the future.

Do not aggravate followers of organisations on the other side of the debate by demonstrating at their events. This will only serve to draw negative attention to our cause, and could eventually lead to retaliation, where our own events are being attended by opponents to independence. This could cause YesCymru events to depart from the happy and positive events that we want them to be.

We want to keep the independence debate free from hostility in order to keep everyone engaged. For the same reason, refrain from using YesCymru campaign materials to cover that of other organisations. YesCymru works because it is seen as a true alternative, rather than there simply in opposition to other things.

Education

Don't be patronizing or sarcastic towards others - it is important that we remain professional and polite, whatever their beliefs. Do not attack individuals who have a different opinion, or join others whom are doing so. It is important for YesCymru's accounts to remain above that, and not to be seen to promote negative behavior. Rather than considering these people as enemies, we should try to change their minds prudently with the right information. No-one should be blamed for having 'British' views - many people have been receiving anti-Welsh information throughout their lives. Our challenge is to educate them.

Social media guidelines

Here are a few things to bear in mind when posting as a YesCymru account on social media:

https://www.yes.cymru/social-media-guidelines

It is very important that everyone adheres to these rules. By using social media with the YesCymru name and logo, you are representing YesCymru, and the public assume that you are speaking on behalf of the organisation as a whole.

We sometimes feel the need to get in touch with a group to discuss a particular social media post. If we do, then please don't take it to heart. It’s just to keep us all positive and free from criticism, and to make sure that we don’t appear to be biased towards or against any political party. We sometimes have to remind ourselves of these rules when using the central accounts as well!


Activities

Meetings

Hold your first meeting as soon as you can! Things will really get going once you start meeting up in person. You can do a lot online, but making connections is fantastic and brings energy to what you are doing. Our most active groups meet up every month or so, or sometimes more often.

Communicating with other group members

Apart from using email as a means of letting everyone know of their activities, many groups use a WhatsApp group for the most active members or their group. This is handy to bounce ideas around, and has been found to be more effective than email when organising a specific event.

Increasing YesCymru’s visibility in your area

Here are some things that have worked for various groups in the past:

  • Hold a Banners on Bridges event over a busy road in your area. If you’re unaware of what this is, it’s several supporters getting together to fly banners on a bridge in their local area to raise awareness – it’s that simple. A couple of hours on a weekend would be enough. Remember to take plenty of pictures and post them on your social media.
  • Ask your family, friends, colleagues and neighbours to show their support for YesCymru by displaying a poster in a window, putting a sticker on their car, or putting up a YesCymru flag on their property.
  • Find local businesses who would be willing to put up a YesCymru poster or flag in their establishment, or ask your local pub if they’ll let you hang a YesCymru flag on the wall there.
  • Talk to a local farmer who owns land next to a busy road, and ask if you can attach a pole to one of their fence posts, and put a YesCymru flag on it.
  • One great way of increasing visibility is to sponsor the shirts of a local rugby or football team. Youth matches are also well attended. Otherwise, pitch-side banner advertising at their home ground can be effective. We can help with these costs centrally. Or if the club is particularly supportive, they might let you put a flag up there for free.
  • Many Town and Community Councils have now officially declared support for Welsh independence, as displayed on this map. Of course our hope is that all Town and Community Councils in Wales eventually follow suit, or at least put it to a vote. Your group can help with this by reaching out to the Town and Community Councils in your area and ask them to consider a motion for this.
Events

Organise an event in your local area. Perhaps an evening with guest speakers discussing various aspects of independence, e.g. an energy expert with a vision of how an independent Wales could form a network of renewable energy cooperatives, or an agriculture expert to discuss the opportunities that an independent Wales could bring to farming.

Or if you fancy a bit of comedy, we have regular stand-up comedy events called Stand Up For Wales. The hard-working crew who organise these nights are based in the Swansea area, but they are keen to take their successful comedy nights to all corners of Wales, and work with local groups to ensure the best experience catered for local audiences. Please have a look at their page here for further information.

It might take a while to experiment with different venues. Having somewhere quieter away from the background noise of a busy venue is important. As your group grows, members may have connections to 'indy-friendly' venues.

Every constituted group (see section DEVELOPING YOUR GROUP) that has its own bank account can make an application to the central committee for funding towards specific events. The limit for each constituted group is currently £500 per year, and can be used for one large event or spread over several smaller events.

Advertising your activities

How do you get people along to your activities? Lots of advertising via social media, word of mouth, putting posters up in shops. Encourage people to bring along 'indy-curious' friends. It is important to create a strong culture within your group that everyone is welcome, no matter where they are on what we call the 'indy-spectrum'. Also be really clear that it is non-party political: individuals with all party affiliations, or none, are equally welcome.

We have found that targeted paid Facebook ads are a great way to increase attendance at events. This can either be done by the group itself, or, constituted groups (see section DEVELOPING YOUR GROUP below) can take advantage of our free event promotion service to help increase attendance.

Documenting your activities on social media during or afterwards is almost as important as carrying out the event in the first place, so remember to take photos of every activity that your group does – even some important meetings – and share them on social media. Some people might feel inhibited to attend because they don’t know what to expect, therefore sharing photos is a good way of breaking down that ‘unknown’ barrier.

Street stalls, and stalls within larger events

Many YesCymru groups have very successfully used street stalls as a way of engaging with the public. They're simple to set up, and can be a very effective way of sharing information with others. It's good to be as visible as possible, so have some banners on display. Wearing YesCymru t-shirts is also an effective way of doing this. If you're outside, it doesn't take much wind to blow things off the table, so bring some paper weights or pebbles with you.

There are many, many events all over Wales throughout the year. Why not inquire about having a YesCymru stall there for your group? We can help you with the cost of leasing the stall.

We are constantly looking for events that might give us an opportunity to spread the independence message. If there is a festival, carnival, conference, coffee morning, or any kind of large event that you think might be good for YesCymru to have presence at, please let us know.

Literature and merchandise at events

Whenever you organise an event or have a stall somewhere, make sure to bring some literature and merchandise to give to potential supporters. We can send you however many leaflets you require, and we can also send you some stickers, car stickers, badges, books, etc., that you can either give away in order to help spread the message, or charge a small amount for, in order to build up funds for your group – whichever works best for you.

Also make sure that you have a few copies of the YesCymru membership form with you. Most people join online, but many people prefer not to, for various reasons, so YesCymru group events can be a good chance to recruit new members. We can either send you a few copies of the form, or you can print your own from here. Completed forms should be sent to the address on the bottom of the form.

Lastly, at every event, remember to collect the names and email addresses of anyone who is willing to receive group and/or central YesCymru emails. Adding these people to your mailing list will help with promoting further events.

Does the income that we raise in the group need to be given to YesCymru centrally?

No. We recognise that events cost money to organise, so any money raised from sales, donations, event entry, etc. can be kept in your group and go towards arranging further events.

Organised leafletting

Many groups have organised mass-leafletting campaigns in their local areas, and we've also done a nationwide leaflet drop. There's more chance of someone reading something posted through their door than on a screen. This is not only a good way of spreading information, it's also a great way of attracting new people to your group. Send us an email to request some leaflets and we'll get them posted to you.

With smaller villages, it may be simpler to meet somewhere (perhaps during a regular group meeting), divide the leaflets, and then encourage the leafletters to do it when they can. But with cities and large towns, it may be easier to keep track if you announce a time and a place to meet, and sort out who does what streets at the time, depending on how many turn up. We've found that splitting the job into Council Wards is a good way of dividing the work. One useful resource that we use is Ordnance Survey Election Maps. To use this, firstly zoom in to your area, then on the left hand side click BOUNDARY and then tick Unitary Authority Electoral Divisions (the last option).


Developing your group

Nearby groups

You are encouraged to collaborate with other groups in your wider area, and support each other. Here is a map showing all the other YesCymru groups that have been set up, in Wales and beyond.

We have a Twitter list of all the YesCymru groups. We try to keep this list updated as much as possible. Please let us know if your group is missing: https://twitter.com/YesCymru/lists/grwpiau-yescymru-groups/members

We also have a DM group on Twitter, for chat between the groups. Unfortunately, Twitter has a limit of 50 members for DM groups, so we can only invite the 50 most active YesCymru groups to this DM group.

Becoming a fully constituted YesCymru group

As your group develops, you are encouraged to take it on a path towards becoming a constituted YesCymru group. According to Clause 69.(a) of the YesCymru Constitution, a constituted group is defined as:

LOCAL GROUPS & SECTIONS / GRWPIAU LLEOL AC ADRANNAU shall be recognised and will be properly constituted under this constitution if they meet the following criteria:

(i) agree to the aims and objectives set out in clause 2; [see below]
(ii) Have contacted the chair of YesCymru wishing to be designated the status of a Local Group or Section;
(iii) agree to the YesCymru social media guidelines;
(iv) have held a meeting with 5 or more YesCymru members present, and elected a chair.

Where Clause 2 mentioned above states that:

YesCymru is a campaigning organisation with the aim of gaining independence for Wales in order to improve the way the country is governed. YesCymru believes that Wales would be better running its own affairs, as part of a wider European and international family. YesCymru believes in an inclusive citizenship, which embraces the fact that all who choose to make Wales their home – regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation – are full citizens of the new Wales.

Constituted groups also help shape YesCymru's future. Each group can send up to two representatives to YesCymru's National Committee, which meets twice a year, in various locations across the country.

Recognition as a constituted group can also bring financial benefits for your group. Firstly, all constituted groups are eligible to apply for grants to hold events. Having a budget will enable you to hold more ambitious events. To take advantage of this, we require there to be a bank account associated with your group, and for the money to be transferred to this account, rather than a personal account (see below).

Bank account

It is a good idea to open a bank account for the group, especially if you are selling YesCymru goods or holding events where you charge an entry fee.

In fairness to our members, it is important that the bank transactions that go through YesCymru's main account are as transparent as possible. So if a group is applying for funding, we will not be able to make payments to individuals' bank accounts in most cases.

All the major banks offer community bank accounts, which have the same features as business current accounts, but are exclusively for not-for-profit organisations, so there are no banking fees.

Two or more group officers should be appointed as signatories to the bank account. We recommend the Treasurer and the Chair.

You should open the account under the name YesCymru [GroupName], and have an ‘also trading as’ name with the abbreviated Yes[GroupName]. This will also enable you to receive checks payable to these names.

It can take a few weeks to set up a bank account of this type, so if you are applying for funding from YesCymru's central committee, then this will need to be taken into consideration.

Here are some examples of suitable bank accounts:

NatWest Community Bank Account
https://www.business.natwest.com/business/business-banking/business-bank-accounts/community-bank-account.html

HSBC Clubs, Charity and Community Bank Account
https://www.business.hsbc.uk/en-gb/everyday-banking/business-accounts/charity-banking-community-account

Santander Treasurer’s Current Account
https://www.santander.co.uk/business/clubs-and-charities-accounts/treasurers-current-account

Official @yes.cymru email address

A further option available to constituted groups is having an official @yes.cymru email address. To illustrate, we will use abergavenny@yes.cymru as an example.

These are forwarding addresses only – any mail sent to abergavenny@yes.cymru will just be auto-forwarded to yescymruabergavenny@gmail.com (or whatever the group’s general email address may be). You will then be able to use the abergavenny@yes.cymru address on any stationery e.g. business cards, headed paper etc. that you may have, which will appear more professional than a Gmail address. The day-to-day email work – sending email to one or two people, answering emails – will still be done in the same place as before, i.e. Gmail. Since they are auto-forwarded, the central committee will not have visibility of any of the emails that your group receives or sends.

If your area has a bilingual name, e.g. Abergavenny and Y Fenni, then we can offer addresses in both languages, i.e. abergavenny@yes.cymru and yfenni@yes.cymru – both forwarding to the same place, so either can be used.

Sending bulk emails to everyone in your area, however, can now be sent from NationBuilder (see below), for a more professional look.

Member database

Key to building your group is strengthening your local network, and reaching out to like-minded individuals in your area. Social media is a great way to do this, but for some things email might be more appropriate. We can share with you the details of the YesCymru members in your area, although we need to ensure that we do it in a way that complies fully with GDPR. It is imperative that you do not share this information with others.

The most effective way of us sharing this information with you is to give members of your group a login into our CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system, called NationBuilder. This is very similar to other marketing platforms like Mailchimp, and will let you send branded emails to only the members local to you. This has many benefits:

  • The list of members added to your mailing list is automatically and instantly updated as new members join YesCymru
  • Emails are sent from a [groupname]@yes.cymru email address
  • No need to worry about remembering to put all addresses into the ‘Bcc’ field when sending an email – this system does it automatically
  • Every email will have a link to let recipients unsubscribe from future emails if they wish. They will be able to unsubscribe from central YesCymru emails whilst still receiving local group emails – or vice versa
  • It complies fully with GDPR because we only share the data that is necessary, and because you are logging in to the system, member data doesn’t need to leave the system, therefore no need to send spreadsheets over email.

Due to GDPR, we can only share member details with you if you are yourself a YesCymru member. Also, anyone from your group who intends to use the above system will need to agree to certain terms of use, noted in this document.

To confirm that you agree to the terms, please copy all text from the above document and send it in an email from your personal email account (not the YesCymru group email) to our email address post@yes.cymru, noting your name, the name of your group, and your position within the group.

Hopefully we have streamlined the process as much as possible whilst still being GDPR compliant. Every person wanting to use the system will need to go through the same confirmation process.

If you have any other mailing lists of supporters collected at events, send them to us and we will add them to NationBuilder so that they will appear on your mailing list. This way, all your local supporters will be in one place. At this point, we will assume that you have their consent to be contacted by the local group and occasionally by YesCymru centrally, unless you inform us otherwise.

Here are instructions we’ve made to explain the process of sending email blasts out of NationBuilder.

Anything else

Any further questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at:

Email: post@yes.cymru
Twitter: @YesCymru
Facebook: facebook.com/YesCymru