Memorandum of Understanding between the Poetry Society and Stanzas

Background

Stanzas are both a valued and unique formation within the Poetry Society. Stanzas are formed on a voluntary basis for the benefit of existing Poetry Society members and those whom we hope will become Poetry Society members. Because they are voluntary formations, Stanzas do not have constitutional status. Stanzas help the Poetry Society further our organisational objectives in numerous regions of the UK and in several places abroad. In return, Stanzas receive the following benefits:

  • Start up information, including contact details for Poetry Society members in particular regions, and templates which can be used for advertising Stanza meetings
  • Regular e-bulletin exchanges and e-mail correspondence from our Membership Manager
  • A dedicated page in Poetry News, including quarterly profiles of a Stanza member
  • Advance notice of opportunities notified to the Poetry Society, relevant to Stanza regions
  • The opportunity to take part in an annual Stanza Poetry Competition (only for Stanza members who are also members of the Poetry Society)
  • One year’s free, annual membership of the Poetry Society for Stanza representatives who introduce five new members to the Poetry Society
  • Dedicated space on the Poetry Society’s website, including: Stanza page giving contact details of all Stanza representatives; Stanza News page, updated monthly with information provided to the Membership Manager by Stanza representatives; Stanza Poetry competition news
  • Up to three Stanza Link meetings per year, to share ideas, receive updates and contribute to the development of Stanzas over time. Stanza representatives (or a chosen delegate) attending these meeting are reimbursed for travel expenses

The Memorandum of Understanding, below, gives Stanza members a detailed description of the relationship between Stanza groups and the Poetry Society

Memorandum of Understanding

1. Stanza groups are informal groups of Poetry Society members and others with shared interests. The term 'Poetry Society Stanza' (or ‘Stanza’ when referring to it in its abbreviated form) is owned by the Poetry Society, a registered charity and a company limited by guarantee.

2. Because Stanzas are formed on a voluntary basis, they cannot have a basis within the Poetry Society’s constitution. Only the Board of Trustees of the Poetry Society can speak on behalf of, and operate Poetry Society Business. Stanzas cannot have direct involvement in programming the financial matters of the Poetry Society.

3. Stanzas are formed by members of the Poetry Society, to take forward the use and enjoyment of poetry in local areas. By so doing, they contribute to the Poetry Society’s mission.

4. The Poetry Society Membership Manager is the main point of contact for Stanza members.

5. Regional Stanza Meetings are called up to three times a year by a Trustee of the Poetry Society in association with the Membership Manager. The agenda will be drawn up by the Trustee, Membership Manager and the Poetry Society Director, and be attended by all three (the Director may ask his or her deputy to attend the meetings).

6. The Poetry Society will reimburse reasonable travel costs to Stanza representatives choosing to attend regional Stanza meetings. Travel receipts can be submitted for the attention of the Poetry Society Membership Manager to be processed for payment after the event.

7. The Poetry Society shall, at its discretion, establish ear-marked funds to support regional activity as this fits with the Poetry Society’s mission and Strategic Plan. The amount would be established by the Trustees before the outset of the financial year (1st April to 31st March).

8. From time to time the Society may wish to raise funds for specific activity delegated to Stanzas, for unique, one off projects which are costed and presented by a Stanza representative in a proposal to the Poetry Society Fundraising committee. Proposals must be presented at least 10 months prior to the planned activity’s commencement, via the Poetry Society Membership Manager. The Poetry Society Trustee responsible for Stanzas will advocate on behalf of Stanza Groups with the Fundraising Committee and is available to talk through proposals before they are submitted.

9. Where existing Stanza representatives have not been able to report any activity to the Membership Manager for a consecutive 6 month period, the Membership Manager will make contact with the Stanza representative to ascertain the reasons. Where the feasibility of activity commencing again in the near future is unlikely, the Stanza group will be deemed to have lapsed and details of the Stanza will no longer be available from the Poetry Society website or in print.

10. Stanza representatives must be members of the Poetry Society. If a Stanza representative ceases to be a member of the Poetry Society and is not able to renew his or her membership within a period of one months notice, details of the relevant Stanza group will be removed from the Poetry Society Website and in print.

11. Stanza members will be invited to make known literature and news from the Poetry Society to their local area on an opt-in basis, as this helps advance the Society’s mission, and contributes to membership take-up. This includes Membership leaflets, National Poetry Competition leaflets, Poetry Review Postcards, Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award entry forms, Poetry Society event flyers and similar material. The membership Manager will include a list of current promotional material available with each Stanza bulletin and records requests and enquiries arising.