Union to Focus on More Effective Communication

North East takes Membership Flame honour at Union AGM

NFU Scotland’s top official Scott Walker is to take a fresh look at the way the Union communicates with its members.  He made the announcement in his first address to the Union’s AGM, which is taking place in St Andrews today (13 February), since Mr Walker took on the Chief Executive role six months ago.

In his Presidential address in front of more than 180 delegates, he stated that effective communication was probably the biggest challenge faced by the organisation.  The Union has a wide range of ways in which it communicates with almost 9000 members including press releases, magazines, email, website, text messaging, mail shots and social media.   To better meet the membership needs, the Union will undertake a phone survey of all its members this summer to update the member’s contact details, their specific farming interests and clarify how they want the Union to provide them with information in the future.

Providing members with the right information has been an important part of the Union’s successful approach to recruitment and retention of members in recent years. This year, the Membership Flame – an award that recognises the NFUS region that has achieved the biggest percentage growth in subscription income - has gone to the North East.  North East Regional Chairman Charlie Adam, local group secretary Duncan Low and regional manager Lorna Paterson, collected the award.

Speaking at the AGM, Scott Walker said:

“The process of communication and letting our members know what we are doing and why is probably the biggest challenge that we face as an organisation.

“If we could get our officeholders sitting around the kitchen table with all members on a one to one basis I have no doubt they would be impressed by the huge workload we undertake.   However, that is simply not possible.   So we rely heavily on the media and on our direct communication with members.  That reaches thousands of our members on a monthly, weekly and daily basis. But I accept that these routes don’t always work and members may still be left wondering where the Union is on an issue.

“We need to give our members the opportunity to receive information relevant to them directly from us.   So this year we will be contacting members to get their mobile numbers, their e-mail addressees and to ask them what subjects they want to receive information from us on.   This will help us provide the right information to a member in the form that they want to receive it. 

“Providing that kind of improved service is important if this organisation is to keep evolving.    As we approach 100 years of NFU Scotland it is as important now as it was when this organisation was established that farmers have a strong voice to represent them and having as many farmers within our membership strengthens our cause.

“The North East has taken that message on board and has used members, secretaries and their regional manager to drive a hugely successful recruitment campaign across the region that saw some branches secure 113 percent of their subscription income target this year.  That is a phenomenal effort, making them worthy winners on the NFU Scotland Membership Flame which recognises the hard work put into recruiting new members.”

Notes to Editors

  • Former NFU Scotland President Jim McLaren started an award in 2011 called the Membership Flame.   It is given each year to recognise the NFU Scotland region which has achieved the biggest percentage growth in subscription income.  The 2011 winners were Dumfries and Galloway.
  • A photograph of Scott Walker speaking at the AGM and the North East representatives receiving the Membership Flame will be available after 5.00pm on Monday, 13 February.


Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Date Published:

News Article No.: 17/12

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