Author Archives: netadmin

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U3A’s greatest challenge: How to get Baby Boomers to help us

by  Graeme Eggins

“We’re having real trouble getting anyone at all to volunteer for the committee. The same with tutors.”

How many times have you heard a U3A President, Secretary or class coordinator say this or something very similar? The problem of finding new active volunteers to replace U3A leaders, administrators and teachers is worldwide – and not just among U3As. All sorts of non-profit community groups, ranging from charity shops to service clubs, face the same problem. Recruitment was a hot topic for discussion at this year’s Network conference. That was the reason the May Newslink re-published my 2009 article titled “How to get new committee people.” Most of the tips in that article are still relevant despite the changes we have seen in the past seven years, specially as we have aged more as a nation. The people who established U3As in Australia over the past 20 years are moving into their fourth age of increasing physical and mental frailty. They are the Traditionalists, the postDepression generation born in the 1930s and early ‘40s. Today, Traditionalists like me need to hand the U3A baton on to the next generation, the Baby Boomers, those who were born between 1945 and 1964.

Will Boomers step forward?

But will the Baby Boomers grab the baton of responsibility with eagerness, hold it uncertainly or simply refuse to take it? Indications are that Boomers are not all that keen to take on any volunteer role that does not involve a pay cheque. I heard one say: “Look I’ve paid my money. I’ve worked hard all my life. I don’t expect to do it now. I’ve retired.” A spokesperson for Volunteers Australia recently said volunteer numbers in Australia had declined by 5% overall in the past 20 years. She said NSW has an estimated two million volunteers, many working in charities, but most of them are either quite young or quite old. These days all kinds of community nonprofits are bewailing the lack of new blood. Go into your nearest charity shop – the volunteer serving you if more likely to be over 80 than over 60. Baby Boomers, sometimes called “coffin dodgers,” are making new demands on community resources, including independent care facilities. They want the best. In my area – the far North Coast of NSW – the majority of long-established residential aged care providers are now spending millions of dollars building or renovating new larger and better equipped units to meet the Boomers demands. The Boomers and GenerationXers are the people who have to provide the next generation of U3A tutors, leaders and administrators. Many have already joined U3A. They appreciate the chance to meet people in a community that may be new to them (many move out of cities on retirement), to socialise and to learn new skills. But do they want to take on U3A responsibilities? In two words – Not really. So what can you do as a recruiter? Here are some strategies to add to those already outlined in the May Newslink.

Tips on “selling” U3A?

Try selling the benefits of volunteering.
Points you could include: ?

  • Volunteering makes you happier because you feel really good about yourself ?
  • It can be fun to work in a team free of work pressures ?
  • You have the opportunity to make new friends with like-minded people (This appeal is particularly effective for newcomers to your district) ?
  • You can demonstrate your skills and knowledge gained over a lifetime of experience ?
  • You gain increased status and public approval as a person valued by the community. ?
  • You may learn not only new skills but new ways of coping with ageing, specially when you meet people facing health challenges greater than yours. ?
  • This is your chance to make a positive difference in many other people’s lives and leave a legacy to following generations of U3Aers.

Also, consider offering volunteers some sort of benefit. For example reduced membership fees (yes, I know that goes against the U3A credo but this is real life) and distinctive membership badges.

Identify potential volunteers

Consider a “Welcome new members” column in your newsletter or on your Website. This column could include a thumbnail photo if available, a brief biography, the name they like to be called and a summary of their main hobbies and interests. (You may need to redesign your membership form to gather some of this information but of course you must get members’ approval to use it). Alternatively, find out what skills your members have by asking them to complete a short form – then you’ll know who best to target.

Remember current members

Don’t overlook current members who may have refused in the past. Sometimes the “no” means, “not now.”
Sometimes “no” means that the prospect feels that he/she would rather do something else. In that case you can ask if the person can think of another position they would prefer.

Of course, some volunteers are happy to be helpers but never leaders. As a U3A recruiter, you have to accept their self-assessment and welcome their assistance. Many older people are frightened of public speaking, scared of talking to large groups but perfectly happy chatting to people of their own age group. Here’s where mentors can be very useful. A mentor is not just for young people, older people appreciate and value them for providing support, encouragement and advice in a new role. Perhaps as a prospective tutor they could do just a single presentation to a small group. Or what about starting a study circle on one particular topic – say, Life in Mediaeval Times. Each member of the group gets to present to the rest on one aspect that they are interested in. For example, the fashion of the day, the music, the role of the church, what people of the time ate, the social structure. And so on.

Ask them to serve

You’ve identified a likely prospect. What next? Get a friend to ask them or do it yourself. A recent National Survey of Volunteering in the UK looked at the variety of ways in which people get involved in volunteering. Some 47 per cent said “Someone asked me to help”. Those who were not volunteering but who expressed an interest in doing so, wanted “a personal invitation to help” and “a chance to volunteer with a friend or colleague”. As one activist said, “I don’t recruit people. I just think who might be able to help, tell them what we need, and ask them to do it. They hardly ever turn me down.”

That may not be your experience but direct asking is still worth trying. A variation on using friends is to have the recruiter say, “Let’s you and I work together.” By sharing one job, two people can often put more energy and creativity into the task. This tends to work best if you have, for example, a President and a President-elect.

One person is the final decision maker in case of disagreements and the other is preparing to step into that role next year.

Let them choose a role

Invite potential volunteers to attend committee meetings as an observer so that they can see what goes on. As far as possible, let the person choose their role rather than being pushed into it. Let potential tutors call themselves what they like, even though your U3A may have a preferred term. Volunteers can be a class tutor, a convener, a co-ordinator, a facilitator or whatever other term they prefer. If seeking new tutors for popular, long running courses, the obvious candidates include regulars who have been attending those classes for a long time. Regulars can be asked to start a beginners’ group to take some of the pressure off the existing tutor. But be careful. A few long-established tutors don’t want rivals in their teaching area and certainly not understudies. They suffer from the Messiah complex and, to be frank, can’t be cured. In such cases, be grateful for their contribution.

Support your volunteers

As a first step, a personal “thank you” or letter from the President or class co-ordinator is always a good way to introduce a volunteer to their new role in U3A. Unfortunately, some U3As provide minimum support when new people take over a job, specially if it is administrative. One class co-ordinator told me recently: “When I took over organising, I was given a piece of paper with a couple of contacts and phone numbers, told who to be wary of and that’s about all. “Then the previous co-ordinator took off for a long overseas trip.” Experience shows that when you have a new volunteer, ask an experienced volunteer to work with them to show them the ropes if at all possible. The newcomer will get up to speed faster and, if your mentor does their job well, will feel more like a part of the team from the start.

Some tutors create a paper file with information on their most common activities. Additionally, many U3As have developed guidelines, policies and procedures to help volunteers understand their roles.

That of U3A Northern Rivers is typical. Go to and click on ‘Policies and Guidelines’ on the RHS of the page.

Be flexible

Of course, U3A job descriptions are not set in concrete. Volunteers must be allowed some flexibility in how their handle their responsibilities. But the executive leaders should expect committee members to actually do work – not just sit in on meetings and contribute nothing relevant. They like the title but not the work. Beware of what the Americans call the BIC (Butt in chair) trap. In other words you are so desperate you’ll take anyone. Most times the chair is better empty than filled with the wrong person who does nothing useful or who is high maintenance.

Be appreciative.

Warmly welcome volunteers, publicly and privately. Say “We are so glad you’re here – we really need you.” Publish a portrait photo and brief biography in your newsletter not only of newcomers but also of established tutors. Perhaps the Editor could include a few brief words of appreciation from their students. Organise volunteer-only lunches or award ceremonies where tutors can discuss mutual problems (e.g. how to stop one person from dominating a class) and be briefed on policy changes. Another potential hurdle for some otherwise eager volunteer is the length of the commitment, usually 12 months. Can you organize for someone to do the job for a shorter period?

The final solution?

What if all fails? Your current administrators and tutors are leaving and no one is volunteering to replace them. The obvious solution: Pay people to do the job.
(Pause while everyone screams in horror) Yes, U3A is a non-profit self-help group founded on the principle of pure voluntary labour with no anticipation of financial reward. But many Baby Boomers expect to be paid their input. They’ve paid for help (babysitters, car mechanics, gardeners etc) all their working life and expect similar treatment. Commented one veteran U3A executive: “They say:’ I’ve paid my subscription fee – now entertain me.’ “They don’t seem to understand that U3A is not in business to teach and amuse people and make a profit.” And if your committee feels that paying for service is against U3A principles , consider this possible alternative – volunteers paid for by the government.

Can Newstart help?

The suggestion is that suitable people currently receiving the Newstart allowance could possibly – if government authorities approved – undertake some administrative or even teaching roles in their local U3As. The allowance is currently available to unemployed people over 22 years of age, including those within a few years of retirement but still too young to qualify for an aged pension Anecdotally I have heard that some charity shops have “employed” Newstart recipients over 60 to help sort clothes, arrange displays and similar work for a few hours a week. Apparently government authorities have in the past recognised that many people who lost a job at the age of 55 or more are extremely unlikely to get another paid job, no matter how hard they try.

These unemployed include often heads of departments and seniors with years of experience in all sorts of ventures. These often highly qualified people may be happy to do paid community work if no other paid work is available.

Currently to get a Newstart allowance you must be under pension age, regarded as
unemployed and “Unless exempted from mutual obligation requirements, must participate in or be willing to participate in approved activities (my emphasis) and/or job search.”
The Department of Human Services web site says eligible job seekers may be able to meet their Mutual Obligation Requirements by working voluntarily for a non-profit group. Before job seekers start, they need to verify that the position is suitable for them and meets the department’s requirements. Could working in U3A be approved for older job seekers? I don’t know but it could be worth finding out.

Of course the policy vacuum caused by the close Federal election result could result in changes to policies such as Newstart.

At the time of writing, single Newstart beneficiaries received a basic rate of $527.60 a fortnight, rising to $570.80 for people aged 60 or over after nine continuous months on payment. Applicants are subject to both an assets and income tests.

To sum up

As former PM Malcolm Fraser once famously said: ”Life was not meant to be easy.” It isn’t easy getting people to volunteer in U3A – ask any President if you don’t believe me – but it can be done. Hopefully this and the previous Newslink article will help you build an even brighter future in your U3A. The tips and hints mentioned are based on more than 20 years of experience with U3A leaders in Australia. I would like to particularly thank former Network President Pat McLaren-Smith for her invaluable input.

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Travelling U3A

by Yorke Peninsula U3A
A couple of people who have retired and were retired and travelling around Australia in a Motor Home and Caravan (two people travelling together) are using our local Library whilst they stay around for 6 weeks. They spoke to the Librarian and wondered if there was a group of people who may like to hear of their travels.

The Librarian in turn approached Yorke Pensinsula U3A with their names and the outcome is an “Every Day’s a Holiday” session for about 20 of our members.

They did not know about U3A so have now been given information about U3A throughout Australia.

You can locate NSW U3As (including Norfolk Island) via the Network website, and interstate U3As via the U3A Online website .

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Sydney Conservatorium of Music Tours and Free Concerts

Take a guided tour of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music to learn an unknown history of Sydney. Follow an exciting itinerary with 12 different locations to retrace 200 years of Australian history. From Aboriginal land to an international music school, the Conservatorium of Music offers a great insight into the culture of Music in Sydney prior to the Opera House.

Gain access to areas previously off limits to the public and uncover the remnants from the earliest colonial settlement such as the sandstone cistern and early drains laid by convicts. View the original features of the Government stables including the arches and turrets. Explore a maze underneath the Botanic Gardens with teaching studios, practice rooms, performance halls and the largest music library in the southern hemisphere.

Dates And Times (Commencing 2nd March )
Wednesdays & Thursdays
10:30am and 2pm

Free Concert is available at 12:30pm
10am and 1pm

Free Concerts are available at 11am and 2pm
Concerts are available during semester only.

– Adult: $25
– Concession $18 (Seniors Card)
– Child: $15

For bookings contact Elise Hudson
0421 651 215 or

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Obtaining low cost hardware and software for your U3A

by Mel Llewellyn, Eastlakes U3A

Connecting Up Inc. is a not-for-profit organisation that works to unleash the power of not-for-profits by providing a variety of information, products, resources and programs. Connecting Up manages technology donation programs of companies such as Microsoft, Cisco, Adobe, Symantec, SAP and many more to qualified not-forprofit organisations in Australia,

To participate in Connecting Up’s Donation and Discount program, eligible organisations must be non-profit nongovernment entities with a charitable purpose and meet the eligibility criteria outlined below.

All of Connectingup’s donating and discounting partners have differing eligibility requirements over and above these requirements.

Is your U3A listed on the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) Register OR have its income tax exempt (ITE) status recognised on the Australian Business Register? If Yes – Your U3A is likely to qualify to receive donated and discounted technology from some or all of our partners. Go to and follow the instructions to register for a Connecting Up account then the Donations and Discount Program

If your U3A is not listed with ACNC or income tax exempt, then you will need to register with the ACNC (, OR provide evidence of its income tax exemption.

Once Connectingup has sufficient evidence of your U3A’s income tax exemption you will receive an eligibility email typically from them, at which stage you will be qualified to place donation and discount requests via its platform.

For further information, go to


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U3A and your LGA

by Barrie Brennan, Tamworth U3A

Does your U3A have a good relationship with your local Council? How might this change as a result of potential amalgamations. Barrie Brennan of Tamworth U3A ponders the issues.

My comments following are the result of my observations about the role of Local Government Councils. The observations result from my activities for COTA, the local Country Music Museum and our U3A. My focus here however is our U3As.

My concern has been influenced by the notion of the amalgamation of Councils being promoted by the NSW Govt and the fact that our current Tamworth Regional Council results from the amalgamation a decade ago of 3 and a half councils.

I am also concerned that I am ‘unsure’ of where U3A fits within the current NSW Government’s picture of the state and the role of organisations like U3A.

The Tamworth Regional Council views the U3A as a ‘Seniors’ group that provides a wide program of activities to keep Seniors active and learning. Our website is connected to the Council site and potential retirees who may come to Tamworth certainly visit our site. We were given the honour of being the No 1 ‘Seniors’ organisation in Tamworth this year.

We may be perceived as being a good active group but we are not asked for our opinion or for advice. So we try to make a point of informing the Council. As an example, I have just, with U3A support of course, persuaded the Council to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the opening of our Mechanics’ Institute in 1866 (in May 2016).

We need to have this ‘passing on good news’ program to seek to broaden the view of what we represent and that we do have good ideas and plans.

But we have the problem that the community does not have a clear picture of what we do, and there is always the problem for Councils to include us as groups, particularly of Seniors, asking for favours. We are competing in our local community with so many other requests,
particularly from the charity area and related to health issues and persons with economic or mental health problems.

Another key issue for us – and other U3As of course – is transport. The city has a bus service but primarily it serves the school children and those in the villages distant from the city. There are funds made available for transport of elderly and particularly sick elderly people, but there are more demands for ‘the sick’ than the funds provided can offer.

With health, transport, accommodation and other services with higher priorities, the possibility of U3A being able to make some real contribution is problematic. If we seem to be ‘pestering’ the Council or Government departments or the agencies that are now receiving government funds on a regular basis, there seems to be a reluctance to listen to our calls for help or assistance.

The question then for us is: What do we really need to ensure that we are able to continue with our current program and lift our overall activities to help the wide community as well as our own members and other oldies?

As with other U3As, the provision of facilities for our wide range of activities is a major, and ongoing, problem. It is both of these things because access to the facility may be cancelled at short notice or the ownership of the facility may change. We have a range of activities: we need a range of locations. A key aspect is that these facilities may be located at an address that is ‘remote’ or ‘at the top of a hill’. Do we have to share in some way some part of the facility for some of ‘our time’ at the site?

In many LG areas the council does have access to properties and other facilities that could perhaps be used, and their use may be helpful to us, but there is no general, clearly identified policy from the LG body. We can argue that our use of the facility may help to reduce the isolation of elderly persons but that argument carries little weight with the Council.

Then there is the issue of a headquarters, home office + storeroom and perhaps an area where at least some of the U3A’s

materials and equipment may be stored and secured. At the moment much of our ‘gear’ is in the boots of cars or in the garages of Management Committee members. We are pleased that iPads have replaced large computers .. a storage problem somewhat reduced.

Also of concern are the costs associated with venues and the office plus storage plus space for some activities. These two activities – venues and HQ – are important factors in the costs for members. For some potential members the difference between their becoming and not becoming members may be related to the costs produced by venues and the management of the organisation. We have entered an agreement with the local Community College to hire a room at the College – they have experienced a reduction of numbers in day-time classes. The hire is quite costly and has caused us to increase our yearly membership although not with a large increase.

It is an important, but also difficult, strategy for U3As that they need to justify their contribution to the community, eg in helping outsiders come to town or to provide activities that are not offered by other organisations.

This strategy is certainly important if there is just one U3A in the council region. If there are several U3As in the region it may be necessary for the U3As to establish a combined/united strategy.

Councils – unless they are disbanded or absorbed – stay on forever. U3As define their own lifetime. The U3As require some sort of relationship with their local Council. Though a location-specific problem, it should be given some reasonably high priority in the projects for many of the U3As in the Network – especially if their town or suburb is involved in a LG amalgamation.

I do not claim to have answers to the problem of relations with local government. However, I think it is an important problem that may become more important in some areas in the near future. I would be happy to be involved in any plans for investigating this problem.

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Sharing the Load

by Aileen Harland, Liaison Officer, Wollongong U3A

It’s always a problem. Organizers seeking to put on a variety of courses face a huge strain in finding the human resources to maintain a vibrant, challenging program. Often it can seem that there are never enough people willing and able to carry out the research and deliver the presentations. One answer is to share the load by encouraging speakers from one U3A to travel to other nearby branches and deliver the same or similar presentation more than once.

Wollongong and Northern Illawarra U3As have added a rich component to their overall offerings. Every term, each branch sets out a program of movies in their newsletter. Members watch the movie as a group, then remain afterwards to discuss and critique what has been shown. The overarching aim is to bring together likeminded people who enjoy experiencing a broad selection of classic films.

The Coordinator of both groups, Rick Thompson, has a wealth of knowledge and experience behind him. Originally from the USA where he initially held the position of Research Manager for the American Film Institute Centre for Advanced Film Studies and, then, that of lecturer in the UCLA film school (California), Rick accepted an offer to establish a Cinema Studies Program at La Trobe University in Melbourne, which he conducted from 1980 to 2010. Both U3As are fortunate to have him coordinate the film program – at separate venues, some 25 kilometres apart.

The two groups are coordinated as follows:

  • The films chosen each week for Wollongong are different to those shown at Northern Illawarra.
  • Members of one of those U3As may choose to attend the viewings set up by the other.
  • By wearing their own U3A membership tag, no additional cost is incurred for either of the two groups for this one component.

Sharing a resource in this way does NOT seek to diminish the value of each individual U3A: every branch has its own unique identity and character, forged by those people who gather together from one area and exchange common interests and ideas as to what their U3A should be.

Sharing a resource in this way multiplies rather than diminishes the value of each individual one. For presenters, there is the advantage of maximizing audiences for a given amount of preparation; for U3A members, the advantage of fresh infusions of insight and information; and for organizers – some blessed relief from a Herculean task!

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Your Life Choices and Telstra websites

Fake Emails

According to the latest Kaspersky Lab statistics, 73.3 per cent of emails sent worldwide are spam. The vast majority of these spam emails are created to scam you of your hard-earned money.

Scammers are becoming more cunning than ever before with how they create scams and the words that they use in those emails. While emails from the prince of Nigeria asking you to help transfer some money in exchange for a percentage for your troubles have fallen off significantly, local and online service scams are rising.

Anyone using an email address ending with .au is being targeted at a more specific level than someone using a .com email address. This is because the scammer knows your email address relates to a person living in Australia.

Be on the lookout for emails from Telecommunication companies (Optus/Telstra etc), banking institutions (Westpac, Commonwealth Bank etc), online payment services (Paypal, Western Union), mail companies (Fed EX or Aus Post) and the Australian Tax Office (ATO).

Before opening an attachment or clicking through to a website, be sure that you are expecting an email, including the information, from the company. The trick I find most useful in determining whether an email is a scam is to scroll my mouse over the linked information in the email. By doing this, a display of the website url you’d be taken to will be shown. This will allow you to make an educated decision (if the link is going to then you know it is a real email).
Another trick is to also check the email address from which you received the email. If it looks dodgy or untypical of that organisation, it’s most likely unsafe.
As with anything in life, if an offer sounds too good to be true, it generally is. Never click a link that you aren’t expecting.

Scam phone calls

SCAMwatch and Telstra are warning consumers to hang up the phone if they receive a call out of the blue from someone claiming to represent Telstra and saying that there is a problem with their internet connection or computer.

Recent months have seen a surge in reports of scammers calling people at home and raising a false alarm that they are at risk of their internet being disconnected immediately, as their computer has been hacked or infected with malware and is threatening Telstra’s internet infrastructure. The caller claims that they are able to fix the problem on the spot, however a fee for this service will need to be paid and the person will also need to download software that will allow the caller remote access to their computer.

If you provide your credit card details and give remote access to your computer, the scammer may not only take more than the stated ‘fee’, but also infect your computer to gain access to your personal information and commit other acts of fraud.

A Police Officer from Victoria has also advised the following: “ Got a call last night from an individual identifying himself as an Telstra Service technician who was conducting a test on our telephone lines. He stated that to complete the test I should touch nine (9),zero ( 0), hash (#) and then hang up. Luckily, I was suspicious and refused.

Upon contacting the telephone company, I was informed that by pushing 90#, you give the requesting individual full access to your telephone line, which allows them to place long distance telephone calls billed to your home phone number. Do not press 90# for anyone.”

You can report scams to the ACCC via the SCAMwatch report a scam page or by calling 1300 795 995.

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Bequests to U3A

by Allan Haggarty

U3A has made a real difference to the lives of many retirees. At the end of a term, knowing that classes would be in recess for some time, one of my U3A’s members said that he wouldn’t know what he’d do without U3A. And one of my U3A’s classes doesn’t stop during school holidays due to demand from its members for them to continue without interruption. A number of them live alone and thrive on keeping their brains active as well as the important social interaction that goes with it.

Recently, I’ve been reflecting on U3A’s future expansion in NSW, especially given the uncertainty of further government financial assistance which has assisted our growth in recent years, especially in regional areas. My thinking has also been influenced by one of the Network committee members reminding us that Peter Laslett, the founder of the Cambridge model for U3A, which Australia adopted, warned of the danger of relying on government funding lest it influenced U3A’s aims and objectives.

My thoughts turned to the huge difference the late Sir Samuel McCaughey’s will made, especially in relation to education. An irrigation pioneer from Yanco when he died nearly 100 years ago, he left enough money in his will to establish four faculties at Sydney University. When his biography was written 30 years later he was still NSW’s most generous philanthropist. Mind you, he was a bachelor and died a wealthy man. [Incidentally, if you are interested in his remarkable life, you need look no further than the Network’s Resource Library.]

I also reflected on my time as a solicitor. I recalled administering the estate of a bachelor who hadn’t made a will and part of whose estate had to be distributed to distant relatives he’d never met. I also thought about the occasional client who wished to make a will and leave something to charity. Sometimes they’d have a cause in mind but feel overcome by the number of different charities raising funds for similar purposes and not feel able to decide between them. Lately choices in this regard
have been further complicated by the number of charities who have disappointed supporters either because of the low proportion of the amount donated reaching its target or because of enquiries revealing disturbing aspects of their activities.

It occurred to me that if such people’s lives had been enriched by U3A they may have felt disposed to leave a bequest to further the work of either their local U3A or the Network itself. A glance at the Network’s website will remind you of the extent of the Network’s activities.

A bequest wouldn’t need to be a large amount. Every little helps. Even if you have limited means, it could be raised from the sale of your assets after your demise. Your lifestyle wouldn’t be compromised in your 3rdAge. and you’d have the satisfaction of knowing that the organisation that helped make it an uplifting experience would benefit in a meaningful way.

These days some retirees are reaping the benefits of the generous tax treatment of superannuation in recent years and may feel inclined to leave just a modest bequest to U3A, even if they’ve been blessed with family members to share in their estate. And as people are living longer, often by the time they pass away their children are already enjoying a comfortable retirement.

If you are interested in considering a bequest the wording could simply be as follows:- I bequeath the sum of $ to (blank) U3A Incorporated whose receipt signed by its Treasurer for the time being shall be a sufficient discharge to my Executor/s.


  1. The $ amount needs to be specified and it’s preferable if it’s expressed in both words and figures to avoid any uncertainty.
  2. The name of the U3A to be benefited should be inserted in the blank. If you’d prefer to leave the bequest to the Network, insert ‘U3A Network NSW Incorporated’ in lieu of ‘(blank) U3A Incorporated.’
  3. If the intended recipient U3A is not incorporated, which is rare, seek the advice of your solicitor, who should be asked to prepare the will in any event so as to ensure your wishes generally are able to be implemented.

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Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute tours

The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute is delighted to extend an invitation to you and your members to come and meet their world leading scientists and see first-hand the ground breaking research that they are doing. Through heart surgery, Dr Victor Chang was able to save hundreds of lives, but he knew that through research, he could save thousands. From his vision the VCCRI has grown to 13 laboratories across five research divisions, working with a single vision – to reduce the incidence, severity, and impact of heart diseases.

Heart disease is Australia’s single number one killer. Every year more than 2,000 babies are born with congenital heart disease. The Institute’s researchers are working to crack the code of 23,000 genes to find the cause of CHD which will help solve the mystery of up to 80% of congenital heart defects. In a world first, last year researchers at the institute made the discovery of how to preserve a heart for transplantation for up to 14 hours, compared to 4 hours previously – a finding that promises to markedly increase the number of hearts available for transplants and improve outcomes of surgery.

The Institute hosts weekly tours from February through to November; tours take place on a Tuesday or Thursday each week. These tours start at 10:30 am and conclude at 12:00 noon.

The format of the tour is as follows:

  • Morning Tea on Arrival
  • Presentation from a senior scientist about their research
  • Tour of the laboratories

To book a tour or a guest speaker, contact Therese Saud on (02) 9295 8759 or email

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Gill Walker’s Marketing Ideas

Gill Walker, who had a background in advertising and spoke on marketing to older adults, told us that 3 million Australians were born before 1946 and 86% of them are retired. 70% have been to Bunnings in the last 3 months which might encourage U3As to hold a sausage sizzle to recruit new members. 75% read local newspapers and a similar percentage read direct mail which may encourage U3As seeking to connect with prospective members. By contrast the percentage of seniors with internet access (61%) is below average, though later Tom Holloway, of World U3A [?-Ed.] said that the take-up rate of technology by seniors was very good.

Ms Walker had many ideas on promotion. Some examples were:-

• In terms of publicity material good design is ageless, while bad design is ageist. High contrast of colours is a must and the headline in a brochure needs a solid colour as background, not scenery. Depicting a group of oldies is better than an individual. Consistency of image / message is vital i.e. appearance of brochure and letterhead should be the same.
– 10 –
• Maximum window for renewal notice is 1 month ahead. Consider offering 3 or 5 year membership. • Use Meeters and Greeters who are very good at their job. • Press Releases need to be news. Remind news outlets you are Not for Profit as there is some compulsion for them to publicise. • List address with Google as Business Partner and include on Google Maps. • Register with Source Bottle (for free) and list events. • Consider an alliance with a local company having an older workforce.