Did you intend to unsubscribe?

Did you intend to unsubscribe?

At District 91 Toastmasters we do our very best to keep in regular touch with you, our fellow members. Unfortunately, we are aware that many email systems, especially those for corporate and academic institutions, visit hyperlinks in incoming email messages automatically for protection purposes. This affects about nine percent of our members. As a small voluntary organisation, we also rely on all our members’ engagement to thrive and provide relevant and interesting content. We have established that two thirds of all apparent engagement is in fact generated robotically by these protection services. The effects are disproportionate and our website analytics have been rendered meaningless. 

An unfortunate consequence of this can be that the unsubscribe link in our email footer gets visited and consequently you may become unsubscribed from our mailings. We are concerned that this may happen without your knowledge or consent and although it occurs beyond our control, we are nonetheless looking for an effective solution to this issue. The typical pattern of behaviour for automated unsubscribes is that the follow-up survey is not completed.

Whilst it is unfortunate when any member becomes unsubscribed in this way, it can also have consequences detrimental to the good governance of our district. If you are serving as Club President or Vice President of Education, you are a member of our District Council, the supreme decision making body in our district. If you are serving as a District Officer, you are a member of both our District Council and of our District Executive Committee. In both cases, meetings are notified at least four weeks in advance and members of the body need to register their attendance and submit business motions in advance. The meetings must also be quorate in order to conduct business. Thus, an unintended consequence of an automated unsubscribe may be that you become unaware of meetings, although they are also posted on our district calendar, resulting in your club becoming disenfranchised from our decision making process.

What are we doing about it?

Our approach has three aspects. Firstly, if you have engaged with both our email and our website before becoming unsubscribed, then you have a cookie stored in your web browser and we can notify you of the issue when you next visit our website. Secondly, when we have established that a member’s email is controlled by protection services, we are replacing direct email links to our website with indirect links via a CAPTCHA page. Since the protection services cannot pass the CAPTCHA test, it means that our website analytics will become meaningful for the first time. Lastly, we are striving to achieve 100% DMARC compliance. DMARC is a trust system for email which affects email deliverability and may affect the treatment our email receives from protection services.

False positives

We are on a steep learning curve and unfortunately we have become aware of false positives and aim to reduce them. Robotic activity is detected primarily by velocity. Simply put, robots ‘click’ more and faster than humans. However, we may have particular habits, and we’re now aware that for some this means double-clicking on web links, which doubles the amount of engagements recorded and can bring members into the clicking range of robots, resulting in false positives. However, robots cannot complete CAPTCHA and thus CAPTCHA protected assets, like forms, can only be completed by humans.

False negatives

As well as false positives meaning that actual engagement may be missed, there are also personal privacy tools that conceal interaction with email and click-throughs to our website, making the activities of members who use them invisible to us. If we believe that members are not engaging at all, then we will unsubscribe them after four months of inactivity, providing one week’s notice. This enables our mailing list to become self-cleaning, reducing both our costs and our maintenance burden. Members can resubscribe at any time, using the form to the right of every news article and others elsewhere on our website. (Note: We will not unsubscribe currently serving club or district officers with a valid and working email address).

What can you do about it?

If you have been unsubscribed robotically once, it is liable to happen again. If you use an institutional email address to receive Toastmasters email, you could ask your IT team to whitelist toastmasters.org and d91toastmasters.org.uk as trustworthy domains for email. Alternatively, you could change your email address at toastmasters.org to your personal email address. If you also reply to inform us of this change, we can ensure that this does not result in a duplicate record being created. Please also reply to our email to let us know if our email to you is misrepresented as promotional or spam and we will see what we can do to improve deliverability. The mere act of replying may resolve the issue for you.

District 91 Leaders: Talk Up Toastmasters!

Over the last few weeks, as part of the PR effort around the Talk Up Toastmasters campaign, (inspired by idea in a speech by Rupa, our District Director) I have been setting up interviews between the District Leadership team and Division Directors to ask them what brought them to Toastmasters and why they keep coming back. The Talk Up Toastmasters campaign is designed to get new Guests to visit Clubs. The campaign runs until the end of March 2023 and D91 Clubs will be rewarded if they add 5 or more Members in this period. What better way to do this than to reflect on what we have both got out of our time in the organisation. Hence these great videos!

You can see the individual videos below which I’m sure you’ll agree are very heart warming. I love to see the rapport and interaction between professionals who respect one another.

For my part and reflecting on what I have taken out of (in some cases filming) viewing and editing these interactions is that people come to Toastmasters for all sorts of reasons, and the reasons they come for and seldom the reasons they stay. I’d go further than that it’s impossible to predict how your journey will go when you first join, mainly because you have no idea of the different learning and leadership possibilities the organisation presents. When you meet people who have never heard of Toastmasters, don’t just sell them on the features and benefits tell them why are you came and why are you keep coming. Just as it is on stage with in the club personal stories and anecdotes are the most powerful ingredients for creating emotional connection and provoking action. Try it for yourself and gain inspiration below.

Chris Arning, Public Relations Manager & Debbie Williams, Club Growth Director

As D91 PR Manager, I caught up with Debbie Williams, Club Growth Director this week to speak with her about the Talk Up Toastmasters campaign designed to get new Guests to visit Clubs. The campaign runs until the end of March and Clubs will be rewarded if they add 5 or more Members in this period. What better way to do this than to reflect on what we have both got out of our time in the organisation. It was a short chat and we answered just two questions. One: what first brought you to come toToastmasters AND Two: what keeps you coming back to Toastmasters.

Amy Jones, Admin Manager & Diane Richardson, Program Quality Director

In this Talk Up Toastmasters video District 91 Admin Manager, Amy Jones and Program Quality Director, Diane Richardson discuss what brought them to Toastmasters and what keeps on coming back year after year as they joined in 2016 and 2015 respectievely. In this succinct but wide ranging chat they cover off being pestered by friends to join a meeting, creating community, living by a service ethos, why are you will never leave if you keep learning, and how Toastmasters ultimately makes us become ‘better pack animals’.

Rupa Datta, District Director & Eddy Quah, District Finance Manager

In the latest in a series of DISTRICT 91 Talk Up Toastmasters videos our District Director, Rupa Dutta sits down with District Finance Manager, Eddy Quah to Talk up Toastmasters. They ask each other why they first came through the door of a Toastmasters meeting and what keeps them coming back. It is a heartwarming chat, full of emotion, peeling back the onion and tears of laughter.

Gillian Prior Division J Director and John Akers Division L Director

Gillian and John discuss how joining Toastmasters helps us gain an extra-curricular activity and builds networks for some people. For others Toastmasters help them navigate career changes and to face their fears and to go in a new direction by building the skills to face an audience, and how for us all the learning never stops. Even the quietest little mice can find their voice at Toastmasters!

Division C Director, Emily McQuillen and Division H Director, Emmanuel Karamagi

Emily and Emmanuel talk to each other about how they both arrived at Toastmasters. It is as often by accident as by design, but whether it is arriving through a date night or more purposeful in improving one’s interview skills, Toastmasters gets us on a journey where we can develop and as these Division leaders have shown once you are on the learning track you keep developing in leadership growth and finding new paths in the organisation.

Division B Director, Andy Hessey and Division K Director, Rose Nakibirango

Andy and Rose talk to each other about how they both arrived at Toastmasters. Sometimes it can be an intriguing new pastime to take up when you have moved to a new area but that it often develops from there. The wonderful people, the learning and the fun is what keeps people coming back to meetings. And during lockdown some people ever became Key Workers!

Division A Director, Suhas Kumar and Division D Director, Janet Alkema

Suhas and Janet talk to each other about how they both arrived at Toastmasters. Starting one’s own business means that you cannot avoid getting up and speaking. For some people joining TM is an accident, for others it is more purposeful. Toastmasters can improve many aspects of your life – not only ones you might expect like speaking but others too like negotiation skills and time management – then you stay to pass these skills on to others!

We hope you will gain some inspiration and identification from what we said. Find out more about the campaign and what it could mean for your Club.

Talk up Toastmasters

Perhaps you will conduct your own interviews and put them out on social media? If so we will share them on D91 channels. We look forward to hearing from you.

Chris Arning,
PR Manager, District 91, 2022-2023

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