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Volunteer-led emails improve local community engagement for the IET


To increase engagement across IET local networks by sending more personal and targeted emails to members and non-members in these areas.

Brand: The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) is working to engineer a better world. The increasing complexity and diversity of the engineering world brings many challenges, from skills shortages to consistency of professional standards. There has never been greater need for an independent, trusted body with international standing to deliver a clear vision and voice to address these challenges.

With a heritage reaching back over 140 years and nearly 160,000 members spanning 127 countries, the IET is well placed to support the engineers and technicians who share a common vision of working to engineer a better world.


With over 100 IET local networks run by volunteers that organize events around engineering and technology, a more localized communication approach was needed to support the growing community feel. But how do you do that while maintaining consistent branding, controlling access to sensitive information, and keep emails easy to create and send? Adestra’s MessageFocus proved the perfect solution for the challenge.

This initiative would not have been possible without the flexible account structure options offered in MessageFocus. We have been really pleased with the support we’ve received from the Adestra team, as well as the email performance results and positive feedback from our volunteers. Aaron Thiele, Communities Communications Executive

The Challenge

There are over 100 IET local networks run by volunteers that mainly focus on organizing  general interest events around engineering and technology. To promote these events, IET staff send out monthly emails listing the events. These are often grouped into regional newsletters that include a number of local networks.

The volunteers value the staff emails, but have expressed an interest in sending out personalized communication to those living in their local network. They also want to be able to have direct contact with members and non-members who are signed up to these emails.

The Solution

It was felt that the best way to achieve a more engaging email strategy for the local networks was to empower the volunteers to send emails to their own networks. That way the campaigns would be more relevant, and have more of a community feel.

The volunteers are not trained email marketers, and their involvement in the email program is optional. Hence the solution provided to them needed to be as easy as possible to use, maintain a consistent branding, and limit the chance of making mistakes.

Adestra worked with the IET to develop a solution using the flexible account structure and permissions management in MessageFocus.

A User Profile was developed with specific settings for the IET’s requirements:

  • Access limited to the tailored Volunteer Workspace
  • Permission to amend only their own campaigns
  • Access to handle or view data is restricted. An automated feed of data is sent daily for each local network and is automatically applied to each campaign
  • Personalised templates are created for each network to retain consistency of layout and branding
  • An approval process requiring sign-off from two IET marketing staff before emails can be deployed

Example of  IET volunteer newsletter


To make sure the volunteers have the necessary knowledge, the IET Communities Team created a short training video, a printed user guide, and email best practice guidelines for the volunteers.

The Result

The IET tested the process with a pilot phase involving 5 UK volunteers, which was followed by an alpha phase with 15 volunteers (including non-UK). Both of these testing phases were successful and volunteer access was rolled out, with users from around the world adopting the system. So far 27 volunteers have been set up as users, and feedback has been very positive.

The IET will be monitoring visits to their website, social networking platform, and also local event attendance to see whether the new volunteer-led emails improve engagement in these areas.

27 volunteers up-and-running

32% average open rate 

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