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Friday, November 10, 2017

The newsletter: a building block of participation

PNW Optimist ClubsOnce a month, I share a membership recruitment and retention tip on Facebook.  As I look back on the suggestions, many of them are about communication, so today's tip isn't going to be much different. Our topic: newsletters!

I used to receive quite a number of Optimist Club newsletters each week. I imagine that over the years, as club newsletter duties have moved to new editors, that my email address has perhaps been dropped from their lists. Since my fancy district title these days is past governor, one might wonder why I would be interested in what their clubs are doing. I'm interested for a number of reasons:

  • I want to congratulate the club and its members on successful projects
  • I want to learn about ideas that might work well in my community with my Optimist Club
  • I might want to donate to their causes
  • I might want to participate in their activities
  • I want to share what they are doing with others

All reasons, and more, are important, but let me focus a bit on the last two.

One of my most fulfilling and important tasks with Optimist Clubs is sharing stories. I do it on this website, on Facebook and Twitter and other social platforms, and in person as I talk about what Optimist Clubs do and accomplish in the Pacific Northwest, West Coast Region, and around the world. I hope that my stories inspire others to do more, provide service in their communities, and take pride in being an Optimist Volunteer. That means, yes, I want and invite people to join an Optimist Club.

It's easier to invite someone to participate, members and non-members alike, when one knows what's happening and what's going on. That is why this month's membership retention and recruitment tip is so important. We can't rely solely on word-of-mouth. We can't rely solely on social media. We certainly can't trust that a press release will be published.

We can, however, trust that our club newsletter will share all the information our members and stakeholders need to know, when they need to know it. All they need to do is open it, at their convenience, and read it. I urge you, Optimist, please give some attention to this crucial communication tool today.
Membership retention and recruitment tip #51: Share your club newsletter. Some clubs call it a bulletin, others call it a newsletter, and some simply call it a weekly reminder email. It doesn’t matter what you call it as long as you do it consistently. Writing what happened at your last meeting or project is news; writing what will happen at your next meeting or project is an announcement; and writing of any type is communication and everyone needs more of that! Share your club messages in a clear, concise manner on a regular basis and your membership participation will grow.
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