Communications, Again—Specifically the Monthly Newsletter

An early post laid out the communications issues that we deal with on staff.  This post continues the conversation.

 We have now converted our monthly newsletter to an electronic format and created a one-page UUCA Communique that we mail to our non-electronic members and friends (about 20).  Unfortunately, I think this was one of those things that “seemed like a good idea at the time.”

The electronic version of the monthly newsletter does in fact accomplish what we set out to do.  It’s much more reader-friendly on a computer or smaller device, it takes much less time to lay out than the print version did, and it does not require strict word limits for articles.  However, it has one fatal flaw: it reads exactly like a weekly enews edition WITH a month’s-worth of sermon titles and 4 columns.  And that causes its own set of problems.

First of all (because it’s all about me, right?), it is a completely aggravating experience to proofread both the monthly newsletter and the weekly enews because 1) they are extremely redundant and yet 2) are created by two different staff members so that edits I have made in one do not carry to the other.  Let’s just say it’s not fun to make the exact same changes to the same announcement twice.  (I edit them because I am here and because I have a good overview of what’s going on and can therefore add to or shorten an article intelligently.)  Second, we have hopelessly confused all the folks who submit articles to us.  Now no one knows who creates the monthly newsletter (Jules), who creates the enews (Tish) and what differences they should make to their announcements for each outlet (none of us seems to be clear on that).

But, most important of all, there is no reason to have two of the same set of announcements available electronically if they both are accessible on the website (and then printed for the order of service besides).  So, here’s a proposal for your comment:

  • Maintain the weekly enews and the insert to the order of service. (Remember that this also gets posted to the website so the current and past editions are always available for reference.)
  • Discontinue the monthly newsletter.
  • Add a “calendar” page to the lifespan religious education website area that reproduces what has been available in the monthly newsletter.
  • Create a new “post” page on the website that will feature a new column each week by one of our four column writers (Mark, Lisa, Joy and Board Chair Jane Bramham). Each enews will link to the newest column.  And as a bonus, these columns will allow for reader comments.
  • Recruit a volunteer* to create the monthly UUCA Communique printed piece for mailing and foyer rack placement (no luck finding this person yet).

What do YOU think about this latest proposal?

* Remember that Jules has reduced her work hours to 30 per week, so replacing her with this one volunteer job and having Tish create the enews should help her fit her other work into the allotted hours.  Jules’ reduction in work hours also has the happy side effect of reducing our personnel costs a bit.