With communication technology advancing at a rapid pace, Arrowmen both new and old are used to having information close on hand quickly and on-demand. Traditional printed lodge newsletters serve an important role, but what fills the gap between printings, or when a last-minute change to the program requires fast dissemination of important announcements? The traditional “phone tree” has given way to a more twenty-first century approach: The electronic newsletter. A glorified mass email, the electronic newsletter can serve as an important weapon in a lodge’s communication arsenal. It is instantaneous, scalable, and normally free or low-cost. Lodges that have ever experienced difficulty communicating with members may consider starting a periodic electronic newsletter.
There are several very good companies that provide electronic newsletter platforms. These offer even a technical novice the ability to create appealing newsletters, offer a sign-up form on the lodge website, manage large mailing lists, and track the effectiveness of various communication strategies. Lodges with a more technically advanced web team may prefer to create their own software and tailor it to fit their needs. Some topics that lodges cover in their electronic newsletters include:
- Linking to LECM minutes
- Promoting Conclave
- Sending event surveys to improve future events
- Offering fun trivia contests
- Requesting Vigil recommendations
- Last-minute event changes
- Promoting the lodge’s Facebook page
- Reporting on recent section and national events
- Letting new Ordeal members know about JumpStart
It is important for lodges to maintain a policy about how frequently these newsletters are distributed. Many Arrowmen might regret signing up if their email inboxes are filling up with newsletters. Most lodges will find that sending the newsletter no more than once per month will be effective.
The above resource was submitted by Talidandaganu’ Lodge in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Egwa Tawa Dee Lodge in Atlanta, Georgia. Talidandaganu’, whose current membership is 245, began offering an electronic newsletter in January 2010 and has more than 165 subscribers. The lodge uses MailChimp.com to develop and maintain the newsletters and mailing lists.
Egwa Tawa Dee boasts 1200 lodge members and has offered its electronic newsletter since 2002. The lodge has around 800 subscribers. The lodge webmaster wrote his own Perl script to manage the mailing database.
Both lodges have experienced an increased versatility and effectiveness in lodge communications since implementing these technologies.