Guidance to help Club Newsletter editors
Guide for club newsletter editors
Each club's newsletter should be tailored to the particular needs of that club. It should be "slanted" to the character of that club and should identify that club's priorities and ambitions.
It may include any or all of the following and more!
- A message from the President;
- A diary of events and activities;
- Club duties;
- General interest stories;
- A regular column from some particular erudite members;
- Report (and pictures) of recent events;
- Reports from club committee chairmen on their current projects;
- Details of new members;
- A list of visitors from other clubs and clubs visited by your members;
- Birthday and anniversary greetings to members and their spouses;
- Changes in member details, addresses etc;
- Information exchanged with other local Rotary clubs on their activities;
- Summary of District Governor's monthly newsletter;
- Extracts of RI and RIBI circulation's;
- Press reports on Rotary matters;
- Summaries of District Council meetings and conferences;
- Biographical notes on new members, old members, characters, incoming President etc.;
- Letters from members or an "opinion" column;
- Items of club history, gleaned from older members or from club activities;
- News and information from related Rotaract, Interact and Inner Wheel clubs;
- Items from Cliff Dochterman's excellent "ABCs of Rotary".
What form should it take?
This depends on: -
- what sources you have available;
- how much material you have to work with;
- how much money club council allocates and what advertising, if any, is available.
- The newsletter may be a couple of sheets, photocopies and stapled together or, equally, it may be a printed magazine with many pages It is the content that counts!
The art of editing
- Get the club organisation working with you
- The president's diary will tell you where the important Rotary events will be held
- The club secretary gets a lot of good information, make sure he passes it on to you!
- Pick up the club's success stories from the service chairmen's reports
- Scan as many newsletters from other clubs as you can for ideas and interesting pieces that you can "borrow". Always acknowledge the source and always send them your newletters in return.
- Give the who, what, where and how in every story, but avoid the wow except as a special effect used sparingly.
- If an event is organised by a committee, get all their names and be careful to spell them correctly.
- The sin of omission is unforgivable. Always correct mistakes promptly i.e., in the next issue.
- Limit the number of people in photographs or the printed photo will show a lot of small blobs
- Crop photographs to include the action but not much more. Try to judge how to show it best thin and deep or wide and not so deep.
- Keep headlines short. A clever, or punning, headline usually works very well.
- Make sentences short and get all the facts into the first few paragraphs. Capture the reader within the first one hundred words or you've lost him.
- Promote "your" newsletter at every opportunity and you should be inundated with information.
Include humour in every issue. Jokes, cartoons drawn by the club's artist, rueful tales, an amusing slant on local event anything with a little fun.
Your readers will take more notice of the serious bits if the whole newsletter has balanced content and is enjoyable to read. The acid test is whether members' partners want to read the newsletter! Remember you are writing for friends, not strangers (even if they are not members of the club). Above all, enjoy what you do and your enjoyment will show in your magazine. Remember, Rotary should be enjoyable and enthusiasm is contagious.
Distribute newsletters on the basis that all publicity will make the club and its activities better known and provide a significant aid to recruitment. Ensure that all members receive each issue but also send it to as many of the following as practical: -
- former members;
- prospective members;
- partners of deceased members;
- the District Governor and District Officers;
- local Rotaract, and Interact clubs;
- contact clubs and neighbouring clubs;
- local newspapers and libraries;
- doctors and dentists for their waiting rooms;
- anyone else whose opinion it may influence!
The above guidance is abstracted from the RIBI INFORMATION SHEET which can be downloaded by clicking below.
Download - The Club Bulletin RIBI Information sheet 2012