Make Headlines with an Improved Club Newsletter All healthy clubs take pride in having top-notch communication. The club newsletter—that reliable workhorse that shows up in Lions’ mailboxes like clockwork—takes a leading role in fostering an informed membership. At its best it can also inspire, connect and create good humor, ultimately contributing to a stronger, more united club. What’s Behind the Best Bulletins How is a winning newsletter crafted? Three editors of newsletters that have been honored in the LCI International Contest weigh in. The Panel Kenneth Gantz, Prescott Noon Lions Club, Arizona Honorable Mention, 2013-2014 Retired architect, photography and publishing program enthusiast Jack Morris, Loomis Lions Club, California Honorable Mention, 2013-2014 and 2011-2012; First Place, 2012-2013 Author of 10 e-books Rich Polanek, Mont Clare Elmwood Park Lions Club, Illinois Honorable Mention, 2013-2014; First Place, 2011-2012 Retired Chicago Tribune advertising artist and graphic designer The Purpose KG: With more than 100 members, the newsletter is important in helping everyone stay informed, especially those unable to attend a meeting. It recognizes new members and members’ contributions, which helps with retention and club growth. JM: It attracts people to Lionism and shares service ideas. A club’s newsletter doesn’t have to be limited to club activities. Our newsletter goes international—we include what Lions are doing across the globe. RP: I focus on club activities and show how we use donations to benefit our community. Sharing service images and stories of club members inspires those in and outside the club. The Look KG: The newsletter is fun, interesting and informative while also having a creative and well-designed look. I have a basic master page that I alter to keep it interesting. RP: I try to create an interesting cover to entice members to open it up. I use as many member service images as possible. The graphics are the newsletter’s strength—they pull readers in. The Content KG: Some important items are the Board of Directors’ minutes, the President’s Message, speaker schedule, special anniversaries, the district report and Lion of the Month. I frequently include new member bios and a club history item. JM: Every issue offers a health article, a Loomis historical note, a member interview, a troop report by a Scout and a cartoon. Our foreign readers send me club news to include. The Delivery JM: My email list is more than 2,000. Monthly it’s sent out as a PDF and posted on Facebook. RP: It’s delivered quarterly via emailed PDF and posted on our website. The Panel’s Top Five Tips for a Better Newsletter 1. Take ideas from your favorite magazines and apply them. 2. Be creative—don’t be afraid to change the format and experiment to keep it fresh and fun. 3. Set a high quality standard. Never send an edition out unless it’s been checked for grammar and accuracy. 4. Take and include lots of great photos of Lions in action. Balance them with complementary text. 5. Make tough decisions when editing. An overly crowded newsletter isn’t reader-friendly. Calling All Notable Newsletters Does your club newsletter deserve recognition? Entries for the 2014-2015 International Contest are due May 1. Find the official rules at lionsclubs.org. View samples of the Loomis, Mont Clare Elmwood Park and Prescott Noon club newsletters at lionmagazine.org. Makeover Made Easy Even design novices can try out an updated look for your newsletter. Find a variety of templates in Microsoft Publisher. Apple users can find templates in the Pages App or at iTunes.
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