The Voice of Your Club
Producing a club newsletter is one of the primary duties for a vice president public relations. Also, serving as editor counts as credit for the 10th project of the Competent Leadership manual.
Document and publicize current events
Inform with educational material
Provide visitors with take-home information
Connect new members with the club
Encourage communication among members
Recognize members’ accomplishments through published stories
Inspire all members to participate further in the Toastmasters program
Help the club achieve its mission and vision
How to get started
Contact the new club president and offer to produce a newsletter. Ask about the president’s vision for the year, and discuss how the newsletter can support the club’s vision.
When the new club executive discusses its Club Success Plan, discuss how the club newsletter can help in the completion of club goals. Invite input from the club’s leaders on the vision and mission for the newsletter and help make the goals concrete.
Create a newsletter committee. Your committee may include a proofreader and photographer if you wish to include pictures. You may wish to share training on all aspects of newsletter production with every team member. That way, everyone maximizes their learning from this project and others can step in to help.
Discuss the type of content you want and how many newsletters should be produced. By outlining details in accordance with the Club Success Plan and events in the Toastmasters calendar, you can get an idea of what each issue will look like. Remember, the quality of the content is more important than the volume of information.
Contact each club member individually and sell your vision for the newsletter. By inviting individual input and establishing rapport early, members will be keen to participate in the newsletter. Please do this when there is no pressure to produce a newsletter. For example, talk to members before the summer holidays if you plan to produce a September newsletter. Members will be glad to supply information and articles when the time comes.
For the layout, research other newsletters for ideas. Also, look at designing a masthead and layout very carefully, and keep this consistent for every issue. (For a newsletter template, visit the Brand Portal) As you build the newsletter, think of the purpose behind the details. The layout may take about two weeks to plan and design. If you are not savvy with the computer, consider asking a fellow member with appropriate publishing experience and software to help you.
Start your newsletter one month before publishing and ask members to submit articles at least two weeks prior to publishing. This will allow editors to proofread and correct articles.
Don’t forget to celebrate the completion of each newsletter, and send electronic or paper copies to each member.
Share Your Success
These strategies will help you get started but there are a lot of things you can still learn and contribute as an editor. When your term is complete, consider mentoring the next newsletter editor!
Adapted from an article from the August 2007 Toastmasters Magazine by Rhys Davies, ATMS, ALS.