GEN: Re: Newsletters (Long - 178 lines)
Tue, 31 Jan 1995 11:33:21 -0700
Referencing the recent discussion about Pack and Troop newsletters...
This was posted last night on Roots-L, and is reposted by permission
of the original poster. Although there is a certain amount that does
not apply to unit newsletters, I am including the entire text as a help
for OA Chapter newsletters, or any other large-scale undertakings.
Comments and questions should be directed to Mr. Agnew, at the e-mail
addresses he provides.
Date: Mon, 30 Jan 1995 14:04:00 -0800
Subject: Re: Newsletter
RE: C. Darney's Question of 1/29/95 -
"I am involved with the planning of a family reunion (SCHMIDT) this
"summer. One of the tasks I have will be to produce a Family
"I want to put out the first issue about 4 weeks before the reunion
"to "remind" everyone what will be happening. I would like to
"continue producing the newsletter on at least an annual basis. I
"would like to hear from others for suggestions about format,
"content, size, frequency, etc with regard to producing a newsletter.
Congratulations - I am sure you will have a lot of fun with your
I am the New newsletter editor for "The Agnewsletter", a quarterly
for the Agnew Association of America. I have put out two issues so
far (Sept. and Dec. 1994) so I can pass along what I know so far.
The response to my first two issues has been almost entirely
favorable. 4 issues per year is a lot of work! My second issue was
much harder to get out than the first - the enthusiasm had worn off
and the realization had sunk in - this was a solo project! Pretty
soon I will run out of my own ideas and will have to start calling
people for their written contributions. And I have members wanting
me to go to a monthly format! That's too much work, and I don't get
enough stuff to put out that many issues.
Membership is $15/year in the USA, or $40 for 3 years. This covers
the cost of mailing and printing the newsletter, plus misc. letter-
writing among the board members, etc. and a little toward annual get-
Our newsletter is usually about 12 pages, which fits onto 3 11"x17"
sheets of paper, double sided, 2 pages per side, folded in half and
stapled twice along the edge. This weighs almost exactly one ounce
per piece. It gets folded in half again (top to bottom) and stapled
before mailing. At least one issue is a double-size (24 page) hummer.
This format requires that your newsletter must be a multiple of 4
pages (4, 8, 12, 16, etc.) so that no pages are left blank.
Printing is accomplished at Kinko's Copy Service. They have a special
"Photo-grade" copying routine which makes great Black & White copies
of any pictures you want to include. Be careful not to use tape over
the pictures, as it will copy nicely! Just use a glue stick to attach
the photo to the page (or if you have a scanner, just scan it in and
position it on the page - my next purchase!)
We have a nice letterhead, which was originally done on a Mac in
Pagemaker. Since I have a PC and no Pagemaker, I have settled on
just copying it from the last issue (Kinko's can do a translation for
about 10 bucks). The rest of the newsletter is set up in WordPerfect,
two columns per page (except p.1, which is one column, usually),
automatically paginated, with a header on each page just saying, for
example "The Agnewsletter December 1994" in the corner, and a solid
underline (under the header) from margin to margin of about 1/10"
thickness. I have set the margins at 1/2" but you might want to make
them bigger, if you intend to 3-hole punch them for loose-leaf binders.
Contents include summaries of recent get-togethers and future plans
for get-togethers, an editorial page written by me, lots of letters
and queries from both members and non-members, stories and reminis-
cences written by Agnews or about Agnews, family lines contributed by
members, poems about genealogy, pictures contributed by members (of
people, Agnew castles in Scotland & Ireland, etc.), something
scholarly (last issue was a list of all "Agnew" place names in the US
with their locations - all 30 of them...before that it was a listing
of books-in-print by Agnews), and just about anything else that the
editor (me) might consider relevant to the members (Births, Marriages,
Deaths and Obituaries, New Members List). About once every two years
we put a complete member list in a double-sized issue. Remember to
always include a complete postal address for anyone sending in letters
and queries, as most people do not have Internet (or even computers).
I include the e-mail addresses, too. The font size varies from an
easy-to-read 12-pt. to 10-pt. if I have to squeeze a lot onto one
page. Some of the picture credits and by-lines can be as small as
8-pt., but consider the eyesight of your readers! (Most of our members
are over 60).
You will get contributions from members that have nothing to do with
anything, and you must use common-sense ("Will this be of interest to
anyone other than the guy/gal who sent it to me?") in selecting the
I get one complete copy printed out on my laser printer on 8.5"x11"
sheets, then take that to Kinko's and get 250 to 300 copies made -
enough for the mailing list plus about 25 for back-issues, which we
sell for $3.50 each. They do all the work of putting the pages in
the correct order (I give them a back-issue as an example). Printing
costs seemed kind of high to me, but the quality is excellent. I use
the cheapest paper as it is much lighter in weight than the card
stock (to mail).
I always send out about 25 to 30 copies to prospective non-members in
hopes that they will subscribe. I got a listing of all Agnews in the
USA off PhoneFile on Compuserve - 2,704 of us. (There's probably
more than that). I also send complimentary issues to genealogical
libraries. Prospective members can't subscribe if they haven't heard
of us! This has already paid off in new memberships.
I try to maintain a very "open" editorial stance - non-members are
just as welcome as members to contribute info. This has also paid off
more than once in tying Agnew descendants together (member to
If you have 200 or more to mail out, you should apply for a Bulk
Mailing permit. The easiest to get is the precancelled stamp permit
($85/yr), which allows you to send a 12-p. newsletter (of the type
described above) for 22.5 cents each within the USA. Overseas news-
letters must be put in an envelope and mailed first-class (About $1
each). Newsletters must be put in zipcode order and bundled by strict
rules - see your local USPS bulk mailing facility. The stamps come
in rolls of 500 ($50.00) - each stamp is .10 - the difference in
actual per-piece mailing cost is paid when you mail them. There are
other rules for bulk mailing - your USPS facility will give you a
brochure which must be strictly followed or the mail police will get
you (just kidding). If you are registered as a non-profit group with
the IRS, you can get cheaper mailing rates. If you have near 200 but
not quite enough, make it 200 by sending out free issues to
prospective members - it's still cheaper than sending them all 1st
If you have less than 200, you will have to use first-class postage.
One advantage to sending them first-class is that they arrive much
quicker! Bulk mail can take 3 weeks or longer, while 1st Class is 3
to 4 days, so plan accordingly. Our Sept. issue (24 pages) went
first-class for .52 each. So, if you want them to ARRIVE 4 weeks in
advance, and you're using bulk mailing, mail them 7 weeks in advance!
One bugaboo I'm still trying to deal with is the mailing list. I am
supposed to maintain the list based on information supplied by our
secretary, who lives on the opposite coast. All subscription requests
go to her, so I'm relying on her to give me accurate info regarding
new members and re-ups (renewals). I would recommend that the news-
letter editor see all subscription requests before they go to the
secretary... but that's an issue for the next annual meeting. I pay
for everything (printing, postage) with a credit card and then get
reimbursed by the secretary before the bill comes in, hopefully!
I'd be happy to answer any further questions about newsletters. I
might even have a few questions myself, come next issue (March 1995)!
I'm still learning a lot, both about the Agnews and about newsletters
in general. It's been fun so far.
Jim Agnew, Editor
Agnew Association of America
4 Kiowa Ct.
Henderson, NV 89014-1536
Chuck Bramlet, ASM Troop 323
Thunderbird District, Grand Canyon Council
I didn't used to be anything! (Except younger) Maybe someday...
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Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City