Bulletin vs. Newsletter

Traditionally the Club Bulletin is the publication used to communicate with members. The age of digital communications has changed that, such that even the relevance of the club bulletin is now in question.

It's extraordinary how many clubs only have a list of members, as if somehow that's where new members and new customers come from.

A well maintained and comprehensive contact database empowers your club to reach potentially thousands of non-members at no cost.

Types of contacts

Categorising your contacts properly allows you to send precisely targeted messages and newsletters, depending on their purpose.

There is never a clear cut definition of various categories, so it's normal for one contact to fit under multiple definitions.  Any or all should receive your newsletter - providing it's newsy and not evangelising Rotary.

Contact category
Members Bulletin distribution, attendance management, participation measurement, controlling access via login.  Reminders, club notices, members' directory (printed, mobile phone and website), committee structures
Event attendees Reminders, notes of appreciation, early-bird repeat invitations.  Excellent source of potential members.
Sponsors Special invitations, club business directory, acknowledgement.
Newsletter subscribers General news, community news, human interest stories, club successes, projects.
Customers Event attendees, online sales.
Supporters Special invitations, club business directory, acknowledgement. Excellent source of potential members.
Volunteers Acknowledgement, recognition, assembling project teams. Excellent source of potential members.
Alliances Expose collaborating community initiatives with shared values.

Your contact database is your most valuable club asset.  Apart from any privacy considerations you should never give names away to allies or sponsors.

At most, promote your sponsors to contacts in your database, but never give any third party direct access to it.

How to get names and contact details for your database

Where the method of input is listed as automatic, that assumes clubs are using a StreamScape club website.  Otherwise it's a process of manually adding names.

At every step it's essential that you obtain the contact's name and email address, without which effective communication is impossible.

Source Method of input
Members Manual, updated and maintained by members themselves
Attendees at events Automatic where they've booked on line, manually otherwise
Raffle and competition entries Manual.  State that the winner will be notified by email to encourage entrants to provide their email address
Visitors to your club Semi-automatic or manual
Door prize entries Manual.  State that the winner will be notified by email to encourage entrants to provide their email address.
Newsletter subscriptions Automatic
Enquiries from your website Automatic
Volunteers Automatic when managed via your website
Sponsors and Supporters Automatic or manual
Online sales (such as merchandise or Christmas Puddings) Automatic
Accumulated business cards Manual or partly automatic using a business card scanner.  Probably risky because so many are likely to be obsolete.
Officers' mail Manual.  Will usually require club officers to go through their mailboxes to extract official club email

Once the initial chore of populating a database is complete, it becomes a much simpler administration task to keep it up to date.  Doing so is critical.  With a StreamScape Rotary Club website it's real easy because the facility is already built in, ready to use.

Warning! Sending bulk emails using a list that contains many invalid email addresses may result in your club's mail service being blacklisted as a spammer.

StreamScape can help your club

A StreamScape club website delivers unparalleled online marketing, member recruitment and PR opportunities for your club.