Audi Car Club North America Chapter 7 Chapter Development Manual Local Newsletters Developing a Local Newsletter As a new or existing Chapter of ACNA, a paper newsletter of some sort is often a valuable tool. It gives members and prospective members a “hard copy” newsletter that they can hang on the refrigerator or keep on their desk to remind them of information regarding Chapter meetings, special events and driving events. The newsletter can be as simple or as complex as the Chapter wants it to be. The newsletter needs to contain a variety of information, so that the members can pla n their time accordingly and be informed of news items or other items relative to the Chapter, Club or the Audi Marque: • Monthly meeting times, places and dates • Local Chapter Officers with contact information including phone numbers and email addresses • Any advertising of local sponsors that may be appropriate • Pictures from recent events • Articles that can be original to the editor or members or that are borrowed (with permission) from other pertinent sources, including the Internet, other magazines or other news sources • Entry forms or other documents that need to be distributed to members • Ballots for local Chapter elections • Return address for newsletters that are undeliverable • News about Audi Club of North America in general • Articles about the history of the Audi Marque There are many formats for newsletters. Programs such as Page Maker, Quark and Publisher are just three examples of templates or places to start with the graphic layout of document. Poll your membership and find those members who are savvy with the use of programs such as these. That’s the least expensive way to get the newsletter started. If there is no one in your Chapter like this, you might inquire about prices from local desktop publishing firms in your area to see if using one of them is economically feasible. Speaking of economics, there are a number of ways to cover the costs of newsletter production. Many times, a local Audi dealer will be interested in helping you defer some of the costs in return for advertising or mention in the publication. After market accessories shops, body shops, tire suppliers or other interested businesses may well be interested in doing the same. Additionally, recognized Chapters may file a “Request for Funding” to the National Office and can be reimbursed for some or all of the costs of newsletter production, assuming that they justify the costs and that those costs are not exorbitant. Typical costs involved in producing a Chapter newsletter include (but are not limited to) the following: • Any costs to layout and produce the original, such as desktop publishers, etc. • Printing and paper costs to actually produce the copies required for distribution • Mailing of the copies to members, including postage, handling and mailing labels Remember, sometimes bulk mailing can significantly reduce your costs. Also remember that there are numerous restrictions on bulk mail qualification and any Chapter considering bulk mailing should contact USPS regarding those restrictions. Restrictions include size of finished product, number of recipients and area of distribution. Check with the Postal Service regarding those items. Additionally, there are outfits in most major cities that will handle bulk mailing or any type of mailing for you, should you choose. Audi dealers frequently have the capability of providing postal metering services Audi Car Club North America Chapter 7 Chapter Development Manual Local Newsletters and sometimes actually have some money built into their budgets to cover things such as this, so check with them. Again, this varies from location to location. And when it comes to mailing labels, there are a myriad of programs that can handle data merging and printing. Mailing information (as well as general information about members) can be obtained on a regular basis from the National Office. Simply call, identify who you are and where you’re from and they’ll begin sending you regularly updated information on your Chapter membership which can be used to provide the necessary data for your mailing labels. As far as the look of the newsletter, each Chapter is allowed a lot of leeway in that regard. We’d like to see the Chapter logo somewhere on the cover in addition to a newsletter name. It’s easier to refer to the newsletter in conversation. It’s also important to identify each newsletter by date or by Volume, so that you can tell one from the other. Remember, the Post Office requires that there be a functional return address on each piece you mail out. It’s also important to have someone at that return address who can note and record all changes of addresses and similar items that are pertinent to deliver of the newsletter. Any updated information that you can pass on to the National Office is also appreciated. Remember, too, that for individual events, last minute reminders and other items, you can shoot out emails to a list of members, post cards or similar small mailed pieces or phone them up to pass along information. The same programs mentioned above have templates for the creation of post cards, reminders and other types of small mailed information items. Your monthly updates from the National Office will provide you with email addresses of those in your Chapter so equipped. Remember, information contained in those monthly reports is not to be sold, given away or otherwise abused. Privacy of ACNA members is of the utmost importance. Finally, if anyone wants to get started and feels they don’t know enough, feel free to contact any other Chapter newsletter editors for information regarding their newsletter, how they got started or how they physically produce what they do. Remember, too, that many medium to large dealers may have a newsletter that they produce “in house” to their customers, sales force and employees. Some newsletters are posted on websites as PDF files and can be downloaded and reviewed for content, style and other features. Really, the important thing to do with a newsletter is to create a sense of community within your Chapter. Your Chapter newsletter can reflect the lifestyle of the people in it and can give them information about technology and performance as it relates to their Audi. Make a newsletter work for your Chapter as a valuable and handy tool for information dissemination and Chapter interaction. At first, it’s pretty hard work, but as you develop a template, it becomes more an issue of filling the boxes. Good luck!
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