September-October 1998 Newsletter
Newsletter Newsby Dan Johnson
The Louisville Bicycle Club spends a great deal of money every year printing the newsletter, various flyers placed in the newsletter, membership brochures, ride schedules, OKHT brochures, and membership directories. Printing these items annually consume more than half of the club’s available revenues — well over 50%. Specifically, the LBC newsletter is sent out to anywhere from 350 to 550 households every other month, depending upon the current membership count. The overall price of each newsletter ranges from $1.10 to $2, depending upon length, weight, and content, all of which add to the cost as these items increase.
The bad news is that the cost of pnnting is high and seems to be getting higher, while our membership has leveled off. The newsletter is by nature limited in terms of the size (how much we can put in), the various agencies we must deal with in mailing it out to you, and the limited audience we reach. I think there are better ways to spend the club’s money, and the time seems right for a change. I’d like to hear your opinions.
One option is to lirmt the size of the newsletter. This could be done by limiting the size of articles to a couple of paragraphs at most, and reducing the number or eliminating entirely the number of photos printed. The issues for which we receive more articles, etc., than we have room, those additional items could, with the good grace of Webmaster Duc Do, be automatically moved to be included in the web site’s version of the newsletter. This has been done before to everyone’s satisfaction.
Another option is to give members a choice whether or not to receive the newsletter when joining or renewing membership. Those not receiving the newsletter could get their ride schedule off of the LBC web site. While many people have expressed to me the desire to continue to receive a “hard copy” of the newsletter, some have said they would be happy going to the web site exclusively, thereby saving the club further printing and mailing costs.
A third option is to make the newsletter nothing more than a “calendar of events” combined with the ride schedule, with perhaps a brief paragraph from the club president. This option would leave no one out of the mailing.
Another option is to eliminate the newsletter completely, moving most communication/publication concerns to the LBC web site. This idea surfaces at least once a year, and though it may not be popular at this time, it might be an idea whose time has come. Anyone who has visited the web site recently knows that Duc has done an outstanding job creating this medium, and the many volunteer hours he has devoted to it is greatly appreciated by all. The site costs the club only $180.00 per year, is not restricted by size or deadline like the newsletter, can be updated regularly, and its audience is far greater than the newsletter could ever hope to be (tens of thousands of people worldwide visit the website monthly). The major drawback here is that not everyone has a computer or internet access. But that is changing.
Now let me make one thing perfectly clear! These suggestions are in no way a reflection of the job Mary Beth Stoltz has done with layout and design of the newsletter for the past two years. She’s done a fantastic job.
Remember, we spend 3 to 4 thousand dollars annually on newsletter printing to reach 300 to 500 people, compared to $180 annually on the web site to reach a world audience. I want to know what you think. Would a combination of some of the ideas listed above work? Do you have any other ideas we haven’t come up with? Let me know by calling me, or better yet, e-mail(!) me.
Copyright ©1998 Louisville Wheelmen. All rights reserved.
Web posted: 29 August 1998
last updated: 29 August 1998
by Duc M. Do