Councils should also be aware that awards are available for any council who submits their bulletin publication for review. Hard copies can be mailed directly to the State Office. These bulletins will then be passed on to the Awards Director. Alternatively, submissions can be made electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Winners will be chosen from the six membership divisions currently in place with each division being designated with a first place winner and two runners-up. We know that there are many excellent bulletins being published on an ongoing basis and we strongly encourage you to share this information with our office. We commit that every submission will be read in its entirety and the activities of your council noted.
Criteria for Council Newsletters and Bulletins
Listed below are a few criteria you may wish to consider when publishing your council bulletin. There are ideas listed which you may have already incorporated in your publications but I hope you will find some suggestions which you may also wish to include which will further enhance your publication to an even higher level.
• Keep in mind the basic purpose of the publication; --- that being something which you want people to “want to read”. The publication should not be intended, however, for just the brother Knight, but most definitely for his spouse as well; -- and depending on the types of programs your council is running, -- possibly for the entire family.
• There is no perfect format for publication. Use a computer program that the Bulletin Editor is comfortable with and proceed from there. Although you can often insert graphics to dress-up the articles, always keep in mind that the basic purpose of the publication is to “inform the reader”, not the added fancy wrapping and bobbles which although fine, --- do not always add to the value in spreading the message you are trying to convey.
It is highly unlikely that you will be able to obtain articles from everyone listed below but the undernoted are provided as suggested potential information sources which in turn will offer you a variety of writing styles. Obtain articles from as many of the following as possible:
- Grand Knight
- Deputy Grand Knight
- Council Membership Director (membership).
- As many other Council Directors as possible
- District Deputy
- Fraternal Benefits Advisor
- The Fourth Degree Assembly associated with your council
- The ladies (very important) – let them write something on things they have undertaken as well as their upcoming initiatives and in turn encourage other ladies to join in as well.
- Squires, -- if in fact your council has a circle.
• Ensure your bulletin has a section on “Membership” Although also mentioned elsewhere, this section should include all upcoming degrees in your area for all four sections of the order as well as your council Membership Director’s full contact information (including e-mail) for men looking for information, not only on joining the order but those existing members looking to advance themselves further in the order through upcoming higher degrees. (Membership).
• Insert photos (lots of photos) Doing so accomplishes a number of things.
- People do enjoy seeing their picture even though some say they don’t
- Photos are concrete visible evidence that the council really is involved in various tangible activities (membership).
- Pictures of people having fun is an incentive to encourage other council members to join in on that activity when it next rolls around.
- Photos in bulletins are a great tool to use to show a prospective new member and let him know the kinds of initiatives your council is undertaking.(membership)
- Photos are also a wonderful opportunity for bulletin recipients who no longer live in the area, or may be confined to their home due to age, health or employment restrictions—to in turn re-identify with members they knew from their active days in the council and reassure them that the council still remains vibrant.
- In some cases bulletins may further serve to motivate less active members to again reinstate themselves more actively in initiatives that the council is involved with.
• Ensure there is a section in the bulletin that clearly identifies the council contact person should a member’s personal information change such as address, telephone or e-mail. The same contact information applies, should a sudden death or family emergency occur in member’s family.
• Outline your council’s achievements with large headlines. Far too often we hide our light under a bushel and don’t let others know what the members of our council have accomplished. Don’t be shy. Be boastful (this is quite acceptable).
• Clearly outline upcoming events that members should note. Although you will provide full details in the bulletin text, if you are able, also do this as well in an abbreviated form of a calendar which incorporates a single page of the bulletin. This allows the calendar page to be easily removed from the document and posted on the refrigerator door until the next bulletin issue. In turn, all in the household can view upcoming events. Family plans can then often be orchestrated to some extent around this schedule.
• If possible insert humour. A few tasteful jokes always adds a lighthearted dimension.
• Many councils include member:
- Wedding Anniversaries
- Birth Announcements
- K. of C. membership anniversary milestones. Try to limit this to five year increments.
All of the above provide an opportunity to more closely identify with members at a more personal level which further promotes membership bonding.
• Clearly outline all upcoming scheduled degrees in the area with dates, times and locations noted. (membership)
• Clearly recognize not only the new members (and their spouses) who have joined your council but those members who have reached other degree plateaus including Knighthood in the Fourth Degree.
• Include e-mail and home addresses and phone numbers (with permission) for new members so that they too will be immediately included in the same phone contact as well as electronic contact process that is currently being provided to your existing members (membership).
Value of the Council Bulletin
Council bulletins can be a tool which provides concrete evidence that your council is a place where things are really happening. Many exemplary members of our order find themselves in life situations where regular attendance, not only at council events, but at council meetings as well, is just not possible. This could be due to health or employment responsibilities. Well written bulletins can greatly assist these members in maintaining a close council bond which is extremely important when it comes to membership retention.
Bulletins can often prove to be a great tool that can be used when promoting new membership. Maintain hard copies of old issues if possible (or print electronic copies) which can in turn be given to a man who is thinking of joining our order. These publications can be given to the new candidate during his period of discernment and can be a source of further dialogue with him regarding activities presently being promoted by your council that would spark his interest even further and enhance his decision in becoming a member of our order.