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Jun 1, 2022

Converting a Society Newsletter from Print to Digital

A newsletter reader asked, “How can I encourage people to sign up for electronic delivery of our quarterly newsletter? I am sending out 15 by email and 405 by US Postal Service. Any savings we can spend on other worthwhile activities.”

My suggestion is simple and I know it has been effective for others. First, you need to determine how much it costs to print and mail the printed newsletter. Calculate the printing costs, the postage, the cost of envelopes (if used), and any labor charges incurred.

Next, send an announcement to all members that they now have an option: each member can now receive the newsletter at no additional charge if they accept it electronically. That means by email or on the society’s web site or both. Those who wish to continue with the printed version can do so but at an additional charge that is equivalent to the actual cost to the society for printing and mailing.

For instance, a quarterly newsletter that isn’t too thick will cost perhaps $2.00/year per addressee for postage. Printing might be another $1.00/year. There may or may not be additional charges. In this case, it seems fair that those who insist on printed newsletters should pay an additional $3.00/year.

Those who will accept the newsletter electronically continue at the old rate.

Substitute your own numbers in place of the above example.

The simple method of doing this is to create a PDF version of the printed newsletter. Free PDF software is already included in your Macintosh and in later Windows computers. For older Windows systems, you can obtain FREE PDF software from a number of sources. The expense to the club for additional software is zero and the amount of time required to create the PDF version can be measured in seconds. You can then send the PDF newsletter by email or upload it to the society’s web site or do both.

Will you receive some complaints? Probably. However, I suspect the number of complaints will be small. After all, you are offering a choice of delivery options and both are priced according to the actual expense to the society.

As my correspondent stated, “Any savings we can spend on other worthwhile activities.”