Jan 162018

Short messages from your Communications Department

We’ve just added a link to another subordinate/community Grange Facebook Page. Welcome, New Sharon Grange!

This might be a good opportunity to point out an “easy peasy” way to share Grange Information. I hope those who are responsible for Grange Facebook Pages also subscribe to the MSG Website! At the bottom of every post, you’ll find several social media icons. If you click the Facebook one, a window will open allowing you to share the post. You’ll need to change the setting at the top of that window from your timeline to the page you are responsible for. (You are also welcome to share it to your personal timeline, of course!) If I’m counting correctly, it’s about three mouse clicks to share the post. Those clicks might count as participation in the Communication Department’s “Plus Two” initiative–a focus on what we are doing right in the Grange.

Also as a reminder, I do check Facebook Pages created for subordinate/community Granges from time to time. If a page is not being kept current, I remove the link on the MSG website so we’re not doing the equivalent of sending people to a closed store! The same is true of websites. (National Grange Policy regarding websites and social media is included in the Communications Handbook.)

Some other recent additions to the site include

  • the National Grange Handout of twenty tips to retain members (National Grange Section)
  • an updated (every month) wishlist of the Veteran’s Administration (Community Service Section)
  • the January Bulletin (Communications Resources Section)

All this and more can be found on the “Program Books and Information Page.”

Subscribe to Maine State Grange Website!

Dec 282017

Short messages from your Communications Department

Here’s hoping everyone had a great holiday… and you’re now ready for a new year!

For reasons I truly don’t understand, we experienced some email delays over the Christmas Holiday… maybe the email elves were busy wrapping presents or something! I do think we’re caught up now… if you emailed or submitted information/news during the past few days you should have a reply. If not, please let me know!

In an unrelated note, we’ve been experiencing an increase in spam email from “hacked” accounts. Most of these seem to be coming from AOL and Yahoo email addresses… if you use either service for email, you may want to change your password on a regular basis. Also, be alert to the possibility that an email may have the appearance of being from a Granger you know, but that’s not necessarily the case if that person’s email has been hacked. Use caution when replying, forwarding, and especially before clicking a link in an email.

And, while I’m at it… ODD’s (officers, directors, deputies–don’t you just love that acronym?) please remember that the monthly deadline for your posts and Bulletin Columns is the fifteenth. You can submit posts any time and we’ll get them on the site, usually within a day or two at the most. You can actually submit posts more than once per month. However, Bulletin Columns must be submitted by the fifteenth of the month to be included in that month’s issue.

But wait, there’s more! We are gaining new website subscribers every week! Welcome! Now the question is, what news do you have to share with other Grangers around the state? Have you recently had new members join? Were your December events successful? Inquiring minds want to know!

Subscribe to Maine State Grange Website!

Email the Maine State Grange Webmaster

Oct 312017

Short messages from your Communications Department

Due to the recent storm and resulting lack of power and other services… there may be some delays in website postings and email response time. We hope things will return to normal soon… have you considered opening your Grange Hall as a warming center? If you are providing services to your community, please use the “Submitting Information” Tab at the top of the page and tell us about it! We’ll do our best to share information and resources.

Aug 152017

Short messages from your Communications Department

If your Grange participates in the Dictionary Project, you or your Grange Secretary should have recently received their recent newsletter… I believe it is mailed to all supporters and contributors. It’s a great piece because it can be a poster and even doubles as an order form. Well, this issue is of particular interest because it features Danville Junction Grange! You can read the original post here… and notice the fact that the Dictionary Project folks are subscribers to the Maine State Grange website. If you aren’t… what might you be missing!?

Congratulations to Danville Grange and thanks to Glenys Ryder for submitting the article!

Subscribe to Maine State Grange Website!

Aug 022017

Short messages from your Communications Department

I posted the schedule of Officer Installations for Vicki Huff’s team this morning… they are up to twelve planned installations and Vicki says they should be considered “fully booked.” Any scheduled installations I have been told about are listed on the “sticky” post on the site. You may wish to contact the host Grange and see if you might participate! You might even join a neighboring Pomona–it doesn’t matter where your officers are installed.

Also, in honor of summer and all that is good, I will be working reduced hours for the first two weeks in August. I will still post events, columns, and news–and reply to email. Things just may be a little slower than usual! Your patience (and advanced planning) is appreciated. The Bulletin Deadline is still August 15, 2017, and I fully intend to meet that deadline, so regular contributors should submit their columns on time–or better yet, early!

I’m a great believer that any tool that enhances communication has profound effects in terms of how people can learn from each other, and how they can achieve the kind of freedoms that they’re interested in.

Bill Gates


Jul 232017

Short messages from your Communications Department

Just a short message to point out and explain a few things…

Geek Alert! Some of this is a bit technical–you may skip any portion when your eyes start to glaze over.

  • A recent change to post formatting has been made to accommodate post previews in the new subscription service.  Secondary headlines will be minimized and the contributor’s name will appear in their place.
  • I’ve added some software that will allow the creation of “buttons” for some links. This should increase the user-friendliness of the site by making resources more readily available.
  • We have a new “logo” for Communications Bullets–short messages from your Communications Department.
  • There are currently over 1,800 posts on the site, dating back to 2010 when I assumed responsibility. I plan to begin deleting some of those old posts and any that “no longer apply” to save server space and make the site more manageable.
  • There are currently over 1,200 photos and documents on the site, also dating back to 2010. I plan to begin deleting some of the older photos and outdated documents.

I’m pleased to report that the new website subscription service seems to be working great! Our subscriber numbers are increasing–slower than we’d like, but steadily! If you haven’t, please subscribe–and encourage others to do the same!

Thanks to those Grangers who send feedback (compliments, corrections, and criticisms) on the site! It’s been particularly nice to hear how the website has helped you and, in several cases, created connections between Granges.  We can learn much from each other! It’s always fun to report what works in Granges. With your help, I’d like to continue to develop and expand that aspect of the website. Please send your stories and photos… you can use the “Submit Information” tab on the site or simply send an email to webmasteratmainestategrangedotorg. (I think I’ll create a button for that!)

As always, if you have suggestions and ideas for the site, I want to hear them! It’s almost time for annual reports to be submitted and that triggers setting some goals and priorities for next year. How can I help you!?

Subscribe to Maine State Grange Website! Email the Maine State Grange Webmaster

Jul 122017

by Walter Boomsma
MSG Communications Director

After Ann’s most recent email, I had to create an award. Ann wrote, in part, “Did you intentionally report that the State Session opens in the 7th degree to see how many of us really read the articles in the monthly Bulletin? If it does I’ve consistently slept through it for years. Just wondering how many more readers noticed the boo boo…”

The answer to the first question is, “No, it was not intentional.” I know in the past I’ve joked that one way to get attention is to make a mistake, but that wasn’t the case this time. My excuse is that I was hurrying to meet my deadline to finish the Bulletin, although that’s really not much of an explanation.

The answer to the second question is, “None!” Or if any others did notice, they didn’t report it.

Ann’s referring to the article in the June Issue introducing the graphic I created for State Session. I erroneously wrote, “Want to help promote State Session? I’ve created the graphic to the right… and can email it to you if you’d like to include it in your local Grange communications. Let’s see if we can increase participation and attendance this year! Remember, you do not have to be a delegate to attend—and you certainly do not have to hold a fifth or sixth degree. While session opens in the seventh, it lowers to fourth almost immediately so any Grange can be part of the convention!” Obviously, that should have read, “While session opens in the sixth,…”

Sorry for the error… although it did demonstrate that at least one person reads the Bulletin closely and it provides an opportunity to have a little fun!


May 312017

By Walter Boomsma
Communications Director

After research and testing, we’re ready to roll out a new way for Grangers and friends to subscribe to the Maine State Grange Website. Here’s the why and how!

The Why

The subscription service we’ve been using (Feedburner by Google) has served us well but is not particularly user-friendly. More importantly, we have almost no access to the data—I truly have no idea how many subscribers we have and who they are!

Our new service is available through MailChimp. In addition to being very user-friendly, we gain some flexibility in how posts are sent–for example, you’ll now receive excerpts instead of complete posts. That’ll make your emails shorter and more manageable.

The How

If you are not currently subscribed, this is very simple. Subscribing is a two-step process. First, you click this link (also found at the top center of the Maine State Grange website) to open a form asking for some basic data. When you click “Subscribe” an email will be sent to the email address you entered on the form. You must confirm your subscription by clicking the link in that email. That’s it!

If you are currently subscribed, please subscribe using the new system as described in the previous paragraph. Unless you want to continue to receive two emails, there is one additional step required. You’ll need to “unsubscribe” to the Feedburner service. This is easily accomplished by clicking the unsubscribe link at the bottom of any email you receive listing Google in the footer at the end of the email.

Optional Detailed Instructions

I’ve prepared a one-page document with illustrations that describes these steps in detail. You can access it with this direct link or by visiting the Program Books and Information Page. If you have questions, you can email the webmaster or comment on this post—chances are others will have the same question! (Click the comments button in the upper-right corner.)

Know also that once all the fundamentals are in place, we will continue to adjust and tweak the service. I hope you enjoy it and find it helpful.

May 232017

Communication Bullets are short but big news!

by Walter Boomsma
Communications Director

Some important changes and notes:

The ODD (Officers, Directors, and Deputies) Directory has been updated… a current copy is available for downloading: ODD-Directory-05-17. There has been a minor change in deputy assignments to reflect recent changes in Pomona alignments and two positions are now listed as “TBD” (to be determined)–the chairperson of the Ag Ed Committee and a Youth Director.

The Journal of Proceedings 2016 has been updated with a minor correction at the request of MSG Secretary Sharon. Action on Resolution #12 was missing from the original copy posted. A corrected copy is available for downloading: Journal-of-Proceedings-2016-Convention

Several “In search of…” requests have been added recently… please check the page and see if you can help!

Over the next few days, I will be testing a new method for subscribing to the website and you may notice some “weirdness” at the tope of the home page. Once testing is complete, I hope to announce a major change that will be of great benefit to everyone!

Remember to check the Conferences Page occasionally for information about upcoming national, regional, and state events. Those responsible for events should especially check the page when scheduling events to avoid conflicts. Also, those responsible please make sure you email me information about the events you are planning.

May 152017

Communication Bullets are short but big news!

You’ll definitely want to read a comment made on the May Communications Column.  (Subscribers do not get these–you’ll have to visit the site.) What an interesting outcome from the recent Bangor Daily News article regarding Granges that are making a comeback! By the way, website visitors should feel free to comment on any post–it’s really quite easy to do. Just look for the word “responses” in the upper right corner of the post (just below the headline) and click on it. Note that comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

There have been several requests posted to the “In Search of” Page… please take a look and see if you can help these folks.

Also, the MSG Bulletin May 2017 has been uploaded to the site… you don’t have to wait for a printed copy!

Keep those cards and letters coming in!