By Walter Boomsma,
I have an idea! Well, actually I have lots of ideas… some of them seem to make some people nervous.
One of the duties of a director is to submit an annual report for presentation at State Conference. I just finished mine and in the writing of it I mentioned one of my perhaps more crazy ideas:
“We do live in a “multi-media” world and, in the largest sense, almost everything we do communicates a message. While we think about the media, we ought not to forget the message. I have raised some eyebrows by suggesting that one way we could attract people to our Grange Halls is to offer a free wi fi connection and perhaps run an Internet Café. One of the things that would be “cool” about that is it would bring people together. Isn’t that why we so often have potluck suppers? (Those who know me well won’t be surprised that I can see that Internet Café becoming an after-school “study hall” where Grangers help kids with their homework.)”
Another perhaps not so crazy idea that wasn’t mine originally. Since we are community Granges, would it not make sense to submit an “annual report” for inclusion in our town report? (Valley Grange has been doing this for several years.) Are we any less a part of our town than, say, the fire department? There are lots of added benefits here beyond the publicity. We’re forced at least annually to think about and report on our contributions to our hometown roots. We’re also demonstrating our commitment to community.
Writing an annual report of my activity as Communications Director is something I’d probably do even if it wasn’t required. I like taking the time to reflect on the previous year and, at the same time, look ahead to the next. I even like doing some of the math. During the Grange year 2015-2015, there have been nearly 21,500 site visits—an average of nearly 1800 per month and nearly 60 per day. This is an increase over the previous year. I would note that, thanks to our subscription ability, it is likely this significantly underreports usage of the site because subscribers need not visit the site to view posts. At the top end, subscribers could easily account for an additional 50,000 views during the same period.
Of course numbers do not tell the entire story. It has been personally rewarding to receive an increasing number of “Exciting Granges and Grangers” posts, celebrating our accomplishments and success. While not a primary purpose, I’ve received some interesting inquiries through the site ranging from requests to locate a long lost Grange friend to requests for hall rental contacts. There are also the expected media inquiries.
It’s all about communication, and an important aspect of communication is consistency. Consistency is about frequency, certainly (one reason we have a monthly bulletin), but it’s also about always sending a consistent message. One conclusion I came to while thinking about and writing my report was that our greatest accomplishment in 2015 is also our greatest need for the coming year. We must continue to increase participation and information to and from Subordinate and Pomona Granges and state officers and committees. We must demonstrate American Values and honor our hometown roots. If there is anything I can do to make this process easier, please let me know.
(I am posting my complete report in the communications section of the website in the hopes members will be interested. If you’d like a copy mailed to you, just let me know.)
“Let’s make some news, take some photos of it, and share it!”