By Walter Boomsma,
October is about endings… the end of summer and fall. But endings are usually about beginnings as well. We’re at the beginning of winter, like it or not.
As this bulletin goes to press, many will be in Skowhegan hearing the results of another Grange year gone by… Contest winners will be announced and budgets will be reviewed and passed.
This is also the time of year when your website undergoes some major revision as old program books, contest information and entry forms are replaced with new. Sometimes the changes are very minor, but this year we have at least two brand new (and significantly different) contests announced so far.
The Communications Department (of one) is pleased to announce an entirely new “Clip ‘N Win” contest. For 2014-2015 we are revising the contest and making it about the quantity of one article written or initiated by a Granger, not simply clipping and counting versions of articles containing the word “Grange.” You’ll find details elsewhere in the Communications Handbook 2014-15 that will be available to delegates at State Conference and can be downloaded from the MSG website.
Remember also, if you do not have access to the Internet you may request copies of program books from State Headquarters. Please remember that mailing costs mount quickly and attempt to get your copy from your delegates first, then only request mailed copies of information you truly need.
I’m also pleased to note that my colleague Christine Corliss, Director of Community Service and FHH has announced a new contest encouraging FHH Chairs to team up with Lecturers and offer monthly FHH related programing. I’ve long felt that it’s past time to review the myriad of contests we conduct and create contests that are more focused and get higher participation. These two should bring some interesting results and entries!
You might be interested in some lessons learned from the former Clip ‘N Win Contest:
- We have some Grangers with “eagle eyes” who can spot the word “Grange” in some unusual areas—like an advertisement by a business that included the Grange Hall as a landmark in their directions.
- We have some overlapping of news articles. Entries from Granges located quite some distance from each other often included the same articles. (And a number that I had a written!)
- We have a huge opportunity to improve our communication with the media. Most of the articles submitted were short meeting announcements clipped from community calendars.
When I do dictionary presentations, I often ask third graders what, if anything, they know about the Grange. I always remember one young fellow who said with great confidence, “It’s a bunch of people who like to eat and meet.” His perception is funny, somewhat accurate, but also disappointing, really.
One notebook submitted included nearly 40 obituaries of Grange members—in spite of the rule against including them. But the real tragedy is that notebook did not include one article mentioning a membership installation or published photos of new members.
How about a theme for this year of, “Let’s make some news and share it!”