Beyond the Schedule
If your Shul is just a place to daven, then you don’t need much communications, perhaps an updated davening times schedule every now and then. However, as we’ve discussed your Shul can be much more: it can be a place of connection, growth and community. To reach those higher goals you need to communicate and connect with your members.
In the Beginning
Before the Internet, Shuls communicated with their members with announcements during davening and with newsletters often published and snail mailed on a monthly basis. The announcements are still there, but the snail mail has been replaced in many Shuls with email. The email can be delivered via a service like Constant Contact, a free alternative like Mail Chimp, via Gmail or from your Shul’s software program.
Beware of Shul Spam
Because it’s so easy to send emails to the membership it may be tempting to send them often. The problem with a freewheeling email strategy is that your messages can become Shul Spam. Shul Spam is not the spam that ends up in the Spam folder, but rather they’re emails that are ignored. The myriads of parsha and daily and weekly emails that are subscribed to often fall into this category.
If your members perceive your emails as Shul Spam, then they will not achieve your goals of communication and connection. Of course timely information, such as funerals need to be emailed immediately, but for other information a weekly email is filling the bill for many Shuls. A Shul should try to have some policy about when to send out separate emails for shiurim and other special events.
The Weekly Newsletter
The ease and low cost of sending email, combined with a sensible weekly mailing policy has created a situation where many Shuls are now producing a weekly newsletter. The weekly newsletter is not the same animal as the old monthly newsletter and it creates new issues to confront, which we’ll discuss in a future post. We’ll also look at Shul websites and using social media.