The Shul Newsletter and Membership Privileges

A friend recently asked whether he can get on our Shul’s mailing list to receive our newsletter. I told him that only members are on the mailing list. He raised his eyebrows a bit and he didn’t seem interested in Shul Types, Authority and Financial Strategies, so I didn’t explain the underpinnings of this policy. So let me lay it out briefly here.

A large part of our Shul’s revenues come from the members in the form of membership dues, high holiday seats and dinner donations. In exchange for membership, privileges include:
– priority on the Rabbi’s time when asking questions
– seating on Shabbos
– Chesed committee benefits including meals for births, during aveilus and in other times of need
– the intangible benefit of belonging to a group who shares their values in Torah, Avodah, Gemilas Chasadim and Eretz Yisroel.
– the weekly newsletter which primarily details Shul events and member related announcements

And if you’ll ask, isn’t it better for the Shul if more people know about it’s activities? I would answer that:
– community-relevant information is publicized on other channels
– we don’t think the newsletter attracts new members or significant donations
– we think there’s value to keeping the newsletter a private privilege for members only
– there’s increased privacy in keeping the information among the members

Although reasonable people may come to a different decision regarding the Shul Newsletter, I think the policy we have makes sense for our Shul at this time.