Remember the game “telephone” where the message at the end of the game turned out to be totally different from the message at the beginning of the game? For those who don’t remember, telephone is a game where one person whispers a message to another, which is passed through a line of people until the last player announces the message to the entire group. Errors typically accumulate in the retellings, so the statement announced by the last player differs significantly, and often amusingly, from the one uttered by the first.
The lesson in the game? Don’t always rely on word of mouth to get important information to your members. With so many communications options, we encourage you to actively use as many as you can, as effectively as you can. A simple newsletter is a great way to communicate. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just informative. It’s also an excellent tool for catching address changes and aiding in membership retention. Only three newsletters a year satisfies one category of the Medal of Honor Program, and in many cases three newsletters a year can generate renewed member interest in the council. Also, don’t forget to submit your council’s newsletter to the home office for inclusion in the newsletter contests at the annual UCT Convention. It’s always nice to be recognized for your efforts.
Email is another effective way to communicate with members. Newsletters, forms, brochures, and applications can be easily transmitted to your council members within a couple of seconds. And, when you or a member are in a situation where a claim form, application, or scholarship application is needed in a hurry, an easy solution is to have the material needed emailed to you. Last but not least, it’s often less hassle for your members to contact you through email in the event they need council or UCT assistance.
Social media, particularly Facebook, is another excellent communication tool. Setting up a local council Facebook group is simple and can be an effective and fun venue for council interaction and information sharing. In addition to your own members you can invite members from other councils to become friends and reach out to individuals far and wide with details about your council and its activities. The simple act of “tagging” or naming people in your photos reaches out to all of the Facebook friends of those people identified in the photo, which can initiate dialogue about UCT. You can even save postage or email time by including your local council newsletter on your Facebook page.
If you need assistance setting up a Facebook group or page, use your member number to log onto the Members area of the UCT website at www.uct.org and access the guidelines for web and social media resources on the home page. And, don’t forget to “like” us on Facebook.