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Monthly Newsletters

Another month is almost gone. They come and go so quickly when you are an activities director. (and yes, I know, it is because I'm getting older too) When planning activities for the residents in my continuing care retirement community, sometimes it is hard for me to remember what month I'm in, let alone what day it is. But I do know when it is my deadline for my monthly newsletter!
I thought that I'd share what is in my newsletter and the process that I use to create it. First, I am the editor of the newsletter. I oversee the content and the quality of the stories. Since our newsletter is used for marketing as well as for our residents, the content is very important. I try to use other communication tools to share operating news that is not "newsletter worthy." Articles in the newsletter are informative and interesting and usually share news about the two best features in our community (in my opinion) which are, our residents and our activities.

So what's in my newsletter? First, the standards are a list of people celebrating birthdays in the month (unless the opt out of being on the list), a list of movies for the month, and an article from our Chaplain. Then I have a resident who interviews the new resident who move in, and another who writes about the resident's comings and goings (ie. trip they took, guests they had, etc.) Residents love to see their name in print, so make sure to put it in bold. Our fitness instructor writes two articles, one is about fitness and the elderly and the other is about a resident who is active in fitness. I am also able to use an article from our company's dietician. Then there are articles from different community committees including our library. I like to create my own "filler" which is small "special copy boxes" that highlight special events coming up. And last, but not least is a listing of the activities for the month. I separate them into three categories. The first is the weekly entertainment, then the special events, and the last is the educational opportunities.

Now that you know what is in it, let me tell you how I get it done each month. First, each contributor is asked to turn their articles into me by the 15th of the month before the issue comes out. I type them if necessary, edit them, and get them ready to send to the printer. I make sure there are enough articles so that I don't have to have "filler" articles. After it comes back from the printer, it is ready to be proof read. I do the first draft by myself. I look for grammar, punctuation and layout mistakes. When I get the second draft, I proof read it and also send it to two other residents who proof read for me. (They always find something different than I do and from one another.)

I do all my article submissions and updates through the fax machine. I could also send them by email, but there is no cost savings for me at my printers, so I still do it the "old" way for now. Check with your printer to see if there is a difference in cost for you.

I really enjoy creating the monthly newsletter and am really happy when the final deadline for it has past.... then I have a few weeks to get geared up for the next issue (and do the rest of my job).

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