Space Chapter HUB MAIN

Additions, Deletions, Corrections

UPDATED 02/17/2008 

This Page Under Construction by YOU

Space Chapter Newsletters
Cosponsored by NSB Share Initiative

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National Space Society Chapter Leaders:

We will start by listing chapter newsletters, from the information on the NSB Chapters page, following newsletter links and website links. If you website is not current, the information that will initially be listed here may be inaccurate. Many chapters have websites that have not been updated in years. If the information we put here is suspect because of that, we will note it as such. To update the information, or if you have updated a web page where the correct information is displayed, please alert us to that.

If you need help updating your website (original webmaster no longer available, let us know that too, and we'll try to find you a temporary webmaster.

Moon Society & Mars Society Chapter Leaders:

If your chapter has developed PowerPoint Presentations on any aspect of space, please submit details.

This Page is Under Re-Construction as of February 17, 2008

Please share with us your thoughts on "sections" that should go into this page

We will have a better idea of how to organize this page after we finish looking at your individual newsletters.

If you have a hardcopy newsletter, please send a one time sample to

Peter Kokh
1630 N. 32nd Street
Milwaukee, WI 53208

I have hardcopy newsletters from NSS- OASIS (Odyssey) and NSS-Utah (Aurora)


PARENT ORGANIZATION

National Space Society

Mars Society

Moon Society

NEWSLETTER TYPES

Mailed Hardcopy

Email - Newsletter

PDF file Newsletters

Online Newsletters

Group Site Newsletters

Shared Newsletters

NEWSLETTER OPTIONS & HINTS

Chapter Needs

Choosing Sections

Layout

Format

Printing Costs

Mailing Lists

Mailing Costs

Complimentary Mailings

Email Lists

Publication Schedules

other???

NEWSLETTER ONLINE ARCHIVES - under construction
Many old hardcopy editions do not exist in electronic form

L5 News (former L5 Society) archive

Moon Miners' Manifesto (Classics) (samples)

L5 Points (MS SFS) - U.C.

Odyssey (OASIS) (July 2007 on)

Send us the link to your newsletter electronic or pdf file archives

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PARENT ORGANIZATIONS


NATIONAL SPACE SOCIETY CHAPTERS
NSS Chapter Websites & Newletters List - updated 02-18-2008

Many Space chapters, perhaps most of them, do not have regular printed newsletters, but rely on a combination of email, phone calls, and postcards to keep members informed

The following Sections [PDF files] of the NSS Chapters Handbook has useful hints that will apply to Moon Society and Mars Society Chapters as well

Section 3 - NEWSLETTERS & OTHER COMMUNICATION

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MARS SOCIETY CHAPTERS

List of Mars Society Chater & their websites - external site

 

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MOON SOCIETY CHAPTERS

List of US Chapters & Outposts & their websites - external site
All Moon Society Members get Moon Miners' Manifesto

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NEWSLETTER TYPES


HARDCOPY NEWSLETTERS, handed out or mailed

Twenty years ago, hardcopy newsletters and online bulletin boards where the main, if not the only options. By 1990, there were three multi-chapter shared print newsletter monthlies. Today their is only one that is shared by multiple chapters. Few one-chapter hardcopy newsletters remain.

Yet if a significant fraction of your membership is either not online at all, or without a computer and needing to make a trip to a library to catch up on chapter news, and to would be editors shy on web savvy, modest print edition newsletters can still be a workable option.

"What's worth doing, is worth doing well" That is a proverb everyone could/should live by. If you are going to do a hardcopy newsletter, check out the hints in the next section on Newsletter options, make your choices, and do yourself proud. Show me a newsletter that its editor is not proud of, and I'll show you a newsletter that members do not enjoy reading.

Whatever choices you make, throw yourself into it. You have a message to get out, and the medium, the style, the format, all helps ensure that that message gets across.

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EMAIL NEWSLETTERS, plain or html

A chapter newsletter can be as simple as an email notice about your next meeting:
  • Where, when, and what's on the agenda.
  • A progress report (when there is one) on a current chapter project.
  • Instead of fresh editorials and articles, just include links to editorials and articles that you would like to share with everyone.
  • If you include minutes, they should be as brief and terse as possible. Who doesn't wish they could lapse into a short coma when the minutes are read?

A step up would be to include a masthead image, so long as you give in plain text just below, all the information that is included in the masthead. Then those who have set their preferences to not open images, will still be able to read your newsletter.

Most of us are familiar with fully formatted html email. We get it from commercial outfits. It looks like an web page of set width, with color, frames, active links and images. This is fancy if you can do it, but some members may not be able to read it, and of itself, such an advance format does not make up for lack of content, which is what the reader really wants.

 

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PDF FILE NEWSLETTERS, for download or email attachments

There was a time, not too long ago, when the software needed to produce a pdf file from a word processor document cost a good deal of money. Nowadays, most word processors have a "print to pdf" option. Sending pdf file newsletters as email attachments, or posting the on a website director from which members can download them has several advantages.

Advantages of PDF file newsletter editions

  • bypasses printing and mailing costs options
  • are immediately available without waiting for printing, assembly, labeling, and mail delays
  • "when your done (with the master) you're done with everything. No collating, folding, stapling, labeling, sorting for mailing, no post office trips.
  • Can contain lots of color images with zero print cartridge expense, thus you can enhance your format and design with color in mind whereas it is impractical to do that in an economical print edition
  • Can easily be forwarded to interested persons
  • Can be reserved for members only if desired by putting them in a username and password protected directory.
  • This allows you to keep chapter dues relatively low, leaving more funds for other projects such as displays and exhibits, prizes for contest, etc.

Disadvantages of the pdf file are fewer but could be significant

  • For some members, hardcopy in one's hand is especially satisfying.
  • Hardcopy is more likely not to be forgotten. Even on a pile you notice it more frequently than in some folder on your hard drive.
  • I've you've been doing a hardcopy edition for years and have reached the subscription numbers required for bulk mail (200 identical copies within the United States) that number becomes something to protect, and losing some members to the pdf file as an alternative could threaten the chapter's ability to keep publishing a hardcopy edition.
  • Not everybody is online, and among those who are, not all spend a lot of time online.
  • Not everyone online has bothered to download a free pdf viewer.

Weighing Pros & Cons

  • The pdf file choice is especially to chapters who are just now launching their newsletter
  • as electronic versions go, you have more options than with formatted email.

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ONLINE NEWSLETTERS, a page on your website

A good option if all members are regularly online - It is one thing to have a website, it is quite another for all members to check it out regularly, if even once.

That said, web pages arguably allow more formatting freedom than any other medium. You can leave many formatting choices up to browser preferences set by the viewer such as font and font size, image viewing options, link colors, and more. You can be as fancy as you want if your expertise is well developed, or as simple as you want if your html expertise is still at a beginner level. You can send the newsletter to anyone by simply sending them the link, no attachment uploading needed.

Online newsletters are the easiest to access by the casual website visitor.

As with pdf files, the only cost is regular computer maintenance, which you must do at any rate.

 

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GROUP SITE NEWSLETTERS, Yahoo Groups, etc.

Some chapters have most of their activity on a group site. An example is Mars Society San Diego's Yahoo Group site. Members can post notices, comments, discussions papers, images, and more.

Online message boards and blogs, on which you can post one article at a time, when it is ready. So long as most members regularly visit the website, group site, message board, or blog, it works. But if only a fraction do, you are dead.

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SHARED NEWSLETTERS - PRINTED

Moon Miners' Manifesto

  • Published monthly since Dec. 1986 by the Lunar Reclamation Society (NSS-Milwaukee), Editor Peter Kokh
  • Hardcopy Edition Serving multiple NSS chapters since September 1988
  • Circulation 21o (200 U.S.; 10 foreign) - as of Feb. 2008
  • Available since May 2001, as a pdf file for members of the Moon Society
  • MMM Classics files (republished non-time-sensitive material) now covering the first 18 years are archived for free access to anyone.
  • Editor's choice of recent issues are available for download here
  • Hardcopy Edition Inquiries about group rates, sharing details

SHARED NEWSLETTERS - PDF FILE for mail or download

Moon Miners' Manifesto See above

PDF file edition - quicker, and in color currently is available to the following organizations and chapters inquiries

If your chapter Newsletter serves multiple chapters,
neighboring or in scattered locations,
or is willing to serve multiple chapters, please let us know

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NEWSLETTER OPTIONS & HINTS


SIZING UP YOUR CHAPTER NEEDS: ACTION ITEM #1

Questions to ask:
  • How many members does your chapter have? If there are only three of you, anything more than a phone call or two a month may not be worth the effort. If you have a couple dozen on the other hand, plus a list of nonmembers and friends who would like to be kept informed, and/or whom you want to encourage to join officially, and your chapter wants to work for real membership growth, a much more ambitious newsletter may help you achieve those goals.
  • How many members do not come to meetings regularly? For those who do not attend often, a regular newsletter, no matter how simple or brief, keeps them in touch and feeling a part of the group.
  • How many members are online? If all members are, that gives you more options, including low-cost choices. But if you want to include members outside your chapter, or an appreciable number who are not online, you may want something more special to send out.
  • Poll your members to see what they would like, what they think appropriate, but lay out the may options first!
  • would any of your members like to get involved in producing a newsletter? If others want to help regularly or when they can, that will allow you to produce something more ambitious.
  • What is your chapter dues situation? Printing and mailing hardcopies may mean a dues increase is in order. Will members go for that? If the answer is no, you may want to settle for an email newsletter, html-formatted or plain.

If your group is small, and you do not anticipate major growth, and/or if no one is interested in helping, you might want to look for the simplest and easiest options, unless you welcome this excuse to exercise your editing skills and writing talents, for your own satisfaction.

Another inexpensive option that gives you more opportunity to do something special, is to prepare a newsletter as if for hardcopy mailing, but simply "Print to pdf file" and attach that to an email to your members.

If you have a couple dozen members and anticipate growing, and want to reach members who can't make it to the meetings regularly, and want to make the newsletter available in your community as a recruiting tool, you probably want to consider some more ambitious options. This can be a substantial hardcopy edition, an online newsletter, or pdf file version

By far the most important consideration is how much work the editor is assuming. If it involves a pace that can't be sustained, then the effort may be doomed form the start. More on that below (Production Schedules).

 

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DIVIDING YOUR NEWSLETTER INTO SECTIONS OR DEPARTMENTS

There is a simple trick to to getting into a newsletter production rhythm that is much easier to sustain over months and even years. A sustainable pace will give rhythm to your live, with consequent gratification.

"Divide & Conquer" - list the kind of things you want in your newsletter:

  • Editorials?
  • Articles?
  • News Reports?
  • Mail from readers?
  • Chapter events & news?
  • Chapter Project reports
  • Links worth looking up?

Then put these in an initial sequence. You can change the order at any time to suit your evolving preferences.

Each issue can have all of these Departments. Or you may want to include some departments in every issue, and alternate with others.

The payoff to this kind of dividing up the writing or editing tasks is simple. When you are not in the mood for one thing (say writing an editorial or a fresh article) you may be in the mood to edit incoming mail, compose a list of links, write up the chapter events and news, etc. This is a good strategy to get around temporary mental blocks and remain productive.

Many chapter newsletters have no set structure, but are just hodgepodges of stuff the editor is in the mood to include. Not a good way to win reader appreciation. and expectations.

Other contributors: It helps if you include some sections or departments that others inside or outside the chapter can take on. At the same time, one must not expect volunteer contributors to have the same devotion as the editor. Be ready with your own fill when contributions do not come in. This is another reason for departmentalizing your newsletters. Departments that you want to farm out, can be including just when something comes in.

If you adopt a fixed length format, when you are in the mood, stockpile articles, short fill pieces that are not tie sensitive. This will reduce the pressure to get the job done, when others don't come through. In general, hardcopy newsletters work best with a fixed number of pages. Online newsletters, email newsletters, and exclusively pdf format newsletters can be of varying length. But don't let that lead you into complacency with a newsletter that is going to get readers to comment, "is that all there is?"

Know yourself. Start with a pace and product you can maintain even when you are not feeling your best.

 

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CHOOSING AN INITIAL LAYOUT

If you are into graphics, you might compose an initial masthead, which can include just lettering, or a mix of wording and images. It will give the newsletter some identity and familiarity. Of course, you should feel free to give your newsletter a fresh look once in a while. This can be a total makeover or just an evolutionary change.

Layout is not important if your newsletter is going to be a simple email newsletter without any kind of html code at all. But you can still do an html-free email email newsletter but include a masthead image at the start.

You may want a masthead and a page layout whether you do a hardcopy edition or a pdf file addition to attach to email or to be downloaded from a website for reading on screen or to be printed out by the members as each sees fit.

Start simple. You can always clean it up, make it more unique or whatever else suits your mood as you go along

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FORMAT DECISIONS

If your newsletter is to be an online page, your formatting decisions can be kept very simple, unless you are advanced enough in html expertise to create something highly formatted and not subject to reader-set browser preferences.

If you are formatting for print hardcopy or pdf file, you are probably using a word processor of one kind or another. If you are one who gets a migraine as soon as you start exploring a manual, then from time to time, just explore formatting options. What happens if I do this? What happens if I do that? In time you will learn by doing and get better and better in producing a newsletter of which you can be proud. Some software packages are more intuitive than others, MAC software especially.

Do you want the text to run in one column all across the page? Two equal columns? Unequal columns? A mix of formats, depending on the section or department? Explore, pick an initial format. You can always experiment and evolve your newsletters look.

 

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PRINTING COSTS

If your chapter prefers a printed hardcopy newsletter and that does seem to be the option that best suits your chapter's present needs and ambitions, you will want to keep it affordable. Get quotes from Kinkos and other chain outlets. You may be able to better with individually owned print shops. But don't confine your search to local printers. It may be possible to find surprisingly less expensive print companies online, and out of town. Of course, the number of copies you need to print may have an effect on the quotes you get.

If you ever get to the state where you are mailing 200 or more domestic copies, there are printers who will take your emailed pdf copy and your csv address database, and print, collate, fold, trim, address and mail -making it unnecessary to rely on a team production effort - all at a cost a fraction of what it might be just to print the uncollated sheets locally.

Printing costs can make or break your newsletter production enterprise. And do not think for a minute that you can print a few copies on your own home printer for less than at an outlet! You won't even come close. Can you imagine how much it would cost to drive your car if gasoline cost as much per ounce as the ink in your printer cartridges! You'd have to be a sheik!

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POSTAL MAILING LISTS

If you will only be mailing a few copies, you won't need to use a spreadsheet to keep names and addresses, membership expiration dates and other permanent data. But if you think your newsletter circulation may go up, and may include people outside your chapter, or who are members but never attend, then starting a spreadsheet will be a habit you will be glad to have gotten into. Now this is a good task to farm out to another chapter member, for example the Secretary or Treasurer.

Using mail merge software, printing out address labels will become a snap, and that is certainly easier than hand-addressing, even if your penmanship is great even when you are dead tired.

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POSTAGE & MAILING COSTS

What you can afford per piece for postage will affect your decision on how long your print edition can be. You can mail 5 standard weight 8.5 x 11 inch sheets of paper in an envelope for one first class stamp. Of course, if you are producing a pdf file exclusively, whether the file is short/small or long/large will cost you no more. Of course, those who choose to download it and print it out rather than read it on screen, will be buying ink cartridges more often as newsletter length goes up, and that could adversely affect their decision to renew their membership.

If ever your mailing list exceeds 200 domestic addresses, getting a bulk mail permit, or finding someone else with a bulk mail permit to act as your agent, will demolish that page limit. You can mail about 40 pages or 20 folded 11x17" sheets for the basic bulk mail rate.

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COMPLIMENTARY COPIES

Perhaps if and when your chapter has undertaken a public outreach event, you may have had a "sign up for our email news" sheet on a clipboard. Signing up for email news does no mean you've go a hot prospect. But if your newsletter is email, or emailable (including a pdf file), sending it to these "friends & visitors costs nothing, spreads the word about your chapter and news about space.

But if you are producing a hardcopy version that has to be stamp-mailed (don't pick on snails!) then the cost of each extra copies becomes an issue. You may want to establish a budget for complimentary copies and keep revisiting the list to decide who it is in the chapter's interest to keep on the list. The list may include potential speakers, contact persons from other groups with whom you may want to collaborate some day, potential corporate sponsors for chapter events that need capitalization (prizes for contests and competitions, for example or for projects that have costs) even or one or more public or school libraries. Why not pick a ratio to current membership as a guide so this expense doesn't get out of order. But setting a goal for outreach via newsletter may motivate members to recruit more members. Free copies can help your chapter become more effective, if you don't get overly generous.

 

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EMAIL LISTS

If you are emailing your readers, you will need to maintain your email list. People change their email addresses far more frequently than they change residences. An orderly address book will contain name, email address, postal address, phone numbers, notes about occupation, interests, expertise, hours and days of availability, etc. If you start the habit of gathering more data than just one's email address, this will put you in a better position to employ chapter member talents and expertise down the line. Good habits are a good foundation for any endeavor.

 

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PUBLICATION SCHEDULES

Some chapter newsletters never get past the first edition, others do not survive the first year. Adopting a schedule that you can maintain is essential. The ideal is to put out a newsletter as often as your chapter meets. For a majority of chapters this means monthly.

But the ideal is not always sustainable. It is healthier, especially if newsletter production is a one person rather than a team effort, to schedule in breaks. A quarterly newsletter is probably well shy of the mark. Good compromises are two a quarter, taking every third month off, or ten times a year, taking a break every sixth month. The break will serve to prevent burnout and give you a chance to recharge your batteries.

Adopting a doable pace is the key to newsletter longevity.

 

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