Enough already?

When I worked retail, our department manager told us, “If you sell out, you’re not meeting demand.” In fact, the only way you know if you are meeting demand is if you have some left over, consistently.

If you run out of bulletins, you’re not meeting demand. You need bulletins left over consistently to know if you are meeting demand.

Too many leaders want to minimize bulletins to save costs. However, this can substantially limit information depending on what the needs of the ward are. This has to be carefully assessed.

How the bulletin gets distributed can make a big difference. I’ve seen it all. Sometimes bulletins are left on the pews for people to pick up. Sometimes they are left outside one of the entrance doors for people to pick up, sometimes by both entrance doors. Sometimes they are handed out as people come in. It depends.

However, you have to consider particular circumstances and how things change. For example, with COVID, my ward is opening up the overflow and cultural hall area so that people don’t have to sit close to anyone else and there is substantial social distancing if they want it.

What this means is that people are entering and exiting from a multitude of doors. Putting the bulletin in one place certainly isn’t sufficient for what is currently happening. Many people will miss it entirely.

It makes no sense to spend considerable time and effort composing and printing the bulletin if dispersal of it is given short shrift. I favor someone actually physically handing it out along with people approaching those already seated if they want one, or two, or three …

Importance now that announcements are minimized

For some time now, the Church has been encouraging local units to minimize announcements and so forth over the podium. Local units seem to have complied.

However, it hasn’t been matched by a corresponding increase in trying to get this information to people given that it is no longer announced in the fashion it used to be.

This IS a problem.

The best mechanism for doing so is the Church’s email system. If it were used effectively, it could disseminate the necessary information to every group of people imaginable.

In the June 4, 2020, official letter renaming Ward Website Administrators as [Email] Communication Specialists, it states this:

Wards and branches are encouraged to (1) keep sacrament meeting announcements to a minimum and (2) during the week, remind members via email, text, social media, or other means, of the meeting schedule for the next Sunday.

To facilitate such communications, the existing calling “Website Administrator” has been renamed “Communication Specialist.” A person holding the communication specialist calling may now email information to ward members by using the “Send a Message” function under “Applications” in Leader and Clerk Resources (LCR).

There are a couple of interesting takeaways from this. First, it’s obvious that the Church expects the information to be conveyed weekly.

I’ve never liked the idea of sending it out monthly. That’s a relic of the paper age and its limitations. Weekly makes sense. It’s the appropriate bite of information that people need when they need it, not too much and not too little.

It’s interesting that the Church includes “text” in its letter given that there is not currently a text messaging feature in the Church’s system, yet.

However, I wouldn’t just email the physical bulletin to people through the Church’s email system for two reasons. First, anytime you require people to click on something, it creates a barrier. Too many clicks mean too many barriers that people are unlikely to spend time doing.

Second, most people access things on their mobile devices and mobile devices have trouble gravitating around a pdf. PDF’s only really work on desktops or laptops.

So, I would copy the content and put it into the body of the email.

Why Are We Still Doing This? Bulletins, Newsletters, Flyers and More:

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