To be or not to be….

The Newsletter Editor

flagpole in HOA
Flagpole at the entrance to our neighborhood.

Our community has a newsletter. In each issue it features an article about the latest homeowner’s association meeting, updates on city utility news like trash days are changing or when bulk pick up is scheduled. There’s always a recipe, an article about wildlife or plants and a welcome to new neighbors. It’s interesting and done by a husband and wife. ‘

For the past six months they’ve asked for a volunteer to take over the newsletter. The couple in charge have done it for more than ten years, since its inception. They are done. This current newsletter stated that if nobody volunteers — then the newsletter is over.

I thought, do I want to do this? Should I do this? I’m not a newbie to newsletters. My first job in PR, I wrote at least seven newsletters a month for various clients including a city, a realtor, a hotel and three or four for a medical center (staff, physicians, research, and a couple medical specialties.) After that job, I worked for a developer and I was in charge of newsletters for several country club developments for the members. That was before “desk top publishing.” I had to type my copy, drive it to a typesetter. I would work on a layout with a pencil on paper! I took numerous trips by car to the printer with corrections to the typesetting and real live photographs. Once I had a “blueline” I was relieved.

In my free time, I did the newsletter for the Desert Advertising Club. I was a board member and volunteered my time. While raising kids, I volunteered to do newsletters for their swim team and a charitable organization I was in.

I know I can do this newsletter, it’s in my “wheel house,” but do I want to?

I thought yes and no. The pros are it’s quarterly. Not monthly. And — this is the biggie — I moved less than a year ago and I don’t know anyone except for the realtor up the street who sold us our house and an occasional hello to next door neighbor Brad. The newsletter might help me be less isolated and more engaged in my new surroundings.

Our neighborhood has five clubs, book club, coffee club, wine club, etc. But they haven’t met because of COVID. They were supposed to start up this month, but they are holding off until 2022.

The downsides — do I want to do the newsletter? Do I want to have a deadline? Do I want to be more active in the community or do I like my quiet life more?

I texted the kids, talked it over with hubby. They all think I should do it. My kids especially think I should because they know I’m happy when I’m working in my field — even if I whine about it.

I decided to sleep on it. Two days later, I decided YES. I called the number in the newsletter of the current husband and wife editors. I got the “disconnected and no longer in service” message.

I checked the neighborhood directory and noticed there was a typo on the phone number. I dialed the correct number and once again — “disconnected and no longer in service.”

I looked up their cell phone and it went straight to voice mail. I left a message and emailed them.

That was Friday. It’s Sunday and I haven’t received a call back or an email.

So to be or not to be — Newsletter Editor? We’ll wait and see.

What are your thoughts about volunteering? Do you think it benefits the people volunteering as well as those who receive service? What do you think of people volunteering because of their own agenda or motives? Can you think of any examples?

14 thoughts on “To be or not to be….

  1. I’ve done several newsletters in times past – astronomy clubs, local Audubon, churches…. They are a great way to meet lots of the people involved, but yeah, after a couple of years it started to be a bit of a burden. Still, I’m glad to having done each and every one of them! 🙂

  2. Interesting that the phone call didn’t go through right at first and that they haven’t responded yet. Hmmm…a sign? Or they’re just busy? I do think it’s a great idea for you to do the newsletter! I bet you’re fantastic at it and will do a great job with this one too!

    • I thought it was ironic to have a typo in their contact info and perhaps a sign. I think they must have gotten rid of their land line is why I got the second disconnect message. Thanks for your encouragement!

  3. Oh, the days of typesetters and waxing set copy down on the layout board. I did that many years as a graphic designer for a publishing company.

    I’m not big on volunteering but I do write an occasional article for our local town council. I really enjoy it and it keeps me connected to things happening in our community. It seems odd that the number isn’t in service but I encourage you to keep trying. You can make the newsletter your own… maybe with shorter articles and more crowd-sourced information.

    • It’s quite something to look back on how much work went into printing back in the day. I’ll give them a few days to get back to me. Maybe they haven’t checked their email or cell phone messages yet. Thanks for the ideas.

  4. Oh I have a post about this in the pipeline. I volunteer three hours a week. I started a few months ago. (I’ve always done some sort of volunteering but when my daughter was in public school that where my hours went) I like volunteering because it makes me feel good. Totally selfish.

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