Frenchman Bay Partners Communications Committee Meeting
Location: Forrest Room, Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory
Date and Time: June 3, 2013 from 3:30pm to 4:30pm
Attendees: Emma Fox, Shannon White, Anne LaBossiere, Jordan Bailey, Duncan Bailey, Liz Thompson (Jane Disney absent).
Emma provided everyone with a printed set of directions for creating the e-newsletter in Constant Contact (e-newsletter software for small businesses), as well as a newsletter template. She will be moving on from MDIBL in June, but she is happy to continue coordinating the e-newsletter and putting it all together in Constant Contact when she is gone. Emma will transition management of e-newsletter content to Jordan while continuing to assist the process as best she can in the transition.
Communications committee members will continue to write e-newsletter articles, but will extend invitations to Partners to generate paragraph summaries of projects they are working on, things that are not time-sensitive. This will allow us to have some filler for the newsletter, which will help to spread out some of the workload. Additionally, the newsletter should continue to include a “partner profile” section, highlighting individual partners or partner groups for each e-newsletter.
E-newsletters will continue to be archived on the website; however, the format of the e-newsletter can shift into mini-articles (short paragraph or a few sentences only) full of links to direct people to articles on the Frenchman Bay Partners website. There is still a place for the built-out newsletter, but a more streamlined version may help us better connect to the busier Partners and could resolve some issues of people not connecting with the website. The “upcoming events” section in the May 2013 e-newsletter: http://www.frenchmanbaypartners.org/publications/newsletter is a good example of a model article for future newsletters.
There was a discussion about the possibility of increasing the frequency of the e-newsletter. The group decided to keep the e-newsletter quarterly for now. In the future, the committee may decide to increase frequency; currently, we want to avoid moving too fast too soon. The next issue should come out in late September because the summer is a busy time for all of the Partners. Emma will stay connected with the committee about the e-newsletter in the future.
Mass email protocol
Recently, Emma sent out a mass email on behalf of the Frenchman Bay Partners and did not BCc (blind carbon copy) the list of recipients. As a result of this oversight, there were several reply-all responses. This incident was not an issue, but presented an opportunity to discuss mass email protocol from the Partners in the future. These are the guidelines the Communications Commitee came up with:
- All mass emails (to Partner list and broader stakeholder group) should be sent only by people who have expressed permission to use those email addresses.
- All mass emails should BCc recipients, with the sender using his/her email address
- Mail Chimp is also an appropriate email software to use for mass emails
- Emails to the Frenchman Bay Partner list can be sent from any Partner using the FBP website without seeing other Partner email addresses
- The “Help” section on the website describes how: http://www.frenchmanbaypartners.org/help/
- Frequency of mass emails and content regulation will be discussed only if it becomes a problem in the future, eg: if Partners start sending mass emails with messages not in line with Partner mission statement.
There was a discussion about how the Frenchman Bay Partners ethos is to be flexible and promote the intra-Partner network. In the future, we will try to encourage Partner email communication through the website, communication through the website forum, and posting Partner events/projects on the website, too. Jordan will be the new contact person for events and she will direct people to post to the website so that people can take on posting for themselves. Jordan will send out an “Emma is leaving” email with a few pointers for adding things to the website so people have a jump-start on help and are reminded of her contact information if they are not frequent website users. We do not want to discourage people from sending events, just encourage them to use the website as a resource. Jordan added a link on the front page to post events/projects.
Duncan will make the “Help” section on the website more user-friendly. Shannon and Jordan will work on generating text for conservation target sub-pages and will suggest that subcommittees come up with their own text. Representatives from each subcommittee should also take minutes at each meeting—perhaps there might be a liaison from each subcommittee on the Communications Committee in the future (a rotating position).
Duncan is willing to be another administrator on Facebook and Twitter and to research out how to connect posts on the two on Media Funnel or some other platform. He will circulate the software information when he finds it. Cross-publication needs to be encouraged on Partner sites. The more people talking about the FBP, the more search terms will appear on Google. It is good to encourage other partners to cross-reference each other where possible. All Partners using the logo on their websites should be encouraged to also link to the FBP website.
The Communications Committee will meet again in late August to discuss the next e-newsletter issue, with Tundi Agardy’s September visit as a potential article. Duncan will work on creating a few different versions of the FBP logo to post on the website for Partner use. Jane will take over municipal liaison email communications. In the future, the Communications Committee will work on creating informational packets (brochure, press releases, e-newsletter printouts, bumper stickers?) for new Partners as we continue with stakeholder engagement. Communications Committee meetings will remain quarterly unless there is a need to meet more frequently.