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Communication is the first step to all alumni engagement. Unfortunately, most living alumni do not receive consistent communication from their collegiate chapters. That said, surveys conducted by the General Fraternity indicate that 75% of alumni continue to be interested in receiving chapter updates and news.

THE CHAPTER NEWSLETTER

Audience

A newsletter from a collegiate chapter is not the same, nor should it be the same, as a newsletter from an alumni chapter. While the alumni chapter newsletter should target all chapter alumni, the audience of a collegiate chapter newsletter is likely broader:

  • Collegiate brothers
  • Alumni brothers
  • Parents
  • University/College officials
  • Possibly even other Greek-letter and student organizations on your campus

Once you determine the audience of a chapter newsletter you can build the contact/distribution list for the newsletter. If you need assistance in gathering contact information for alumni, you will want to reach out to the alumni chapter. If you are not sure there is an active alumni chapter, you check this Alumni Chapter Listing. If there is not an active alumni chapter, then contact the General Fraternity’s headquarters office.

Production Schedule and Frequency

At a minimum, the chapter should be producing and sending an annual newsletter to its audience(s). When sending the newsletter is a matter for the chapter leadership to decide, but the consistency of the send date(s) is important. A collegiate chapter should work with its alumni chapter, if there is one in place, to coordinate the sending of their respective newsletters. In general, though, two timeframes stand out for the sending of an annual newsletter:

  • July/August – marks the start of the academic year and the renewed excitement about what can be accomplished is high. This timeframe is also a good time to announce important dates for the academic year so those receiving the newsletter can mark them on their calendars.
  • January/February – for many chapters, this timeframe marks the start of new officer terms, which brings its own level of renewed excitement. This timeframe also works well for announcing important dates for the new calendar year.
Newsletter Content

For alumni chapter newsletters, the General Fraternity recommends the following content distribution:

  • 70% alumni and alumni chapter news
  • 20% collegiate chapter news
  • 10% Fraternity/Campus news

The audience of the collegiate chapter newsletter, though, is different; therefore, the content distribution needs to be different.

  • 50% collegiate chapter news
  • 30% alumni news
  • 20% Fraternity/Campus news

Your chapter’s newsletter may contain any number of different content areas. Below is a list of possible content areas:

Collegiate Chapter News (50% of total content)

  • Introduction letter – Could be written by the Commander, the newsletter coordinator, or an alumni chapter leader. This section should provide a general summary of what is in the newsletter.
  • Collegiate Chapter News – Recent highlights and upcoming activities for the collegiate chapter. This might include a letter/note written from the Commander or Alumni Relations Chairman, including relevant links to the chapter’s website and/or social media.
  • Alumni Advisory Board/Chapter Advisor – An update from the AAB Chairman or Chapter Advisor and how others can get involved.
  • Chapter House – Any news about the chapter house and/or capital campaign, if applicable.
  • Member Spotlight – Short story to highlight a deserving collegiate brother and his special accomplishments, or to congratulate those senior brothers who will be graduating.
  • Calendar – Upcoming events and activities for the collegiate chapter and the alumni chapter. Might also include important events on campus and national events of the General Fraternity.
  • Chapter Officer Listing – Include name, role/position, year in school, and how to contact.

Alumni News (30% of total content)

  • Alumni Chapter News – Alumni chapter accomplishments and plans. This information should come from the alumni chapter newsletter, which the alumni chapter can provide.
  • Alumni Spotlight – Interview and write an article about an alumnus. This alumnus could be someone what has attained distinction in his career or personal life, or what has made an outstanding contribution.
  • Alumni Chapter and/or Alumni Advisory Board Listing – Include name and role. Might also include email address if those individuals are agreeable to it.
  • Chapter Eternal – Listing of those alumni who have passed into Chapter Eternal since the last newsletter. Pictures and/or links to obituaries may be included.
  • Update Your Contact Info – Encourage alumni to update their contact information with the General Fraternity. Provide the hyperlink for the Fraternity’s website.
  • Membership Referrals – Featured box or space with instructions for how alumni can refer names of prospective new members to the collegiate chapter.

Fraternity/Campus News (20% of total content)

  • Any news/updates from the General Fraternity or University/College that is of special importance. For the General Fraternity, you could ask for a message from your Leadership Consultant or include links to the General Fraternity website or the most recent edition of The Delta. For the University/College, you could ask for a message from your Fraternity and Sorority Life Advisor or include links to the most recent edition of the alumni magazine.
Format/Layout and Distribution

There are countless options and resources for assembling a newsletter. Here are a few online resources you can explore:

Format and Layout

Distribution

Sending your newsletter via email is less expensive than hard copy and can be more efficient. Rather than sending as an attachment, it is recommended that you post your newsletter online and email a link where your audience can download it. Since many email clients will not allow you to send out mass emails, consider using an email service such as:

PROVIDER/SERVICE
PRICING
FREE PLAN AVAILABLE
FREE/STARTER PLANS: SUBSCRIBERS/EMAILS
Constant Contact Starts at $20/mo NO(free trial) 500 contacts/ unlimited emails
Mailchimp Starts at $20/mo YES 2,000 contacts/ 10,000 emails per month
Mailer Lite Starts at $10/mo YES 1,000 contacts/ unlimited emails
Moosend Starts at $10/mo YES 1,000 contacts/ unlimited emails
SendPulse Starts at $8/mo YES 500 contacts/ unlimited emails

Sending hard copies is a more expensive option due to printing and postage costs. However, hard copy does have an appeal for some audiences, so it is worth considering.

No matter how you send your newsletter, be sure to also post on your other media outlets, including social media and your chapter’s website.

Quality

Your chapter’s stakeholders deserve to receive the highest quality product. Ensure your newsletters are edited and proofed for content, grammar, and functionality (i.e. make sure all links are functional). If sending as an email attachment, convert to PDF to avoid formatting issues.

Finally, do not forget to send a copy of your newsletter to the General Fraternity.

© 2015-2021 Sigma Nu Fraternity, Inc.
9 North Lewis Street, P.O. Box 1869, Lexington, Virginia 24450
Phone: (540) 463-1869 | Fax: (540) 463-1669 | Email: headquarters@sigmanu.org

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