Ditch That Printed Newsletter! You Have a Digital One!

Find Out What the LDS.org Newsletter Tool is All About

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Usually some enterprising member starts a ward or stake newsletter. It continues in a haphazard fashion, until something causes its demise.

Newsletters are good ideas, but we have not had a good way to administer them until now. The Church has included a newsletter function for both stakes and wards on the LDS.org tools. Here is a succinct statement of its benefits:

One advantage to using the newsletter is that it is always accessible online, available to any member of your ward or stake who can sign in with an LDS Account, regardless of whether the member is on your e-mail list, in attendance on Sunday, or actively attending events.

What is the Newsletter Exactly?

It is a blog, and a collection of blogs, according to categories. The categories correspond to all the different organizations in the Church, like the Primary, Relief Society, Melchizedek Priesthood, etc.

Each posting is called an article and articles are posted to the newsletter, in the order they were added.

The newsletter is divided into categories. These categories are found on the right-hand side of the Newsletter screen. If you click on a category, you can access all the news for that one category. Clicking on all brings up all the news on the newsletter.

Every time you create an article, you must assign it to at least one tag. Tags are just a way of organizing the newsletter items. If you are announcing a combined Young Men and Young Women activity then assign both those tags. If it is just scouting, assign it to the Young Men category.

Decisions Leadership Should Make

Like most tools, the newsletter should be overseen by priesthood leadership.

In order to get started with the newsletter, priesthood leadership will need to make a couple of core decisions.

  • In general, decide what will and will not be included in the Newsletter.
  • Establish procedures so that priesthood guidance and oversight occurs.
  • Establish procedures so that Church policy and guidelines are followed.
  • They must approve categories and category order

What Should You Include in the Newsletter?

  1. Any official announcement or event that goes on the calendar or in the Sunday bulletin should probably go on the newsletter.
  2. Include member news like births, deaths, marriages and sometimes baptisms. Include baptisms on a case by case basis. Some people do not want all members invited and some baptismal dates are tentative. It is better to announce them as having taken place, rather than occurring in the future.
  3. Include member news that is noteworthy. However, be careful. Selectively including only some accomplishments of some members can be alienating to others.
  4. Include miscellaneous items like a special family history symposium, emergency preparedness fair or a visit by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, for example. These need to be approved individually by leadership.
  5. Include a category for stake items, if your stake is not currently utilizing the Stake Newsletter tool. Abandon it when they do start using it.

What You Can Do With the Newsletter?

The newsletter can announce and publicize upcoming events. Flyers, pictures and posters can be attached to articles, just like you can attach items to emails. And, the newsletter can document past events with pictures and/or summaries.

We have not had the ability to report on events in the past. Usually, a leader would make a comment that an event was or was not well attended and so forth, but that was it. Now, we can cover them fully.

What You Cannot Do With the Newsletter

You cannot email the newsletter to members as such. This feature may be available in the future, but it is not available now.

You cannot post copyrighted pictures or pictures that include copyrighted or trademarked items on the newsletter or pictures of people without their permission.

Also, you cannot neglect monitoring pictures. If a person requests a picture or information about them removed, the law requires you to remove it within 24 hours of the request.

Why it is Crucial to Follow Basic Guidelines?

The newsletter should be managed under the basic guidelines for all digital tools.

For example, you should not include abbreviations for all the reasons mentioned, or cause people difficulty by making them click a lot to find the information they need. Articles should contain complete information. You should not be referring them to attached flyers in order to find it.

To avoid legal problems like copyright or trademark violations, only allowing pictures you take yourself makes sense on the newsletter as well.

Final Tips & Tricks

  • Articles show up in the order you post them; so post them in the order you want them to appear.
  • Delete anything older than one year. Special laws apply to older content. Be safe and remove it all after one year.
  • Use Chrome or Firefox web browsers.

Finally, you will need an LDS Account to either post items or to read items on the newsletter. Also, guidelines and training for the newsletter are on the Help Center.