By Sheila Aceves, District 57 Newsletter Editor
The time has come to register for the Newsletter Contest! The have been a few changes to the rules and timing. Please make sure to read this post completely if you are interested in entering your club in this year’s contest.
If you have a chance to attend the Creating Brand Communication With Canva class on October 23, please do! The link to sign up for the class is here. This is an excellent opportunity to learn about incorporating the Toastmasters branding into your newsletter and other club communications.
- October 31, 2021: Interested clubs register their intentions to participate by this date, 11:59 pm by signing up here.
- October 2021: Registered clubs make sure their publication processes, including submitting their newsletters to the district, are streamlined. Try submitting a minimum of one or two trial issues (or real ones!), if applicable, to ensure that future submissions are sending correctly.
- Nov 1, 2021 through March 31, 2022: Participating clubs produce their newsletters and submit each issue to the district. No submission prior to Nov 1 counts for judging, and no issue submitted past 11:59 on March 31, 2022 will be counted either.
- April 2022: The panel of judges review all the submissions and make their decisions.
- May 2022 Newsletter Contest Announcement Ceremony, as well as the D57 District Conference: Results of the contest are announced.
A participating club can win one of the following awards, with the corresponding incentive cash added to their District Bucks pool for this year.
- First Prize — $100 in District Bucks
- Second Prize — $75 in District Bucks
- Third Prize — $50 in District Bucks
- Most Improved — $25 in District Bucks
All participants are required to adhere to the rules below.
- In order to participate in the contest, a representative of the club must register the intent by filling the form at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/106wPZJrBRfSFRPTL68PQyekq2X_cWs61C3BjYZ80MdA. This registration must be completed by October 31, 2021 at 11:59 pm.
- One newsletter entry per club. In the event of multiple registrations for the same club, the last one entered will prevail.
- The newsletter must be at least monthly in frequency. There must be one (or more) issue(s) for each calendar month. This means that the issue would be dated for the month or specific dates in the month and will be emailed in that month. For example, the first monthly newsletter issue to be considered would be identified as the November 2021 issue and would bear an email time stamp between November 1 and November 31, 2021. Likewise, the first weekly newsletter would be dated and sent in the range November 1-7, 2021.
- Only email newsletters are considered for this contest. A newsletter must be distributed as an email that would reach all members of your club.
- Content of each newsletter issue must be conveyed in one of the following methods:
- Directly in the email. It can be hypertext with links to other items on the web, but it can be simple text as well. The content must clearly indicate the issue date.
- The newsletter can be a single PDF file, sent as an attachment. The PDF must identify the issue date. The email subject+body must also identify such.
- The newsletter can be made available through a single link in the email body to a public page on the web. Branding and issue date identification apply here as well, for both the email and the newsletter page on the web.
- Each issue of the newsletter must be submitted to the district as well as all the members using the process given below.
- Any club that won a prize in the 2021 Newsletter Contest is ineligible to compete again until 2023.
- A club that wins either first, second, or third place in the contest is not eligible to win the Most Improved Newsletter award.
- By registering, you are giving unrestricted, non-exclusive permission to District 57 for using any of the content in your newsletter issues. Examples of district use include communication regarding the program, the results, or even showcasing for any purpose in the future. Please make sure your content is in alignment with this policy and you have the rights to extend such permission.
Tips, Guidelines, and Judging Criteria:
- If you don’t already have a club newsletter, this is your chance to start one! Design it and experiment with test issues in the month of October. The judging only starts in November.
- The newsletter is expected to be written by, for, and about club members.
- The judging criteria are the link between contest participants and the evaluators on the judging panel. In order that we all work toward the same goal, it is important for you to know what criteria are to be used in judging:
- Twenty percent of the score is based upon whether the club has published their newsletter regularly. This means that each issue is clearly marked with the issue date, and that they have met the schedule that they have set, whether monthly, bi-monthly, or weekly.
- Forty percent of the score is based upon the relevance of the content to club members. The judges will assess if the newsletter is informative, with varied content. They will look to see if it showcases club and club member achievements, as well as promoting district news. The articles should be written by club members.
- Forty percent of the score is on the presentation of the newsletter. The newsletter must follow Toastmasters branding guidelines, as in the Toastmasters Brand Manual. The copy should be well-written, and images or video links should be clear and attractive. The newsletter copy should be easy to read. Limiting both colors and fonts to no more than two or three of each, and not crowding the copy and images too densely will make the issues attractive and legible.
- All submissions must be through email to email@example.com. No exceptions. The judging panel is not responsible for misdirected emails.
- Each newsletter issue must be submitted simultaneously to the district as well as the members. For example, if you work with a mail service provider like Mailchimp, add the contest submission email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) to the list you use, so we see exactly how you send your newsletters. If you are directly sending the email, make sure you send it to the contest submission email address as blind copy (bcc:). [This will avoid us receiving any follow up discussion threads]
- Starting with November 2021, your newsletter must be published in each month until March 2021. You must adhere to your declared publication schedule. You declare this schedule when you register. If your publication schedule is not monthly or weekly, please make sure to indicate what it will be. As long as your first registration is received by October 31, you can amend your registration details in November, if needed, but they cannot be changed after November.
Creating a club newsletter and working with a committee to produce a new one every month has been one of the most rewarding activities of my Toastmasters career. (It made a great project for my Pathway too!) I hope that your club members find it to be as satisfying and useful as mine have.
If you have any question or comment regarding this set of rules for the 2022 contest, please send me an email at email@example.com.
Here’s to an exciting contest!
Editor, D57 Newsletter