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Newsletter manager

“Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land.”
– Proverbs 25:25

An update from missionaries in a “distant land” can refresh and uplift supporters. As newsletter manager, you have the privilege of releasing reports that tell what God is doing and that keep the missionary “alive” in the hearts and minds of many back home. Newsletters can also help to introduce the missionary’s ministry to new or prospective supporters.


You are a blessing!

Many missionaries find producing, printing, and mailing a newsletter while overseas a time-consuming and stressful task. With the MST’s help in the newsletter process, the missionary is freed to focus on ministry. By assisting with newsletters, you are not only blessing the missionary, but also those they serve on the field and the readers at home.


Who writes the newsletter?

Generally, the missionary sends the text of the newsletter and any photos for you to do the layout and printing. The MST may want to occasionally add a note, such as birthday reminders, special prayer requests, thank you notes to supporters, or notices re: funds.


Printing and distribution

You then print and mail the newsletters or send them via email. The missionary support response form (sent with the first mailing to raise support) allows recipients to indicate whether they prefer email or hard copies. The work of folding newsletters or stuffing envelopes can be shared with others.


Getting started

Before the missionary leaves for assignment:
  1. Together agree upon a title, layout, and design for the newsletter.
  2. Decide how often you will send a newsletter. (EMM recommends sending a one-page newsletter once a month, starting one month after the fundraising mailing and continuing through completion of assignment. Newsletter frequency should never be less than every three months.)
  3. Talk about what features you may want to include, e.g., a children’s corner, prayer request section, victories/joys, calendar of upcoming events, etc.
  4. Make sure you have access to the database of the missionary’s contacts. The TNTMPD system is freeware for keeping track of donors. Use it to create mailing labels on your computer.
  5. Find out what technology the missionary will have access to on the field (e.g., computer, internet connection, scanner, digital camera). Decide what equipment is necessary to produce the newsletters, and if the missionary needs to purchase any additional equipment.
  6. Newsletters sent before the missionary’s departure can include information available from the EMM regional representative about the outreach location, the missionary’s specific needs, information about commissioning services, an update on the fund-raising project, or a testimony from the missionary.

A picture is worth a thousand words!

Newsletters should contain several good pictures if possible. Photos capture the reader’s attention and bring the missionary’s world to life.


Editor’s eye

The missionary will receive guidelines for newsletter writing from EMM’s Advancement team. As newsletter manager, you don’t need to be an experienced editor, but keep an eye open for things in the missionary’s writing that don’t make sense. If something is hard for you to understand, more than likely it will not be clear to other readers. Ask the missionary for clarification or rewording. If you need help with layout and design, EMM’s Advancement team is available to assist with a one-time critique of your newsletter (717 898-2251 or emm.org/info).


How is the newsletter funded?

Costs related to newsletters can be handled in one of these ways:
  1. The missionary can supply funds from his/her monthly allowance.
  2. MST members can pay equal shares of these costs.
  3. If the missionary’s home congregation is receiving and receipting contributions for the missionary’s support, newsletter costs can be paid with above-budget funds received by the church. This does not reduce the amount sent to EMM.
  4. The MST finance coordinator can reimburse the newsletter manager from any money remaining in the “development assistance” fund (if the missionary and MST chose to include this line in the missionary’s budget).

Photocopy discounts

If you don’t have access to a photocopier at your church, check with local printers to find out if they give discounts for printing missionary newsletters. Some printing businesses offer missionaries a discounted rate. EMM offers use of our photocopier for missionary newsletters at five cents per copy for standard black and white copies.


What if the missionary is serving in a sensitive region?

Find out from the missionary before he or she leaves if specific communication guidelines exist for the country of service. Some language in the newsletter may need to be sensitized. And if the missionary has designated a “gatekeeper” for his/her correspondence, the missionary email address listed in the newsletter would be that of the gatekeeper.