Communication & Newsletters
A collection of articles and notes about affiliate communication
updated 2015

Internal Communication Team

A suggestion for improving communication within ISM affiliates. Suggestion resulted from conversations at the ISM leadership Workshop,  June 2002.  

Seminars and workshops on communication primarily focus on communicating with the public, potential members and others outside of the organization. However, there is another important part of communicating that we cannot ignore. How we communicate with each other, other officers, members and board members can be just as critical and make a big impact on affiliate operation. Incoming information from many sources can easily be missed or fall through the cracks.

While each officer and board member makes a commitment to keep up with news and information, it's easy to get distracted by the "day job" and miss something important. I suggest you set up an Internal Communication Team to focus on capturing and distributing incoming information.

  1. Have a short discussion at a board meeting to identify sources of important incoming and internal information, discuss the important aspects of each, determine who should receive, and who should act on, the information.
  2. Form an Internal Communication Team. Track down a few members who might be willing to help if the task is relatively small and specific. Some of these tasks are relatively simple, easily assignable and don't take a lot of time and commitment. These would be great assignments for someone who wants to help, but can't devote a lot of time. These would also be great assignments for new members who aren't willing to make a public commitment, but can spend a little bit of time behind the scenes. Each task could probably be accomplished in approximately 1-2 hours per month.
  3. Assign monitoring responsibility for each item to one of the volunteer team members. Help the monitor get set up to receive the information, understand what to look for, an idea of who to send information to and give them a tool to distribute the items they find. The task includes monitoring the source, selecting important pieces of information and send a short note to appropriate officers, committee chairs, board members, newsletter editor, etc..  This would be a short note e.g. * ISM conference date changed to xxxx or workshop presentation posted at yyy.
  4. Set up an email distribution list for officers and committee chairs. Include everyone on the list who might be interested in keeping up with the latest news. Have a member who uses Outlook or another high-end mail program set up and maintain the list. Messages needing to be distributed to everyone can be sent to the one mail list coordinator who then re-distributes to the list. Use a common, easily-identifiable subject line so everyone knows the message is not spam.

Here are some specific Monitor Task suggestions:

  1. Monitor task; Working Calendar. Assign one member to set up and maintain a revolving calendar. A simple table in Word, Excel or something similar will do. Every officer, committee chair or monitor forwards calendar items to the "calendar keeper" who then distributes the updated calendar on a regular basis. Don't forget calendar items such as deadlines for registration or ISM educational events. Distribute to everyone, each time there is an update. Don't forget to monitor the ISM calendar of events on line. (
  2. Monitor task: ISM NEWSLine. Publication contains news, educational subjects, certification updates and other important information from ISM. Each issue should be reviewed and items of interest highlighted in an email to appropriate committee chair or officers. Identify potential cutouts for affiliate newsletter. This would be a great task for a past president or retired board member. Newsline is a section of the ISM magazine Inside Supply Management
  3. Monitor Task; ISM web site. The ISM web site includes news, articles, calendar items, notifications, posting of educational events, publications, etc.. Assign a monitor to spend 30 minutes each week reviewing the ISM web site for new and updated items. (
  4. Monitor Task; ISM Mastery Model. Electronic newsletter distributed to members who sign up for the list. Includes topics relating to C.P.S.M. Review and forward articles to the newsletter editor for publication and/or to the Education Chair for action.  subscribe on this page:
  5. Monitor task; Inside Supply Management. ISM Magazine distributed to all members, which includes articles, education and calendar items. Probably a big enough task to assign to two or three monitors. Might consider splitting the responsibility by topic or subject.
  6. Monitor Task, ISM Board and Affiliate Support Council meeting minutes. ()

Add any additional sources of information to the list. The purpose of this plan is not to relieve officers or committee chairs of their responsibility but to assist and remind them about important information.


P.S. I would also suggest you have the monitors get in the habit of copying important information directly to the newsletter editor. It has been my experience that sometimes committee chairs learn important facts, but forget that others in the affiliate may not have been on distribution or involved in the discussion.

Does our Newsletter Add Value?

What purpose does your affiliate newsletter serve? What do you want from your affiliate newsletter? News letters are often cited as one of the ways that the local affiliate adds value to membership, but the format, content and distribution remains the same, year after year. Affiliate officers spend quite a bit of time working on newsletters, but after all that, do we as members feel like the newsletter is worth reading? 

If you aren't getting what you want from your affiliate newsletter, maybe it's time to talk with your officers about newsletter content. Here are some discussion topics and ideas.

MLTWEB is owned by Michael L. Taylor, C.P.M.  Mail:  
Materials prepared by Mike may be shared for supply chain education, provided that this source is credited and no fee is charged. The rights for any other use are withheld.
Copyright;  Michael L. Taylor, C.P.M.