By Dave Zimmerman
|As we start a new year in AACA activities, I am excited about the events we
have planned. Having just completed the third of this years scheduled
events, I can say we are off to a wonderful start. We have a lot to look
forward to this year We are officially under the 501 © 3 tax status and our
accountants and attorney are looking at all the potential benefits the
members can expect from this program. As soon as they have finalized these
items , they will be announced to the membership.
I have continued the two focus groups started last year by President Beauchamp. The committees have the same focus, but the people have been changed. The first is "The Young Adult Membership Focus Group”, who are looking at ways we can attract members in the 20-50 age group. The second group is the " The Central and Western Division Membership Focus Group", who will help us to develop ideas on getting more members and participation in these areas.
Brenda and I look forward to meeting as many members, new members and potential members as possible this year. I believe strongly in an open door policy between the members and the President, if you have a problem or concern you can not settle through normal channels please make me aware of your concerns.
As you participate in AACA functions, please take a minute to thank the people hosting the event. If these folks did not step up to the plate and accept the challenges involved, we the members would not enjoy the benefits of their work and dedication.
When attending a function, please take the time to introduce yourself to another participant. The cars are the thread that binds us together, but the true benefit is the people we meet and the friendships we make along the road.
"Remember Keep the Fun in the Hobby"
By Steve Moskowitz
|AACA is pleased to announce its recently launched authorized bookstore,
the AACA Bookmobile. The Bookmobile offers a growing selection of
automotive and transportation books, with an emphasis, of course, on
classic cars, motorcycles, trucks and buses. Every book is discounted
20% (no other online bookstore discounts its entire inventory). Besides
the automotive book section, members can easily browse the general
bookstore that is attached to the Bookmobile, and every book there is
discounted 20% as well. All book orders are shipped within 24 hours and
sent by UPS for speedy and reliable delivery to any location in the
As with all internet stores, there is no sales tax charged except to residents of the state of Connecticut, where the store is headquartered.
By having an official bookstore, our members can purchase a wide range of books at exceptional prices, and the AACA receives a significant contribution from the bookstore for every book sold. The amount rises with volume to over 15% of revenue, so it is certainly in the interests of the Club and its members for all of us to buy as many books as possible from the AACA Bookmobile!`
While the Bookmobile cannot carry every automotive book published, it is attempting to carry as many as possible, and is adding new titles every week. Members are encouraged to make suggestions to the store manager for titles and publishers to carry. Readers can write and post book reviews and add comments about the titles in stock. And the store will add new features as time goes on. The possibility of doing searches for rare and out of print books is under consideration now.
Another exciting possible feature is a custom publishing program. Many AACA members write articles or stories that are either too long or too specialized for general magazines and journals. The Bookmobile is working on a program that would allow members to publish their work in both printed and electronic form for a very reasonable cost.
While the Bookmobile is an independently run business, it is the authorized bookstore for the Antique Automobile Club of America and all chapters and regions are invited to promote the store to your members. To link to the store, contact email@example.com. To make suggestions of any kind, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please patronize the store, become involved readers and make suggestions, write reviews for your fellow members, and in general, take advantage of the opportunities the store offers. Buying all your books from the AACA Bookmobile not only allows you to get a great deal on all your books, it helps keep the AACA strong.
By Earl Beauchamp
|A little over
forty-one years ago a fellow member of the Chesapeake Region out of
Baltimore called me on the phone. I had been a member of AACA and the
Region but two years, yet already I was consumed by my interest in our
hobby. Only six years out of high school where I had struggled through
English class, becoming Editor of the Chesapeake Bulletin hadn’t been in
my sights. The gentleman who called me, Connie Sohn, was the club’s
Activities Chairman for the coming year, 1964, and he had sort of
befriended me as I might befriend a young person today. I’m sure he
called because they couldn’t find anybody else and he had recognized my
club enthusiasm, but in any case he called the right person, because I
eagerly accepted. That started a long chain of ups and downs within AACA
that culminated in my becoming National President in 2004. I am telling
you this story because as your new Vice President of Publications I’m
about to pass on some things I’ve found out over forty years that you as
Editor can do to build and hold onto your own great membership base.
Some people may have heard me say at various places where I’ve spoken that the Editor is the “most important member of any Region or Chapter”. I believe that. A club with a very poor newsletter, or no newsletter has a difficult time building the camaraderie that glues the club together. That is why, in 1963, the forefather's of AACA decided to come up with a “contest” for Region and Chapter newsletters. Then, as now, a Publications Committee of National Directors from around the Country was established to individually review and judge Region and Chapter newsletters from month to month.
As luck would have it, I was there, painting the inside of an A.B. Dick mimeograph machine print drum to produce the Chesapeake Bulletin at the time. The first three awards were given at the Philadelphia Meeting in February 1965 to, I think, the “Best Printed”, “Best Mimeographed” and “Best Ditto” newsletters in AACA. I won for “Best Mimeographed”. What a thrill it was! Consider what a thrill it will be in 2006 if you can step your newsletter up to the next level, or even achieve a “Master Editor” Award.
Awards are many now, as the AACA program has grown. The Publications Committee meets toward the end of the year to resolve their individual scores and come up with the Awards results for the year.
Various folks have held my current job. Each has had their respective idea of what makes a good newsletter. Now I’ll tell you what makes a really good newsletter to me.
First, I want you to provide the glue that builds and holds your Region or Chapter membership. That is step one toward becoming a Master Editor. There are a lot of mechanical things spelled out in the Editor’s Handbook that we look for in a newsletter, but most of all I look for content that produces member enjoyment. If it takes your members fifteen minutes or more to read your newsletter, and they read it because it has something enjoyable to read in it, then you’re making the grade with me. Let me mention a few steps to show you what I mean.
Articles about your members and club events that tell a story of fun with old cars is step one. An article about nearby Region or Chapter events your members could, should, or did attend is step number two, and articles about national events that your members could, should or did attend is step number three. These types of articles not only build club camaraderie within your own group, and expand it throughout your general local area, but they help build adhesiveness between your members and the national AACA as well. Those are the first three important steps you might want to take as your club Editor. You don’t have to include each of those in every issue. Now, how about those other ten minutes of reading pleasure you can provide? Right, you have it, articles of interest. For example, one Editor writes auto-related historical articles about his own town and its surroundings, bringing back “old times” to his members. If you share Regional newsletters, sometimes you’ll find really interesting articles from other Editors that your members will enjoy reading. If you can’t get a member to send a picture of their car for the cover and an article about how they found their car, or how they restored it, or why they wanted one like that, for example, visit them. Take the picture, scribble down some notes from what they tell you and you write the article. If they say they can’t type, can’t write, whatever their excuse, offer to take whatever they will give you and then you edit it into a nice article. After all, you are the Editor, right? The Rummage Box is printed and sent to you not only to give you copy if you need it, but oftentimes in hopes of getting information into your newsletter. It is noted if you never find anything useful to reprint for your members.
Now suppose your Board of Directors says your upgraded-reading newsletter is too expensive for the club coffers. Sell some ads, and sprinkle them through your newsletter. That helps your advertisers, because when they are all on one page, nobody reads them. You don’t want too many, but just enough to keep your newsletter from being a drain on the treasury. Remember now, you don’t have a very high circulation, so sell your ads very reasonably. I would suggest you sell them as yearly ads. A business card for the whole year for $26-30 is not unreasonable. One of those might pay postage for a month. So then your ads should be designed to cover some or all of your newsletter costs, but not to make money for your group.
How large should your newsletter be? I can tell you that you can mail six double-sided pages for the one-ounce rate -- currently thirty-seven cents. How much you can do depends on your time and your interest. That’s your call.
Now that you know content is your most important consideration, what’s next? It’s layout. Layout, to me, is a personal thing. Do your layout in such a manner that it excites and pleases you, and it will no doubt please your members. When we review, we do like to see your newsletter printed in columns however.
Make sure you identify who your Region or Chapter is, have a newsletter name, and say who your officers are, who you are, what month it is, how you as Editor can be contacted. An article by your President is important if you can get it on time. Minutes from your secretary are important too, but if you can’t get those synopsize what went on at the meeting yourself. When we review your newsletter we expect to see a cover page where we can easily see the name and date of the publication and the name of the Region or Chapter. We expect to see the AACA logo. We like to see your own logo too if you have one. We expect your newsletter to include a list of officers and e-mail or phone numbers for at least you and your President. It goes almost without saying there must be a calendar of events. It should include events of neighboring Regions and Chapters. We really like to see some articles with some meat to them, but also we like to see some evidence of lighthearted camaraderie with and between the members.
I want to touch on graphics before I go. Color, glossy paper and photos help any newsletter, but they do not replace good quality article content. If you use photos, be sure they have reasonable quality. They don’t have to be crystal clear. You may not have that ability with your equipment and printing process. Just make sure they aren’t distorted, or photos where everybody’s face is a white circle with two dots for eyes. You know what I mean. And be sure to identify who is in the picture or what the vehicle is with a caption.
And then there is one final most important note. Keep your publication friendly. Don’t print hurtful things or point fingers. Just do your job, and as my mom used to say, “if you can’t say something good, don’t say anything at all.” And remember, you can’t please everybody all the time. Finally above everything else, never put anything off-color into your newsletter.
Okay now let’s every Editor work toward an AACA newsletter award. I guarantee it will make you feel good. Also though, you’ll have done more than anyone else to build a larger and happier membership. More folks will even attend the events and as the old man used to say, “a good time will be had by all.”