The AIS monthly electronic newsletter News & Notes has continued to be published on a monthly basis with Special Editions announcing the AIS Medal Awards. The latter continues to be the most popular issue; both in the number of members who read it and in the number who follow links for further information.
Our statistics also continue to be 2-3 times what Constant Contact reports for non-profits. We have a 54% average for opens compared to an industry average of 25%. Our click-through rate is 33% and the industry average is 11.7%.
The monthly edition has continued to have 6 to 10 topics with short action-oriented descriptions and one or more links to more details. Most of the links are to the AIS website, the Iris Encyclopedia, World of Irises (the AIS Blog), and Section, Region, or Affiliate websites. Some of the themes were:
Conventions - Both the Portland National Convention and Sections meetings had announcements and reminders. Some were additions, such as the added bus for the optional tour, and some are fixed deadlines like the early registration discount. Also calls for donations to the Silent Auction. We also highlighted videos to promote the Portland meetings. Earlier in the meetings cycle we include the call for guest irises and reminders as the deadlines for these approach.
Showing off irises - Our most popular topic was the previews of Dykes Medal and other Medal irises. We created pages on the Iris Encyclopedia showing photos of each of the irises eligible for this years medals. In addition to familiarizing members with the candidates, we hope it will encourage voting and serve as a source to show potential members.
Popularity Polls - Another way to show off irises. We worked with the Spuria Iris Society to create pages on the Iris Encyclopedia showing the most popular spurias of 2012 and 2013. These contain links to the Spuria Iris Society website, encourage membership, and can be used by the Spuria Iris Society for publicity. Next we created the 2013 Japanese Iris Popularity Poll page for the Society for Japanese Irises. We would like to have these for each of the Sections and Cooperating Societies to work with. We also announce and/or remind members to vote in the respective popularity polls and the Symposium.
Promoting AIS - As a follow-up to the previews of Dykes Medal candidates and other Medal candidates, we prepared a World of Iris es post and a working version of News & Notes for everyone to use as AIS publicity. There were also notices of the H&R Block Nonprofit Referral Program and a reminder of donations to the AIS Foundation being tax deductible. Andi Rivarola created some great posters for the $25 Voucher Program for new/upgraded memberships and a Spuria Iris Society new membership promotion which we made available for anyone to print.