Producing a Canberra Declaration Good News Update fortnightly takes many hours. We try to base each one on a foundation of prayer. David likes to include this in his 4-5 pm prayer walks. We also pray each morning together about the work of the day after our ‘diary check’ time at breakfast.
With God’s leading, the topic for the next Good News Update is set as Warwick Marsh and David decide what to focus on. This requires keeping up with the news and other happenings in issues of religious freedom, marriage and family life, and the sanctity of life.
On Monday morning, David finds the materials and prints them as he likes to keep a hard copy for easy future reference. He reads these until he feels he understands, as much as possible, the issue being written about. Then he begins writing. When he gets stuck he pauses to pray. David always writes well but it usually takes Monday to do this (there always seems to be something else urgent to attend to!)
In the meantime, I go to Wufoo forms and transfer entries since the last newsletter into Constant Contact. There are 3 forms that I need to give attention to and I am still a bit slow at doing this. It is encouraging to see how many have signed the Canberra Declaration or registered for the National Day of Prayer & Fasting or the 40 Days of Prayer & Fasting since the last mail-out.
Then I take what he has written and edit it while David finds suitable art work or photos to enhance the writing. I then enter the text into Constant Contact, the email tool for sending mass emails (we send to 24,000 each time). Though recently we discovered that over 10,000 signers have firstname.lastname@example.org because they don’t have an email address or don’t want to receive emails!
Preparing the email to send is time consuming too because the template we use has a mind of it’s own!! Often it looks good but when I save work, it jumps to something else which doesn’t look good (some text in another font or a line break where it shouldn’t be). This can be incredibly frustrating. I have begun going into the ‘html’ view when this happens and sometimes I can fix it. I’d like to learn more about this! Finally I insert YouTube clips, pictures and hyperlinks. All this can take me 4-6 hours!
Now I’m ready to do a test send to David, our team leader, Warwick, and myself. There’s always changes to make as one of us sees a better way of saying something. We check that all the links actually work (we learnt this from experience!). Then we sleep on it and wake up fresh the next morning and see if there are other changes (Hopefully we are not falling into the trap of being perfectionists. We know our final is still imperfect so we simply ask God to take it and use it as he wills.)
The pattern this year is to send out at 6 am Wednesday mornings which is supposed to be the best time of the week to get the maximum number of opens. And so after an estimated 20 office hours of work we pray together. Then we push the SEND button! Hurrah! It always amazes us that from our little desktop computer in our home that these Good News Updates go out to thousands of other homes. Our trusty computers do work hard!
Unfortunately we have about 5,000 bounces each send. We still have to discover why and find other ways of contacting these people. If anyone has spare hours plus some basic computer skills or would be willing to send a note to people whose postal address we have, we would gladly welcome you as a volunteer helper.
Here is the link to Canberra Declaration Good News Update 71 which Warwick wrote to explain how we got involved in all this!