Somewhat Disappointing

Day’s Verse:
One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.
Acts 16:14 (context)

A couple weeks ago, I spent quite a few hours working really hard on an email newsletter for KDOG, the group I’m doing my Community Action Project with. On Monday, March 29, at 4:05 pm, I triumphantly finished it and emailed it to the KDOG mailing list through my Bicycle Alliance account. I felt a little thrill of excitement at having shared something I worked so very hard on with all those people. I also hoped it would get a few people to come out and help distribute door hangers on Saturday, April 3.

I never heard anything about the newsletter after I sent it out, but I got busy and it slipped my mind.

That is, I forgot about it until Sunday, April 4, when I received an email from one of the KDOG leaders. She asked when I was planning on sending the newsletter out.

As you can imagine, my heart sank. I immediately scrambled around desperately for confirmation that I had, in fact, sent the newsletter. That’s when things started getting strange. I realized that I never received the newsletter to my gmail account, which is the one that gets KDOG notifications. Then, when I checked my work email Sent Items folder, I didn’t have a record of having sent it to the KDOG mailing list. However, I had cc’d my work email on the newsletter, and that email indicated it had been sent to the correct mailing list. Also, the Meetup.com Mailing List page had no record of the newsletter going out last Monday, and the two leaders never got it.

Eventually, through some trial and error, we figured out that Meetup.com only allows email address on the mailing list to send emails to the mailing list. That means that the newsletter I sent out through my work email — which is not registered with Meetup.com — never reached the intended recipients. I never got a notification that anything had gone wrong, or that my email had not arrived at its intended destination. It was only Ian commenting about the different email address thing that made me realize sending it through work might have been a problem.

I re-sent it this morning through my gmail account and immediately got confirmation that it worked. Even though I got it sent out this morning, I spent the entire last week thinking I’d done a great thing when in reality I had completely failed.

I feel very disappointed about this. I could very well have gotten a decent number of people to meet me on Saturday, and maybe have finished getting all the door hangers hung, if the newsletter had gone out as intended. Also, the newsletter talked about the extremely important meeting on April 6, and strongly encouraged KDOG members to attend the meeting. Now it’s such late notice that I doubt my sending it today will make any difference.

On the bright side, at my last count, I have fewer than 100 KDOG door hangers left out of the 750 I originally received. I don’t know what people and businesses have done with them, but I’ve certainly done my part as far as organizing people to distribute door hangers goes. Also, 4 people did come to the Saturday meeting.

This has been a learning experience for me in many ways. Now I know to confirm that the email went out with somebody on the mailing list; to plan events farther in advance and ask businesses for food donations at least 1 month ahead; and that personal connections are the best way to get people to help. Next time I will also post the volunteer opportunities not just on the KDOG Meetup page, but with United Way of King County, other dog groups in the area, and the Kirkland Reporter if possible.

So, even if the newsletter may not have served the purpose I intended, I’ve learned some about organizing events and volunteers. And that’s probably more valuable in the long run than having sent out one particular newsletter.

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