Here’s a secret of mine: I dislike writing the email announcements for upcoming rites. I’m not certain why, exactly; I think part of it is that in addition to announcing on a local list and Witchvox, I also post announcements on a number of regional lists — one for Central Pennsylvania, two for Pennsylvania itself, and one for ADF’s Heartland region (PA is the eastern outpost of it; it’s actually faster for me to get to Trillium Gathering, in northern Virginia, than to get to the Ohio border).

I suspect it may be that I feel I’m reiterating the information on the additional lists without people necessarily getting anything out of it. Part of it, I know, is to make certain others across the state are aware there is a group in this area, for word-of-mouth.

Perhaps I should show off the most recent email announcement, more or less . The level of detail varies based on the region; the PA lists know what “State College” means, but the Heartland region might have more than one.

Subject: HVP Ostara 3/15 11:00am (State College, PA)

Hemlock Vales Protogrove, ADF will be holding an Ostara rite at
11:00am on Saturday, March 15th. It will be in Room 1 at the
Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship of Centre County, in State College.
There is a map with arrows at — note
that they are off the traffic circle at the end of Waupelani Dr.

Web page: [Edit: defunct website]
Phone number: Feel free to call me at 814-321-5521 with any questions
or last minute directions help.
Email to:

So, I wonder: good? bad? more info? less?


5 thoughts on “Announce

  1. I think it works, but some possible directions for editing that come to mind if you want to take it in different directions.

    1) What do you want the announcement to do?
    My usual assumption is that the goal is saying “We’re having this ritual, you’re welcome” and giving enough information for people to decide if they’re interested (and get there.)

    2) What’s the most important part?
    I notice in your announcement that a large part of your first paragraph (your chance to hook people) is directions – something not relevant unless people decide they want to come.

    If you want to make changes, I’d suggest either moving directions to the final paragraph, or just putting in a “Directions and more information at [website]”

    3) Why might people be interested?
    Your current ad is going to hook people who know what ADF is, and how it generally works, and who might be interested in that – but it’s probably not going to get people who don’t know those things (but who might well be interested.)

    If it were me, I’d have a sentence or two about the ritual focus in that first paragraph (right after the date/general location) – something like the “On this day we make offerings to the Goddess Ostara, the embodiment of the bright light at the dawn of the day and of the beginning of Spring.” line on the webpage. (Are you focusing solely on the offerings, or are you doing something else too?)

    I’d also maybe throw a note in about “For more about the ADF and our group, check out [webpage]” in there, but maybe not: it’s probably obvious from context.

  2. Jenett, thanks for the suggestions (Lupa, you got in second, but your summary is a good one of what Jenett said).

    The hook is an important question — I think this relates to why I get more attendance from the non-college list than the college list; on the non-college list, it’s the only thing getting posted regularly, whereas the college list there is a group also holding rites. So, locally, the hook is that there is a rite, which doesn’t draw out the college students because they have their own.

    I’ve had deeper explanations in past emails, though they tended to be split up in an FAQ-like style. Obvious from context isn’t always obvious to everyone, so it might be worth having those links. Obviously, for the email to the ADF-based announcement list, I might remove that part.

    In response to your question: offerings to Ostara are the main focus, but not the sole one; part of this is that ADF’s general cosmology is based around reciprocity, so mutual gift-giving is important, so there are a number of offerings made. In general, on High Days the rites I’ve done have taken the blessings in a general sense rather than directing the return flow to a specific end. I’ve done more complex things, both in terms of the return flow and in terms of the celebration in general, but have found they don’t always spark interest and/or sometimes turn out to be more trouble than I expect. (For example, dyeing our own eggs for offerings was a festive idea from my perspective, but boring for those who had decided they didn’t want to be involved in doing so for various reasons.)

  3. I organize ours like this:

    Who is doing the rite?

    What day (date) is it?

    When is it?

    Where is it (but not directions, yet)?

    What are we doing, what should you bring, and what other instructions might be needed?

    How do you get there?

    Who do you contact for more information about this announcement?

    See for what our announcements look like. Basically, they’re a copy/paste of the front page of the site. I keep the paragraphs short (to aid in the generally poor attention span of most internet readers: blocks of text are impossible to read for most people) and broken up with white-space between them.

    I send to the following locations:

    1) the Grove (because they can always use a reminder)

    2) the Grove announcement list

    3) the local Pagan Student Association

    4) the local papers (our SD actually takes care of that for me)

    5) ADF-Heartland (sometimes)

    6) WitchVox (usually, but mostly for the “big” ones)

    I used to also have a list of individual people to send announcements to, but it’s really rare that I send to that anymore. It just became more and more crowded with emails that bounced and people who never came, and everyone else was on the Announce list.

  4. I’ve written a variety of versions of the announcements now, among those I’ve tried out pointedly focusing on the personal attention of ‘inviting’ to start with. I suppose ones’ geographical and cultural area may also be something to consider while doing this; for example, would a person wear a tuxedo to a casual backyard tee and shorts bbq? It might stick out, and getting the attention of folks is a good thing, but if too far afield might not fit or feel right, so folks would scan on past the announcement with a short (again the attention span), but fleeting thought and then move on.

    But the primary point I mean to make is in giving the feel that you are talking directly to the reader. So from one extreme to another, someone might view it sounding a bit like too much starch in the collar, but:

    “You’re invited to celebrate with us to honor (Deity/ies) on (High Day) with our praise offering gifts of: (example offering); who we will call upon to share in blessings at this rite, (date & time), at (location and contact info, including a link for directions & map).

    *Additional information is available at: (Inside scoop to link to specifics, ie, any items and instructions, such as bring a folding chair and something to share for feast; a canned food donation is gladly accepted for a food bank our Grove/Protogrove, (grove name), as a service to the community.)

    *For the above paragraph, to create a ‘need to know’ further, heightened curiosity, if nothing else may be in using a catchy word, that’s not to far afield, but perhaps a trigger word to cause a click to the link to happen.

    Ensemble of detailed protocol, plus a convenient easy list for those lazy or busy readers who want to push on, with an additional convenient ‘click here for a printable copy of a memo slip.

    Blocked who, where, when, why, how, etc. For a really creative touch and if you have the know how, a printable invitation with a brief list.

    Naturally, we all try a variety of things. It would be interesting to know what types of responses, turn-outs, etc., for the array of versions used for these announcements.
    I personally think it would be great if there was a menu of templates available in an printable invitation format at the ADF site for GO’s and SD’s. This way both hard copies and online notices could be handled and of course the templates are what they are, fill-in-able :> I’m all about templates lately, I think. *with option to add a picture of decoration of a sort – while we’re at it.

    But honestly, I’ve found myself super pressed for time, as generally the only one doing all the necessary, and have shocked a load of folks with a super brief announcement with the needed stats only. As you can see, I am not concise, so they wonder if I’m having a mood when I do that. :>

    So, to add, while I’m here; I was extremely delighted to find this blog you’ve created.

    While just a simple notice, brief and basic is all that’s needed, just a little pazzaz that’s not too overflowing, and my own personal taste is to appeal to the reader in the first person, not too technical sounding by design.

    Wouldn’t it be great to set up a software for all that Grove Organizer’s need and donate that to the members side of Regalia! Sad my strengths are only ideas and not in computer design and programming in this case.

    Good luck and Be well,

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