3 Great Reasons to have a Personal Newsletter for Friends and Family

friendsandfamilyI’ve been using email to send out a newsletter to my friends and family for the past 11 years. The response has been fantastic and it’s made me a believer in taking the time to send word to your personal network on a regular basis. Here are my three top reasons that I think this makes sense.

1. You have a personal life and telling people that care about you what is going on for you leads to their having a greater understanding of your life, hopes and dreams.  Once friends and family know more about what you’re up to – they can get behind any effort you’re making.  For instance, I had an idea a couple years ago called Farm My Yard. It’s an effort to match up homeowners and urban farmers who live nearby. I’ve been mentioning this idea and dreaming it into existence for the past couple years, and now that it’s starting to take off the people I’ve told are some of the effort’s greatest boosters.  And, of course, Farm My Yard has a newsletter sign up form on the website 🙂

2. The feedback. We all want to know how we’re doing. When I send my newsletter out, I always ask for feedback. Over the years it feels like people take turns writing back with their thoughts, suggestions and mentions of how they might be facing the same challenges and their solutions for making their way through.  Sometimes it’s just an “atta boy”, but some friends have deepened our relationship by sharing their thinking and real offers of help.

3. Referrals.  By telling my friends and family what I’m up to in my business life, they then know something of how I make a living – teaching email marketing, social media and helping small businesses boost their marketing efforts. I have become known in my personal world as THE guy who does that. This has led to friends referring their friends who need business support. I generally don’t ask my friends and family directly for support, but their knowledge of my business helps me in various ways. For instance, when we come together for various gatherings, the conversations often start at a greater depth because they’ve been following my life and are somewhat caught up with my progress. Instead of “what’s new“, the conversations more often start with “hey, I remember you mentioning that you lead street tree planting efforts” – any idea of how we can get that going in my neck of the woods?”

As with any email newsletter, you want to follow the basic rules of thumb – keeping the newsletter brief; having a great subject line; putting the call to action towards the top; and using graphics and links sparingly.  If you invite your friends and family to write back about what has moved them about what you’ve written, they often will – and, I promise, this feedback will be interesting and possibly useful.

If you ever need encouragement on trying this out, feel free to get in touch. If you’d like to receive my friends & family monthly email (The Eleven), you can sign up for it here.

You can do this, and I truly believe it will lead to great things!

Tree Planting Success 2012


We had a great tree planting in Irvington, Sabin, Grant Park, and Alameda neighborhoods last weekend (March 10, 2012). thanks are in order! Here are some of the folks we want to thank!

  1. Friends of Trees Staff – esp. Jesse Batty and Erica Timm – for leading the charge and making the event go so smoothly.
  2. Eric McClelland and Marai Boamod – who drove the rental truck to Molalla and back and picked up our trees!
  3. To our fabulous local businesses who donated food and drink for the breakast and lunches: Whole Foods, Helen Bernhard Bakery, Costello’s Travel Caffe, Caffe D’arte, Peet’s Coffee on NE Broadway, Kettleman’s Bagels
  4. To the Holladay Park Church of God which has housed the event 2 years in a row. thank you!
  5. To our 150 volunteers who gather early on a Saturday morning and head out into the day and planted the trees – thanks for your labor and generous spirit!
  6. To neighbors who made food and donated food – the soups and chilis and stews were delicious, thank you!
  7. To Holli Talkington who photographed our day!
  8. The members of the band: Ten Spiders – we loved your music! Ten Spiders is available for hire – a great addition to just about any occation.
  9. To Alan Rahi and his partner Mira Eng-Goetz for designing and printing over 150 shirts for us! If you didn’t pick yours up it is probably waiting for you at the Friends of Trees office.
  10. To my fellow neighborhood coordinators: Lisa, Malcha, and Neil, who do a lot of behind the scenes work to make the planting go well – esp. including picking up the food donations and calling in utility locations.

I’m sure there are more people to thank, please feel free to add them into the comment section.  And, I’ll add more pictures here as they come in!  Thanks everyone for your help in adding to Portland’s canopy.

This year’s planting featured the volunteer effort of many young people.  I’ve never seen that many young people volunteering together before – it was impressive. Some day I hope that these young people will come back and visit the trees they planted and smile.

Irvington Friends of Trees 2012 Planting – March 10th!

Friends of Trees

Our planting day is Saturday March 10, 2012 and we’ll again be hosted by the Holladay Park Church of God at Tillamook and 21st Ave NE. starting at 8:30AM.  We are looking for volunteers to plant trees and donations of delicious food for our work crews.  If you’d like more information or would like to volunteer, please contact me at albertkaufman@gmail.com

T-shirts! This year we’ve hired a designer, Alan Rahi, who has made a special image just for this planting and we’ll be silk-screening at the event. Bring your t-shirts and canvas/cloth shopping bags and put a tree on it! Also, during lunchtime music will be performed by local artists, Ten Spiders.


For a variety of reasons I am encouraging people to plant fruit and nut trees in their yards and planting strips. This will increase the amount of food we’re providing for ourselves and other species and bring our community together as we harvest food with and for one another. Visit the Portland Fruit Tree Project‘s website for more information.

This year the City of Portland is offering a treebate to those who qualify.  Find out more at http://pdx.be/treebate

Thanks to everyone who volunteered for our fantastic Irvington tree planting last March in 2011. Between us and the other 3 nearby neighborhoods we planted 212 trees. I mention this because for anyone wanting to join us in our next planting, the time to order trees is now and the website to order from is: https://friendsoftrees.org/order-street-and-yard-trees

Happy Winter moving into Spring,

Your canopy-loving Friends of Trees neigborhood coordinator for Irvington, Portland, Oregon, United States, Earth:  Albert Kaufman

Irvington Tree Planting – March 12, 2011

Tree planting 3.12.11 Irvington, Portland, Oregon, USA!

We had a great day planting trees with Friends of Trees on Saturday, March 13th. Starting with our breakfast at the Holladay Park Church early in the morning through a delicious lunch held after the planting – supplied by residents of the Irvington, Grant, Sabin and Alameda neighborhoods.

I want to thank the following people and businesses for their support in our efforts.

Friends of Trees – especially Jesse Batty and Erica Timm who led the day of planting

The neighborhood coordinators for each neighborhood

Neil Davidson – Alameda
Lisa Johnston-Smith – Sabin
Angela Gusa – Grant Park
Albert Kaufman – Irvington

Holladay Park Church – our wonderful host!
Helen Bernhard Bakery – baked goods
Caffee D’arte – Coffee
Starbucks on 15th & B’way – Coffee and more Coffee
Grand Central Bakery – pastries, yum
Costello’s Travel Caffee – pastries, more yum!
Penske Trucks – truck donation
Eric McClelland – Treeform Woodwork – drove to Boring and back to pick up our trees
City of Portland – Bureau of Environmental Services – a huge hand in many ways
Backyard Bird Shop – our main sponsors!

I could write a novella about the task of being a neighborhood coordinator for this event. It’s full of contacting neighbors, reaching out to businesses and interacting with the great staff at Friends of Trees. And, I enjoyed the fun of planting trees even more. Working with great crew leader, Karen, and crew assistant, David, we walked in a 5 block circle and planted 11 trees in 3 hours. This involved pulling the trees out of the truck, unwrapping each, making sure holes were the right size, involving homeowners and their kids, filling the holes in with dirt, and watering and staking them.

It was a rainy day, but our spirits were high. And when we returned to the basecamp, there were all of the other volunteers and crew leaders sitting down to a well-deserved bountiful lunch of soups, chilis, stews, bread, salads and deserts. It was a great time to swap stories, share smiles, and make some new friends beyond the crew that you’d been assigned to.

All in all, I’d say the day was a complete success. We planted 182 trees together and another 30 were planted the following Monday, bringing us to a grand addition of 212 trees for our 4 neighborhoods. These trees will add to the canopy of our neighborhoods – help reduce the amount of water going into the stormwater drains, shade us in the summer, provide us fruit and nuts, look beautiful, increase property values, and increase the safety of our neighborhoods.

If you didn’t get a chance to join us, please consider volunteering with Friends of Trees and see what fun it can be to plant trees in Portland. Also, Friends of Trees is a membership organization and I encourage you to become a member today. They do great work that makes our City more livable and our lives healthier and happier.

friends of trees

One happy tree planter!