The Astronomical League CORrespondent (ALCor)

For rosters, Society-membership questions, or further information about ALCors or this page, contact Mitch Glaze by email.
For information about submitting rosters to the League, see our sample rosters.
Who is the ALCor?

A person in your society who has been selected to serve as official contact person between the AL and your group. As such, you act as an officer of the League, and are responsible for making sure a good working relationship exists between your organization and the Astronomical League.

How is the ALCor chosen?

Any way your organization likes. But it usually works best for the ALCor to be the person who handles your club’s data base, so the League can easily be kept up-to-date. Since we ask for electronic computer files, the person needs to have a computer and be able to connect to the Internet. The ALCor must be a conscientious person familiar with organization activities, who attends meetings regularly, and will relay information to your organization about the AL, and information about your society to the League.
What if our organization does not have an ALCor right now?
League materials will instead be sent to the organization’s president or other designated official who serves as temporary ALCor until the AL is notified of the new ALCor.

What does the ALCor do?

First, the ALCor is the contact person between your organization and the League. The ALCor is responsible for sending in roster updates, either quarterly or as they occur. Along with your organization’s president, the ALCor serves as your organization’s representative on the Regional Council. If the ALCor is not able to attend the regional convention, your organization may appoint an alternate and send him/her with a proxy letter. At the regional conventions, other groups from neighboring states not only plan future regional conventions but also other activities and joint programs. As your organization’s ALCor, you need to be in contact with your regional representative to forward nominations, suggestions, or other proposals. As an AL Council member, your representative is obligated to consider the voice of ALCors and their organizations in your region.

How can the ALCor help communications between the AL and your organization?

First, the ALCor should periodically update the mailing list used by the AL to send out the Reflector quarterly. If your organization has not updated this list in the last few months, you can request an electronic file (spreadsheet) from the National Office.You can make changes, deletions, additions, and update officer listings on this spreadsheet, then email it back to the National Office. You should make a periodic report of League activities to your society membership and officers. This should be done at least twice a year, first in time to vote for national officers and other issues before the national convention, then later to report on election of officers and other issues at ALCON. ALCors should also report on activities at the regional conventions. This information should also be included in your organization’s newsletter, for members who missed the meetings.
You will occasionally receive mailings from the League, and we ask that you please distribute these to the appropriate officers. The AL tries to make programs and other materials available to assist your organization, and you are the key person in passing this information on to those who can best use it. You can also assist all organization members by serving as a source of information about our many services. If you are no longer ALCor for any reason, please pass all ALCor files along to your successor. Include a note in your files as well indicating where the files should be forwarded if needed, and advise the National Office of this change.

After your annual elections, please be sure to advise us of your new officers. This information can be up-dated on the quarterly spreadsheet that you send to the National Office.. Should your organization encounter any problem pertaining to the League, or have an idea for which the Astronomical League might be of assistance, please contact the AL National Office at the address or telephone number on the contact page . If she can’t help you, she will get you in touch with the AL officer who is best qualified to serve you and your organization.

How does the ALCor report membership changes to the National Office ?

As members join, leave, and change their addresses, you must let the National Office know each member’s current information. This is necessary, since the Reflector is mailed at a bulk rate, so copies that cannot be delivered are not forwarded. If the address is wrong, they post office throws them out. We must have your member’s correct addresses or they will not receive their Reflectors.
The National Office can accept your changes at any time you care to send them, but you may want to coordinate your updates with the mailing of the Reflector, which is on a strict schedule of being mailed in the first week of the publication month. To keep to this schedule, we have to send in the database to the printer around the middle of the previous month. This means that to get your updates in before the next Reflector, they must be in our hands by the first week of January, April, July, and October. If you miss these dates, new members will not get their first Reflector for an additional three months.

Please keep in mind that if you have additional members join your club during the year, we want you to add them to the roster you send us. You are not charged any additional dues for these members. (Nor do we give refunds for any members that may drop out of your club during the year.) The accounting for this just would be horrific, so we just ask for dues to be paid once each year (due on July 1) for the members you have at that time. However, if your club is growing fast, and you are adding numerous new members, we might appreciate some additional dues. Please contact the National Office if you have a question regarding this.
To Send your roster:

Please take a look in the next section below for sample rosters of what your roster should look like.

If you have any questions about submitting rosters or the needed roster format, please send us an email.
Please help us help your Society and your members!  Consider that there are nearly 300 AL Societies all sending in rosters!  As such, we need to have rosters sent to us in a specific format.  This helps us to smoothly process all rosters efficiently and greatly reduces mistakes made from reformatting rosters that are not in AL format.

The preferred format to use is an MS Excel spreadsheet. We can also work with Open Office “Calc”, Quattro Pro, and .csv files (Comma Separated Values).  In all cases, the data should be arranged in columns, with the following headings:

SALUTATION (if wanted – if not, leave blank or don’t use);
ADDRESS_1 (used for additional family members or extra long addresses, i.e. colleges, building or lot numbers);
ADDRESS_2 (this is the main street address or Post Office Box);
COUNTRY (only if needed);
TELEPHONE (required for officers, with the area code, please.);
ALCOR (put an “AL” in the row of the ALCor’s name);
PRESIDENT (put a “PR” in the President’s row);
TREASURER (put a “TR” in the Treasurer’s row);
OTHER (indicate any other officers you would like us to know about in this column);
NO_Advertising (disallows VERY LIMITED sharing of info only WITHIN the AL (info is never shared or sold to anyone outside the AL);


Sample Rosters with instructions:

Here are sample rosters you can download in a few formats.  These include the needed column heading and formats, as well as samples and instructions.  If you need a format that is not listed, please email us.
Sample roster format in Excel
Sample roster format in text file (Comma Separated Values, .csv)
Sample roster format in Open Office

A note about the “No_Advertising” column:

We take your members’ privacy seriously.  We don’t sell or distribute your members information outside of the League at all.  At the same time, the League is a community.  It was founded on the idea of bringing astronomers together through conventions, meetings, star parties, gatherings, and, communication.  As part of that community, the League assists its own members, societies, and regional groups with the sharing of information relative to the League and its members.  So, while we never share any member’s information outside of the League, we do make it possible to share information to relevant groups within the League (and only within the League).  The most common reason for this is the promotion of AL Society Star Parties, but it can also be for AL Regional Conventions/Meetings, and other astronomy related events hosted by AL Societies and members.  In days past, this would often be mailing addresses, but in recent decades this have given way to email communication only.  So, members emails may be distributed on a limited basis for the sole purpose of promoting only AL member or Society hosted astronomy events, typically limited to a reasonable geographic area near those members.  A typical request we get for email addresses would be to advertise a National or Regional Convention, or perhaps a regional star party hosted by a League club or region.  This would only be given to another League club or a League Region that has a legitimate astronomy-related reason to contact you and your members.

If some of your members do not wish their email address to be shared ONLY within the League in this limited fashion, then your Society’s “roster person” should then put an “X” on those person’s line on their roster under the “No-Advertising” column.

We urge you to use this judiciously (and not just “X” every body out).  Keep in mind one of the great things the Astronomical League brings to your Society is the sense of community that we are founded on.  This only works if the majority of people participate.

A note about telephone numbers:

We never give out phone numbers.  They are used for internal League communications only, and then typically only as a back up means of communication.  We always try to communicate with our member-Societies by email.  But, as you know within your own club, emails change.  When those changes don’t get reported to the League, then we can be in a tough spot trying to contact one of our member-Societies.  As such, we require phone numbers to be reported to us on all rosters submitted, for at least your primary officers (Alcor, President, Treasurer, Secretary, membership person, roster person, Vice President, and other important officers in your organization).

Who is to be considered a member of our society for reporting purposes?

While it is obvious that an individual member should be reported so we can send the Reflector to him or her, many groups have family memberships, associate memberships, honorary memberships and so on. We are only interested in those who are supposed to be getting the Reflector, not in the list of your entire membership. This means that if you have a family membership where, for example, one copy of your newsletter is mailed to the entire household, then you should report that household to us as a single member. Associate members, such as spouses or live-in children, should not be reported to us separately, unless they also have separate individual memberships.

The implication of this is twofold. First, you are paying dues based on the number of Reflectors that get mailed to your members. If your dues structure does not have your member paying for your newsletter, you should not have them paying for the Reflector. The second implication is that if a member is paying for your newsletter, they should be paying for the Reflector. If your society considers a member important enough to receive your newsletter we consider that member important enough to receive our newsletter, the Reflector.

Further Reading…

Read the ALCor Information Home Page;

Read the Astronomical League Bylaws and Standing Resolutions

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