A community newsletter is a great way to connect with homeowners in your HOA. It lets them know about important events, refreshes their memory about rules that might have been forgotten, and helps bring the members of the HOA into closer community. There's just one problem: in order to have that great impact, your newsletter has to get read! If you want to prepare an HOA community newsletter that homeowners actually read, make sure you're following these tips.
Tip #1: Write Unique Content
Your homeowners live in a unique area filled with many unique activities. You have weather conditions that are unique to your area and traditions that you've made your own. Let your newsletter reflect that unique content! You don't want to put out a newsletter that could be written by any HOA in the country or even in your state. Instead, aim to create content that is specific to your neighborhood.
Tip #2: Include News that Matters to Your Members
Did a family in your community just have a new baby? Is someone getting married? Did one of your members recently win a prize or achieve something incredible? All of these things are news--and all of them can be included in your newsletter. When you make your newsletter personal to the members of your community, they're more likely to read it to help them learn all about one another.
Tip #3: Enhance the Online Version
One of the easiest ways to spread your newsletter is online. It's easily accessible to every member of the community and you don't have to worry about printing extra copies! An added bonus to the online version of the newsletter is that it's easy to add extra content that's beneficial to your members--for example, links to forms and documents that you're asked to print on a regular basis.
Tip #4: Include Opinions
Your HOA newsletter shouldn't just be a vehicle for expressing board members' opinions on issues throughout the community. Instead, make sure that you're including representations of differing opinions. Take the time to include letters to the editor or allow interested community members to include dissenting opinions in order to create an accurate representation of issues impacting your community.
Tip #5: Encourage Participation
When community members are able to participate in the process of writing the newsletter, they'll be more likely to read it, too! Encourage active participation throughout the community. Invite members to submit posts or articles on relevant, interesting topics. You'll quickly discover increased involvement!
Tip #6: Know Your Readers
If you know the members of your HOA, it can be easier to determine what type of content delivery system they'll prefer for a newsletter. For example, savvy young homeowners might prefer an email newsletter, while older communities may prefer hard copies. Even if you deliver your newsletter online, try printing a few copies to place in common areas for members to browse through when they're waiting on other activities to start.
What Not to Include
While there are no hard and fast rules about what to include in your newsletter, there are certain things that you shouldn't include if you want a newsletter that encourages community. These include:
- Items that will embarrass community members, from call-outs from another member to lists of individuals who are delinquent in their dues.
- Advertisements that aren't in line with your community guidelines. Advertising is a great way to increase revenue, but you should retain all control over community advertisements!
- Online forums that are ungoverned. Strict rules can help keep forums in check and ensure that they are beneficial to the community rather than being negative.
Keeping up with a newsletter can be a challenge, but it's also a great way to grow the sense of community within your HOA. As you take the steps to create a better newsletter, you'll discover that you're in a better position to interact with members of the community, share information, and provide them with a forum for finding out more about the community.