The topic of communications is so broad that numerous subcategories of types of HOA communications deserve a closer look on their own. For this article, our focus will be on newsletters. Many of the letters and messages homeowners receive from their community association managers and board members, such as violation letters and delinquency letters, tend to skew negative. The newsletter format is a great opportunity to inject a bit of positivity and valuable information into the community conversation. Here are some things to consider to help make your newsletters more impactful:
Make it Nice
The design of your newsletter can determine how far your readers are willing to go down the page. It doesn’t have to be laden with images and colors to be eye-catching, but it should be consistent with the image of your community association. If your community has a logo, be sure to include it in the header of your newsletter. Don’t go crazy with fonts and colors; the hardest part about good design is knowing when to stop.
Consider adopting a style sheet or style guidelines so that all communications from the board have a distinctive look and feel. This can really pay off in making your association look more professional. There are many online resources if you want to adopt a template for your newsletter. A simple browser search will return some great options.
Make it Easy to Read
Look at any newspaper or magazine and you’ll notice headlines, section headings, bold or italicized fonts, and other creative ways to guide your eye through. Even without reading the newsletter in detail, your readers should know the basic content with a quick scan. Break the text up into separate content sections, stay on topic, and get to the point. Limited use of photos and graphics can help support your content for scanning eyes.
Make it Accurate
Don’t forget the main purpose of the newsletter. This forum is for disseminating important information to community members. Make sure the information you include is accurate and up to date. Avoid mistakes like using outdated bulk trash collection schedules or imprinting community news with your personal opinions or expositions. When citing resources such as the management company’s website, or the city’s online utility portal, it’s a good idea to test them out before distributing your newsletter.
Make it Positive
Remember that the newsletter is your chance to make a positive impression with community members. The tone used in conveying your content should be positive. There are always problems that need to be discussed, but don’t forget to place a greater focus on solutions; what is the board doing and what are you asking community members to do in addressing a collective problem? Be sure to tout accomplishments of the board and community since the last newsletter. It’s important for people to see where progress is being made to get their buy-in when it comes to future goals.
Make it Accessible
Whether you provide print copies of your newsletters or not, it is critical that you make copies available in an online forum. Set up a CommunityLink portal with eUnify and provide an online repository of newsletters and other important community documents. Homeowners who register for the portal can set up notifications so they are emailed automatically when a new newsletter or other content is added. CommunityLink is available as a mobile app, so homeowners can access newsletters, along with other community and personal account information, on their mobile devices. Paper copies may be important for some of your community members, but it’s always smart to keep an online resource to which you can direct homeowners. You put in a lot of time and effort with your newsletters, so don’t forget to memorialize them with an online CommunityLink portal.