An HOA newsletter can be an effective tool for communication and bringing residents in the community together. Many homeowners associations, though, don’t have newsletters or don’t know where to begin when making one. Here, you will understand why newsletters are important, how to write newsletters, and how often to distribute them.
What Is an HOA Newsletter?
A homeowners association newsletter is a report that contains news and updates relating to the activities and operations of a community. Newsletters are usually written by the HOA board or a newsletter committee and then distributed to the association’s members. In the past, printed newsletters were more common among HOAs. With the evolution of technology, though, most HOA newsletters nowadays are electronically made and distributed.
What Does an HOA Newsletter Do?
The purpose of a newsletter is to keep residents updated on any news that concerns the association. For instance, a newsletter may cover a recent event that took place in the community or share tips concerning fire safety in the summer.
Newsletters can cover a variety of topics, with some catering to more specific types of communities. For example, a condo association newsletter may include information about elevator maintenance, while a single-family community newsletter may include information about parking in driveways.
Newsletters can help instill a sense of community in an association. When residents know what’s happening in the neighborhood, they are more inclined to participate in events and become attached to the community. It is a way for the association to stay in touch with members, especially if the HOA is having trouble with attendance at meetings.
What Should Be Included in a Neighborhood Newsletter?
Newsletters come in a variety of shapes and forms. That said, there are some things that all associations should include in their HOA community newsletter. These include the following:
1. Date, issue, and volume number
These details will help everyone keep track of newsletters and minimize the chances of residents reading outdated news.
2. Summary or overview
Include a summary of what the newsletters contain will help set readers’ expectations.
3. A message from the HOA board or president
You can include a message from the board if anything important is worth sharing.
4. Board meeting updates
While you don’t need to include the minutes of the meeting, it is good to share a summary of recent board meetings.
5. Relevant local news or announcements
Your newsletter also allows you to share local news relevant to your association.
6. Tips and informative articles
The meat of the content comes from articles that provide helpful or informative insight. You may also want to publish more entertaining guides or posts that are still relevant to your HOA.
7. Rule reminders
If there are new rules or changes to old rules, your newsletter should cover them, too. You can also highlight existing rules that you’ve seen a number of violations for recently.
8. Upcoming events
Social events are a part of association living, and you can increase attendance and participation by advertising these events ahead of time in your newsletter.
Showing your appreciation for board and committee members is a great way to retain volunteers and attract new ones!
Remember to supplement your newsletters with photos to keep everyone interested and engaged.
11. Homeowner highlights
A section that shows off some of the community members’ accomplishments is a good way to boost morale!
12. Contact information
Always include the board’s contact information in your newsletter. This way, residents know how to contact board members if they have concerns. Alternatively, you can include the contact information of your HOA management company or manager.
When to Distribute HOA Newsletters
Homeowners associations can distribute newsletters according to a schedule. That schedule will depend on a few things. First, check your governing documents. Your bylaws and CC&Rs may require you to create and distribute newsletters regularly.
If your governing documents are silent, the HOA board or newsletter committee leaves the decision. Evaluate your needs and cycle. Larger communities usually need more frequent newsletters, while smaller communities may have trouble filling the newsletter with enough information to warrant a monthly issue.
In general, though, it is good to have a monthly newsletter. This way, your association can catch everyone up on the events and activities in the past month. It also gives you enough time to gather information and write content.
How Do I Write an HOA Newsletter?
In theory, newsletters are easy to grasp, but many associations struggle with execution. If you want to write your community association newsletters, here are some tips to remember.
1. Visual Appeal Is Important
If you want to increase readership, visual appeal is a primary consideration. Residents will not want to read your newsletter if it does not look attractive. Draw the eyes in with a great design that stays true to the personality of your community. Don’t be afraid to use color, but don’t overdo it either.
2. Keep It Focused and Reader-Friendly
Newsletters should be eye-catching but not to the point that it looks too busy. If too many things are going on on the page, readers might get overstimulated. Instead, keep the layout reader-friendly and focused. Make it easy for readers to scan every page.
3. Publish Accurate Information
The first rule of journalism is to get your facts right. Accuracy is the name of the game when it comes to HOA newsletters, so make sure to fact-check everything before hitting the publish button. Publishing inaccurate information can harm your association’s trustworthiness. It can also have other negative impacts, such as seeing a low turnout for an event because you mistakenly published the wrong date.
Similarly, remember to proofread everything before letting the issue run. You want to build a good reputation among members, and nothing screams “poorly written,” quite like misspellings and grammatical errors.
4. Keep It Positive
You might feel tempted to adopt a negative tone, especially regarding rule reminders and violations. Negativity, though, tends to scare readers away. Instead, keep things positive and professional. Make sure to use a constructive and encouraging tone of voice.
5. Use High-Quality Photos
If you’re publishing photos in your newsletter, make sure to use a high-quality resolution. Blurry photos are hard on the eyes and make it seem like your HOA didn’t put a lot of thought into the issue. The same principle applies to graphics.
HOA Newsletter Topics to Explore
Running out of HOA newsletter ideas is easy, especially if you publish frequently. Aside from the usual information — such as new rules, upcoming events, and meeting updates — there are other topics you can use for your next newsletter.
- How-to Articles. Write how-to guides that help homeowners with a variety of activities. For example, you can share an article explaining how owners can save energy in the summer or how they can wash their cars.
- Maintenance Advice. All owners need to maintain their homes, so maintenance advice is a good topic to explore. You can even tailor it according to the season. For instance, an article giving tips for winterizing sprinkler systems would make for great content in an HOA winter newsletter or even an HOA fall newsletter.
- Pet-Related Topics. If your community allows pets, show some love by exploring pet-related topics. You can provide tips for keeping pets cool during the hotter months or share some local veterinary clinics that offer free vaccinations.
- Health and Safety Reminders. You can also provide some relevant health and safety reminders to residents. If you’re unsure, don’t try to come up with them on your own. Instead, rely on trusted organizations and institutions, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
HOA Newsletter Template
Trouble getting started on your newsletter? Here is a sample HOA newsletter that you can download for free.
A Good Alternative
Some may argue that an HOA newsletter is an old-fashioned way of communicating with residents. And while newsletters were the norm back then, they don’t have to be left in the past. In fact, many communities today still use newsletters to disseminate information. You can put a modern spin on them by publishing e-newsletters instead of physical copies, which helps save on costs, too.
Elite Management Services provides expert HOA management services, including help with newsletters. Call us today at (855) 238-8488 or contact us online to learn more!
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