BlogMarketing 14 Tips for Writing Your HOA Newsletter (+ Free Template!) Marketing 14 Tips for Writing Your HOA Newsletter (+ Free Template!) Author: Sonia Urlando June 30, 2023 Contents 🕑 10 min read If you’re on the board of a homeowner’s association (HOA), you need a way to keep your community informed. A newsletter is a fantastic way to convey vital information to your membership—from what happened in the last board meeting to policies to local events! Whether you’re just starting your newsletter or seeking tips for boosting readership, read on for creative ideas for building an engaging newsletter that bears your community in mind. Why is Having a Great HOA Newsletter Important? Think of newsletters like a newspaper about your HOA! Whether electronic or print, newsletters offer your community important updates on what’s happening in their neighborhood and what your association is up to. An engaging newsletter enables your HOA to: address member concerns collectively and transparently easily spread the word about announcements, events and policies spotlight achievements and successes within your organization solicit regular feedback from membership and more! Newsletters help to put everyone on the same page—literally! Whether or not you use HOA software to organize your communications, a formalized and regular newsletter ensures your community knows where—and when—they’ll be getting updates on HOA activities. What Makes a Good HOA Newsletter? It’s one thing to take meeting minutes and post them to your HOA website. It’s another thing entirely to craft an engaging, easy-to-read news bulletin that invites member engagement! Try these 7 tips for a compelling newsletter that members are excited to read: Tip 1: Brand and structure your newsletter! Grab readers’ attention by making sure your newsletter uses your HOA’s branding and visual theme! If you have an HOA website, pull colors and decorations that your HOA that members will recognize and put them in your newsletters’ header and footer. Good structure is also important to a compelling newsletter. Remember, the point of the newsletter is to make it easy for your members to stay informed! Put the important information near the top of the newsletter and use headers to organize your updates clearly. Tip 2: Send consistently (but not too often!) Scheduling your newsletter releases ensures that members know when they can expect news from their association. On the flip side, you don’t want to clog their mailboxes with unnecessary updates or they may get newsletter fatigue! A good way to set a schedule might be to send out a newsletter within a week of your HOA’s monthly meetings. Alternatively, you may find that quarterly or annual updates are adequate for your organization. No matter your schedule, let your members know how often they can expect your updates. Not only does this set members’ expectations—it’ll keep you accountable. Tip 3: Keep your news relevant Writing a relevant newsletter doesn’t necessarily mean sticking to “just the facts”! Your newsletter can include community updates that don’t necessarily have to do with the board or the latest HOA policy meeting. Instead, staying relevant means writing about the most important topics to your membership. What does your community look to the HOA for information on? Your first and most important duty is to provide this information clearly and upfront. If there are topics you think your membership might enjoy but that don’t seem like the most relevant fit, one option is to give the topic a bullet point in the newsletter and link to your HOA website for members who want to know more. Tip 4: Answer community questions If you’ve heard from your community about problems or questions, a newsletter is a great place to address concerns—especially when you’ve received the same question a number of times. Publicly addressing concerns not only engages your members—it demonstrates their voices are heard and that their perspectives are valued. If you respond regularly to your community, you may open the door to more frequent feedback from your members. That’s important for an HOA! Tip 5: Spotlight your community Reflect the community you’re addressing back to them and watch engagement soar! Whether spotlighting board members, community members, or volunteers, these segments will help community members get to know each other. Looking for natural ways to involve members in this process? Invite them to submit suggestions for spotlight subjects, or establish a “shout out” section in every newsletter where members can publicly thank each other! Tip 6: Provide clear action steps If you’re soliciting feedback or otherwise looking for member engagement, your newsletter is the perfect place to circulate a call to action! Odds are that your membership wants to help but just doesn’t know how. Provide action steps in a clear, easy-to-follow format to let them know! Tip 7: Get creative! Whether with flashy themes, pictures or unusual formatting, adding a creative element to your newsletter is one quick way to grab attention. Not sure where to start? Check out other newsletters and take note of what makes them particularly interesting to look at or compelling to read. Then brainstorm according to your organization’s mission and priorities! Writing Your Community Newsletter: 7 More Tips When putting your newsletter together, your first big decision is what information to include. You may decide to put in your newsletter: Date / Issue number Announcements Upcoming events Policies / Changes to policy A message from your board Minutes from the last HOA meeting Future board meeting dates Reminders (maintenance, calls to action) Member news / spotlights Updates on HOA management company changes Now you might be asking, how do you put that information together into a newsletter? If you’re not sure where to start, check out these tips and resources to help you assemble your newsletter. Tip 1: Create your template (or use ours below!) Especially if you’re sending out your newsletter again and again, setting up a template you can reuse is a huge timesaver! A template works the same as an outline and helps you to simply plop in your news when the time comes. Not sure what a newsletter template looks like? Scroll down to download our own sample template! You can customize it for your own use, or just use it for inspiration when creating your own. Tip 2: Understand your audience Target your newsletter to the unique needs and interests of your community. Start by making a list of how you would describe your community. Are they older, mostly families? Does your community have any particular needs? Now tailor your newsletter based on those needs! For family-oriented communities, advertise kid-friendly events hosted in the neighborhood. Or if your community is seasonal, include house-closing tips or policy reminders at relevant times. Tip 3: Collect relevant and valuable content Remember, conveying important information is what your newsletter is for! Putting an issue together may involve asking board members for information, combing meeting minutes, soliciting your community for advice, and more. This said, what your community finds valuable and relevant may be different than what the HOA does. Photos of a recent event may not be relevant to your association, but it’ll drive reader engagement! Member-based interest pieces may not always be relevant, but they may be valuable. Tip 4: Include community members The best way to make sure your newsletter represents your community is… to represent your community members! This can take the form of member profiles, shout-outs, anecdotes, or simply inviting your members to contribute to the next newsletter. To start, think about what relevant content your members could send in, then put a call to action in your next newsletter. Even requesting that members send in their favorite jokes can go a long way toward fostering a sense of community. Tip 5: Promote transparency If you notice members are raising a lot of questions on a particular topic, that might be a sign that clearer communication is needed. Take advantage of the newsletter to create that clarity—and provide members with more resources if they’d like to know more. Remember, transparency is a two-way street! When you share with your membership, they may be more encouraged to share with you. Better communication helps everyone in the community work together! Tip 6: Make it accessible Asking yourself what barriers exist to reading your newsletter can be the start to reducing those barriers. For example, will your newsletter be digital or paper-based? Can your membership access one format better than the other? What are the limitations of your format? Some accessibility concerns may include: Location-based access. If your members are remote part of the time, a physical newsletter slipped into their local mailbox may not reach them in a timely fashion. Digital format. If you choose a PDF newsletter, you might want to include a rich text option for people with low vision. PDFs and screen readers don’t often mix! Paper format. Alternative formats for maximum accessibility may include braille, a rich-text version online, or even an audio recording. Color choice. Try to keep your background very light and your body text very dark. High-contrast color choices are easier to read! Font size. 12-point font is classic for a reason! Don’t worry about adding more pages to your newsletter if it means keeping your text legible. Writing style. A formal style or high density of rare words can create barriers of a different kind. Keep your style casual, friendly, and relatively simple to make reading your newsletter quick and easy. Tip 7: Connect to your website or resource hub A key aspect of transparency is making sure your members have access to important information—ideally in more than one place. That’s why an HOA website can be so important. Websites offer more information and flexibility than a newsletter on its own. Your HOA website may be the best place to host meeting minutes, policy information, places for easy community engagement, archives, and extra information that doesn’t seem to fit in your newsletter. Your website can also expand on anything you include in your newsletter. Your newsletter and website can work together to provide your members with full information and promote transparency. Think of your website as the archive informing your snappy newsletter! HOA Newsletter Template Not sure what you want your HOA newsletter to look like? Download our FREE community newsletter template to give you some ideas and help you get started: Creative Ideas for Your HOA Newsletter A creative touch can make the difference between a mere informational update and the kind of newsletter your members are excited and eager to read. Check out these ideas for how to add a bit of flair to your news bulletin. 1. Collect quotes, anecdotes, pictures, or videos from neighbors Did the neighborhood recently host a block party? Has the community made a local raven their mascot? Did Minnesota Joe say something particularly memorable or heartwarming? Include “community interest” content—in whatever media form it takes! To collect this content, solicit submissions from community members. If you’re not quite getting the response you’d hoped, consider appointing a particularly curious community member as a “reporter” to get the ball rolling. 2. Local business spotlights Foster a sense of shared community by telling members about local businesses they might care to support. Whether a curio shop, an independent grocer, or a local art gallery, community members and business owners alike are sure to appreciate the coverage! 3. DIY tips for taking care of the neighborhood Get neighbors involved with community care by including tips or calls to action for taking care of their own environment. Not only does it encourage community togetherness, it may even help curate the aesthetic standards of the neighborhood. Ideas include pulling invasive weeds, collecting trash, or painting fences. Don’t be afraid to get creative! Asking neighbors to power wash their sidewalks might go over a lot better if you hand out chalk and judge a sidewalk art contest, too. 4. Activities around the neighborhood Let people know about the forthcoming music festival, or organize a meet-up to attend the festival together. You could even host your own event, like an HOA-hosted block party or holiday lights event. Our Favorite HOA Newsletter Examples Looking for more ideas on what your HOA newsletter could look like? Check out these great examples of actual HOA newsletters and get brainstorming. 1. Summerlakes HOA Illinois-based Summerlakes is a family-oriented community. The HOA sends out a newsletter at the start of every month, mainly by email. What We Like: Multiple formats. This digital newsletter is sent monthly to members’ emails; however, they also host an up-to-date newsletter archive on their website. They invite members to pick up a physical copy in the HOA clubhouse if preferred. Multiple formats are multiply accessible! Concerns community members of all ages. One newsletter notes that 11-year-olds can now use the pool unsupervised, advertises summer jobs for 16-year-old prospective lifeguards, and notifies parents of toxic weeds. Monthly events calendar visual. Not only are forthcoming events listed in textual format—this HOA also includes the helpful visual of a calendar for the month. Included on the calendar are HOA meetings, recurring events, and holidays. 2. Vista Lakes HOA Florida-based Vista Lakes is a 2,200+ home family-based community. They send out quarterly newsletters by email. What We Like: Community shout-outs. This newsletter recognizes HOA volunteers for National Volunteer Day, celebrating specific subcommittees and thanking them for their help. Individual community members are also shouted out, including local first-grade teachers. Columns are community-sourced—with author photos. These great HOA newsletter article ideas are mostly written community members. Not only that, but their photos are prominently shown! This gives recognition to contributors and encourages community familiarity. Community event photos. In the newsletter after a community Easter Egg hunt, this HOA sent out photos of community members enjoying the event. Not only is this great memorabilia, it encourages members to read the newsletter to the end! Varied, creative content. This newsletter has everything—from regulatory updates to gardening tips to “Yard of the Quarter” contest winners. There’s something for everyone! 3. Crawford Farms HOA Crawford Farms in Texas is a family-oriented community of more than 1,000 homes. It offers its newsletter monthly in digital format. What We Like: Leads with important info. This includes member information, like resident portal login links and policy guidelines, as well as reminders for forthcoming financial assessments on the first two pages. Eye-catching images and graphics. This newsletter breaks up walls of text with regular graphics—and pictures of the community—to draw the eye. Gets the community involved. To encourage members to learn the community’s gardening guidelines and encourage neighbourhood togetherness, this newsletter advertises a community gardening event. Final Thoughts No matter the size of your community, what your HOA needs to cover, or who you serve, a newsletter is a fantastic way to keep your membership apprised of changes, events, and celebrations in the community. Now you can send vital information out with style. We hope these tips have helped with the brainstorming of a fun, transparent, and informative newsletter! 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