hoa newsletter

In the past, newsletters were a staple in HOA communities. As technologies evolved, though, they have largely dwindled in number, with associations choosing other forms of communication. But, an HOA newsletter still has plenty of advantages.


The Benefits of an HOA Newsletter

Communication is a key part of a successful planned community. But, many boards find it difficult to disseminate information effectively, particularly on a larger scale. This is where the homeowners association newsletter comes in.

The concept of a newsletter is nothing new. In fact, newsletters have been around for hundreds of years. Homeowners associations have used them for decades, as they are a good way to communicate with residents en masse. And, despite popular belief, newsletters are still very much relevant and popular.

If your HOA board is on the fence about using newsletters, here are the top benefits you can reap from them.


1. Make Announcements Conveniently

hoa newsletter ideasAnnouncements are a ubiquitous part of HOA living. Board members use announcements to inform residents of upcoming events, policy changes, and meetings. Provided they are published ahead of time, newsletters can be a valuable method of making these announcements.

Boards can simply dedicate a section of the newsletter to important announcements, and residents can easily flip to that page to learn about any new developments. Compared to posting announcements on bulletin boards, it is much easier to spread the word using newsletters because they get delivered straight to the reader.

Of course, keep in mind that newsletters are not substitutes for notices. Many things, such as HOA meetings and rule changes, still require proper written notice, depending on state law and the association’s bylaws.


2. Build Trust

Open communication builds trust — it’s as simple as that. When your HOA board communicates new policies effectively, owners are more inclined to put their faith in you. In comparison, a board that does not openly communicate with residents can appear shady or questionable at best. You want homeowners to know what’s going on in the community; nobody wants to feel left out.


3. Give Homeowners a Voice

homeowners association newsletterNewsletters give homeowners an opportunity to make their own announcements, too. You can allocate a section of the newsletter to resident announcements. Here, owners can submit posts about anything the association permits.

For instance, a resident may want to invite people to their birthday party, send out a birthday wish, or tell everyone about an upcoming yard sale. Just make sure to have an approval system in place for this to avoid liability.


4. Earn Extra Revenue from Advertisements

If your HOA is looking to earn added income, consider opening your newsletter to ads. Invite local vendors or organizations to advertise their business or event. This will, of course, require your board to come up with a fee schedule for ads.

It is best to only take advantage of advertisements if your HOA needs the added cash inflow. They might increase revenue, but ads can quickly grow out of your control. Some residents may not agree with the ads and even complain about them. And remember to make sure that the ads you allow align with your association’s values.


Printed vs Electronic HOA Newsletters

There is a general debate over what distribution method is better for newsletters. Some communities have shifted to electronic means, while others have stuck to the traditional printed versions. But, whether or not printed is better than electronic newsletters largely depends on your association.

Printed newsletters are a classic. They are nostalgic and give residents something tangible to hold onto. But, they can also be incredibly wasteful. In fact, in the past 40 years alone, the consumption of paper has increased by 400% worldwide. Even if you use recycled paper, it still costs 12,000 gallons of water per ton to create, which is about half the water requirement for virgin paper.

In contrast, e-newsletters don’t use paper at all. Because they are distributed electronically, you can save money on printing costs. They’re easy to disseminate, only requiring homeowners’ email addresses. Sometimes, you can even just post it on your association’s website or social media page.

That said, you should also consider your association’s population. If your age demographic skews older, then you might be better off using printed newsletters. Senior citizens, in particular, tend to prefer printed newsletters because they are not as tech-savvy.


Understanding the Basics: What to Include in Your HOA Newsletter

When crafting your own newsletter, it is essential to keep it short. Residents don’t want to read tens of pages of community news or information. Get rid of all the unnecessary information and go straight to the point. Keeping it at a maximum of three pages is a good idea.

If you have never created an HOA newsletter before, it’s best to create HOA newsletter templates you can use for every newsletter moving forward. Here are the things you should include in the homeowners newsletter:

  • how newsletter templateThe date, issue number, and volume number of the newsletter
  • A summary of the newsletter
  • A note from the board or HOA president
  • An FAQs section that tackles the most common concerns of residents
  • Events taking place inside and outside the association
  • News about residents
  • Contact information of the board, HOA manager, or newsletter committee


HOA Newsletter Article Ideas

Coming up with HOA newsletter ideas can be tricky. Apart from the usual sections in the HOA newsletter template, what else should you write about in your newsletter? Here are some sample HOA newsletter ideas and HOA newsletter examples to consider.


1. How-to Articles and Resident Tips

Homeowners will appreciate reading about various tips for home living or community maintenance. Consider writing a short how-to article for maintaining furniture, fixtures, or homeowner yards. You can also write about energy-saving tips or safety tips for homeowners.


2. Recent Event Summaries

If your HOA hosts events, consider summarizing what happened in a section of the newsletter. You can also interview participants to encourage the other residents to participate in future activities.


3. Upcoming Activities

The HOA newsletter is a wonderful avenue to let the community know about upcoming activities and events. Write about an upcoming music festival, community BBQ, or community block party. Make sure to include the date, time, meet-up point, and other important details.


4. Photos

No HOA newsletter is complete without photos of recent events or key figures. Make sure to take lots of photos of community block parties, local businesses, and other important news. You can even collect photos from community residents.

If you’re distributing an electronic newsletter, you can even include GIFs or videos in the email. This can capture the interest of more tech-savvy members and boost engagement.


5. Relevant Local News

Is there any local news relevant to the community? Consider writing a short article about the recent event to keep the members up-to-date.


6. Reminders and Policy Changes

Not all the residents will be able to attend every HOA meeting. Why not inform the absent members about recent policy changes to keep them in the loop? This can reduce the number of violations in the community and serve as a reminder for those who did attend.


7. Resident or Local Business Spotlights

To add a personal touch to the newsletter, consider adding a resident highlight section featuring one resident’s story or favorite quote. This can help the community feel connected and let residents get to know their neighbors.

The community can also highlight local businesses. This will help both local business owners and community members who might be interested in local shops, grocers, or even art galleries nearby!


How to Write an HOA Newsletter

Are you thinking of putting together an HOA newsletter? Here are some tips to keep in mind to create an engaging and informative newsletter.

  • Understand the Audience. Every community is unique and will have varying interests. Family-oriented communities might want to know more about safety tips for kids and back-to-school ideas. Meanwhile, communities made up of young adults might want to know more about local news and activities.
  • Involve Community Members. The HOA newsletter should represent your community. Consider involving some of them by asking for anecdotes, writing member profiles, or adding shout-outs. You can also invite interested members to contribute content.
  • Be Transparent. If community members are particularly curious about a topic involving the HOA, it’s a sign the board needs to address it. Consider clarifying the topic in the HOA newsletter and providing resources for further information. This promotes trust in the HOA and improves communication.
  • Keep it Accessible. Consider the community’s needs and what barriers may exist that hinder them from reading the newsletter. Are digital formats better? Should the HOA print the newsletter? Consider how you can make the HOA newsletter more accessible.
  • Carefully Balance Advertising. While ads help the community obtain more funds, it’s best not to litter the HOA newsletter with too many. The sections need to be readable and the content must be relevant. Otherwise, nobody will read the newsletter moving forward.
  • Brand the Newsletter. Branding is a vital part of creating an engaging newsletter. Make sure to include the HOA’s logo and associated colors. It’s also important to add the address and important contact information at the end.
  • Put Important News First. Important information, such as big community projects or impactful local news, must be front and center. Not everyone will read to the end.


Tips for Self-Managed Communities

Newsletters take time and effort to create. For self-managed communities, publishing a weekly HOA newsletter may not be realistic, both in terms of time and budget. Still, that should not stop your HOA board from taking advantage of this medium.

Online programs or software are a good place to start. You don’t have to hire an expensive designer to map out a newsletter for your association. There are plenty of websites that offer pre-made formats or a free HOA newsletter template that you can use. All you need to do is fill in the content.

More often than not, board members already have their hands full dealing with the operations of the community. Seeking additional help is never a bad thing. You may want to form a separate newsletter committee, with final approval coming from the board. Alternatively, many HOA management companies offer administrative services, including newsletter preparation and distribution.


Begin Your Newsletter Today

An HOA newsletter can be a highly effective tool for communication in a community. The only thing separating your board from an informative newsletter is the determination to start writing one. Of course, if you need help with your newsletter, an HOA management company like Clark Simson Miller is always a good choice.

Call Clark Simson Miller today at 865.315.7505 or contact us online to get a free estimate!