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Communication in your homeowner association

By Richard Thompson

Communication is essential for the harmony of your homeowner association. Do you have a regular newsletter that is informative and timely? Is it worth reading? More often then not, most newsletters are “throwaways”. It doesn’t need to be that way. With a bit of imagination, they could be both informative and fun to read.

First, what kinds of “boilerplate” information ought to be included?

  • Names of board members
  • Manager contact information
  • Current Income & Expense Statement
  • Committee Reports
  • Special Upcoming Projects
  • Selective rule reminders
  • Event Calendar

Another extremely important ingredient in a readable newsletter is the layout and design. There are many software programs available with standardized templates included. Microsoft Publisher is inexpensive and user friendly. There are others more or less complicated depending on your computer sophistication. Here are some of the basics to keep in mind:

Design & Layout

  • Design should be attractive, inviting and distinctive.
  • Consistent look. Choose a simple format and stick with it.
  • Use headlines and sub-headings. It’s easier to read.
  • Avoid continuing articles on another page whenever possible.
  • Title page should describe the content and publisher.
  • Make the title distinctive.
  • Use only standard typefaces like Times Roman, Arial and Helvetica.
  • Use italics sparingly.
  • Body text should be 10 or 11 point. Main headlines should be 18 – 24 point and sub-headings should be 14 point.
  • Use bold type or italics to highlight names and important details. Underlining text these days indicates a hyperlink to an internet site or email address. If that’s your intent, go for it.
  • Avoid using ALL CAPS.
  • Use graphics and clipart.
  • Use text boxes sparingly to reduce clutter.