Most people read a magazine or a newspaper every day, looking for the news and events that shape their world. Like a daily paper or monthly magazine, building newsletters are more than just a source of timely information, current events and pertinent business matters; they can also help foster a better sense of community among residents. But a good newsletter is more than just a Xeroxed flyer or piece of unread junk mail; it takes thought to make it relevant and readable.
Whatever the circulation and frequency, "The purpose of the newsletter is to be the voice of the board," says Margaret Walsh, president of the Parkchester South Condominium in the Bronx. Within the newsletter's pages (in print or online - more about that later) are notices, news items and policy additions or changes that the board has made within the past few months. These items of business will affect the lifestyle and investments of many people, so it's crucial that the owners are informed of such events. The newsletter serves this purpose first and foremost.
That all sounds great, but who exactly produces the newsletter? According to Lloyd Chrein, a journalist, marketing expert and Web designer who has led both novice and veteran editors through the newsletter course offered by the Council of New York Cooperatives and Condominiums (CNYC) for over 12 years, "Responsibility for the newsletter usually settles on one person's shoulders, judging from the feedback that I get. Eight times out of ten, the people who have the job are board members or members of the communication committee. When they take the course, they're looking to make the job less daunting."
If you happen to be the person in charge of your building's newsletter, there is much you should consider when putting one together.
Newsletters vary in length, style and frequency depending on the size of the building on which they report. In New York, there are buildings with as few as nine shareholders and condo communities as large as Walsh's Parkchester South, which boasts a whopping 8,200 units.