Every neighborhood, HOA (homeowners association), and community organization seems to need a fresh stock of bright winter newsletter ideas every year. Although those of you who edit e-mail blasts and posts on various social platforms no doubt are resourceful, creative, and smart, everyone can use a few new thought starters. Below we have listed nine worthwhile themes you can develop to fit your own situation.
1. This is prime time for reviews of the past year and previews of the coming year. Make yours a little classier by avoiding just a long list of stuff you did as an organization this past year. Talk about the difference it made in people's lives, the appearance of your neighborhood, the functioning of your subdivision, or the perceptions of the children, older adults, and local businesses. Taking some time to find and tell the human interest story is far more engaging than a laundry list of what happened every month of the year.
Especially in brief social media posts, take a risk and talk about the positive side of some negative event you experienced together. Conversely, a message about not becoming complacent can be helpful if your year was extraordinarily successful.
Assume that your reader has some knowledge of what happened this year, but feel free to remind folks of the details of all but the most highly publicized events. Aim some of your communication to people who don't live in your community, and take the opportunity to enhance your reputation as a great place to live.
If you want to talk about how exciting next year will be, offer new information or a sneak preview of what is about to occur. Yes, it is important to repeat, repeat again, and repeat information a third time, but on the other hand, for those who are already well aware of your message, explain something additional or request specific types of volunteers.
Find some new photos that have not been circulated before. If you can't, maybe you can make a little video by stringing those photos together in a new way.
In the midst of this list, we can't help but remind you to zero in on what makes your place unique. Our list is necessarily general, but your community is not identical to any other, so be sure to look for widely unappreciated aspects of your own place's character.
So we continue with more winter newsletter ideas to get you started.
2. If winter holidays are part of the tradition of many households where you live, your winter newsletter can suggest ways to celebrate in a new way. Perhaps you can suggest gifts for the community rather than simply your family and best friend or two. Kindness, fairness, welcoming the stranger, and creating equity among groups are always appropriate, so suggest a few ways that community members might share resources with disadvantaged individuals or groups, make common cause with a group that you usually are at odds with, and develop opportunities for greater interpersonal and inter-group understanding and empathy.
If your community is part of perpetuating verbal or visual representations of a faceless enemy, think carefully about how the holiday spirit might shine through if you decided to call a truce and find something to appreciate about the "other," the out group. Human beings seem to always strive to make their own group better than some other group, but you can be bigger than that.
You could create a series of tweets or other posts giving insight into the history, culture, and perspectives of some person or group that you disagree with. Don't be part of the polarization, but choose to be part of the solution.
3. In places where winter weather can be severe, weather-appropriate suggestions for home maintenance, landscape maintenance, and safety should be part of every winter's communications strategy. However, you can make this fresh. Tell a story about what happened last year when a couple figured out how to remedy the problem of ice dams building up at the edge of their roof. Explain how Tom overcame the weekly disappearance of the kids' mittens at his house. Show photos of how a neighbor trimmed his trees to avoid common winter challenges.
Suddenly instead of a dry recitation of things you should do and not do to prepare for and survive the winter, you have an interesting example of something that actually happened in your own neighborhood.
Yes, you may want to interview some experts to find answers to typical dilemmas, but don't let that keep you from adding the human interest dimension to that same story.
4. Winter will mark the middle of the school year in many locations. It is time to describe ways to volunteer in your local schools, tell the stories of especially talented teachers or lunchroom cooks, or highlight an interesting class project. Review some children's books of local significance, which might include historic, literary, or musical figures from your home town. Suggest activities for curious young minds. Point out groups and activities available to children in your community.
Interviewing children and teens about their perceptions of the community and its needs is often entertaining, and sometimes especially insightful. If you have a "hot button issue," ask the kids what they think about it. This is appropriate for a community of any size and character, and often results in great winter newsletter articles.
5. If you live where there are deciduous trees that shed their leaves in winter, make a long list of suggested things that residents could observe when they go for a walk. Suddenly people become more aware of topography and rooftops when the softening effect of the foliage falls away. Maybe you should start an annual winter photography competition. You could receive some especially dramatic entries if you live where snow and ice often alter the landscape, but looking at our neighborhoods in a different season is often instructive, regardless of where you live.
6. Urge observance of World Kindness Day on November 13. This idea is catching on in many countries. Give some concrete examples of acts of kindness that would be especially welcome in and relevant to your own community, or even call our some kind interactions you have witnessed on your sidewalks and in your shops recently.
7. Take the hint from harvest celebrations around the world by offering thanks to the many people, organizations, and institutions that have made your particular subdivision, village, town, or city a better place. Yes, celebrate and thank the obvious heroes, but make a deep scan of the individuals who have donated time and resources to the past or current success of your community. Thank elected officials, government staff members, private utility or other service providers, home builders, employers, and restaurant workers in a public way in your newsletter. Even thank legislators and corporations who may not know who you are, but whose efforts have made a positive impact on the place you call home.
8. Educating residents about causes and effects in community work is always appropriate, but if people stay indoors more during the winter where you live, take the opportunity to write some longer articles about why local plants might be closing their doors, how the region-wide market for housing is impacting home values, how the agility of your community college in providing relevant job training is affecting your city's economic future, or why adding another two lanes of traffic to an important local roadway is only a short-lived solution to traffic congestion.
If you need ideas, browse this website to find topics relevant to your situation. As a hint, on our sitemap page, we include links to downloadable lists of pages appropriate for different sizes of cities and various community development interests.
9. If winter is depressing for a lot of people in your community, either due to temperature or less sunlight, call attention to one or many places or experiences in your community that might provide a few hours of temporary relief. If the outlook for your neighborhood, city, or even country is looking grim right now, take the opportunity to review the basics of asset-based community development in your newsletter and suggest an attitude shift from dwelling on our problems to appreciating and building on our assets.
Lastly, of course our pages about newsletter ideas for spring, summer, and autumn also might be a springboard to the right thought for you as you plan your e-mail newsletter, printed newsletter, or social media posts for this winter. The overview article on newsletters linked below also will be useful to many, especially if you are a new editor.