Creating a family newsletter

By Barbara Spector

Family newsletters can be an effective way of strengthening connections between family meetings. Whether they’re delivered electronically or in print, these communications keep attention focused on the extended family and its shared enterprise.

Here are some suggestions to help you get started:

Tap your family talent. Your newsletter will most effectively enhance family cohesion if family members are the ones who create it. Who in your family has a talent and a passion for writing, editing and graphic design? Do you have illustrators and photographers who can contribute? Can anyone create a cartoon or a puzzle? Can the keeper of the family recipes write a food column?

Pay attention to the look. Spend the time and, if needed, the money to produce a publication with a professional feel. Few people want to read a long, unillustrated Word document , a sloppily designed piece or something that’s full of typos. Include a mix of longer and shorter features. The more images you can include, the better. Can you create (or hire someone to create) a logo to personalize the design?

Ask family members to send in their news. Encourage submissions of news about big birthdays, engagements, weddings, births and graduations. But don’t stop there. Who got a new job? Who’s moving to a new city? Who won an award? Who ran a marathon? Don’t forget to ask for photos, too.

Don’t make it strictly business. If all you do is list family council agenda items, you won’t succeed at creating family engagement. You need compelling content that educates and excites your audience.

Take a deep dive into your history. Even if everyone knows how the family business got started, there are other treasures from your shared past that have yet to be uncovered.

Promote important events. Drum up excitement for the next family meeting or philanthropic activity.

Report on the business and the family. Try to include both types of news in each edition.

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