“Family Newsletters Made Easy,” Ensign, June 2004, 73
As our family circle has expanded and some members have moved away, keeping in touch has become a challenge. Our solution? A family newsletter. It has proven to be an inexpensive, simple way to stay connected while simultaneously providing a lasting record of our most important news. Motivation and a little up-front organization can also help you get started.
Choose a format. Before presenting the idea to your family, determine a few things first. How often do you plan to publish—monthly, bimonthly, quarterly, yearly? How will you assemble your newsletter? Word processing and desktop publishing programs as well as Internet sources often contain newsletter templates that make it easier to format and cut and paste articles. You’re not computer savvy? No problem. Typing or handwriting the information and photocopying it serve the purpose too.
Brainstorm article and column ideas. To make the newsletter a family affair, consider everyone’s talents and expertise. Articles might feature family updates; a calendar of family events; family home evening ideas; gardening, cooking, and household tips; children’s artwork; and poetry, to name a few ideas. Family newsletters also provide opportunities to share testimonies and appropriate faith-promoting experiences.
Show the family a sample newsletter. My first front-page article talked about the possibility of doing the newsletter, including column ideas and guidelines. Having the newsletter in hand helped my family feel excited to participate. Depending on family resources, you may decide to mail each newsletter, with family members contributing to all or part of the expense. Family Web sites may also be a good way to share your newsletter. Or you may opt to skip a design format and just batch e-mail text.
Establish deadlines. Our articles are due a week before publication, but that may vary for your family. Keep in mind that articles sent via e-mail or saved on computer disk can speed the process. Otherwise, allow time to receive items via postal mail and to type any handwritten material, if needed.
Above all, enjoy creating your family’s newsletter! Don’t worry if you don’t have many articles in an issue or if you’re late sending it out. The most important thing is that you’re helping your family stay in touch.
Stephanie Yrungaray, Herriman Meadows Ward, Herriman Utah Stake