Newsletters are increasingly seen as an integral part of an organisation's brand reinforcement. This implies a need for consistent and compliant presentation.

Keeping it concise is not only considerate and polite. It also shows that you understand your readers' predicament. You should allow them to cherry-pick the information that you provide.

An increasingly popular way to be concise without limiting the depth of information is to link "teasers" in your newsletter to deeper online coverage. This also drives traffic to your website - something most organisations wish to achieve.

Profiling your members and prospective members may also be an objective. This can be achieved by analysing your readers' click-throughs. In due course this could lead to great personalisation opportunities.

Ease of (collaborative) production is also important. This is achieved through the use of standard templates and links to bulk mail transmission tools.

News Syndication

To generate more interest on your organisation you could add an "RSS feed" service, perhaps based on newsletter content or aggregating external sources of information on your chosen topics. Really Simple Syndication (RSS) is an Internet standard that allows websites to share particular sets of fast-changing content such as news and Weblogs.

Member Directory

The institution of collecting business cards is unlikely to be superceded. However, it's in the nature of associations that members typically like to have rather more information about their fellow members.

In a professional association members may wish to contact people with similar interests to initiate discussion on a current topic or seek their advice. This is just one reason why it makes sense to hold a certain amount of members' information centrally.

This centrally-held and web-accessible information is especially useful to new members trying to make connections.

As with anything there is a point at which less becomes more. The correct level of detail will entirely depend on the nature of your association. It is therefore useful to have flexibility in regard to what is held and what can be seen by different stakeholders.

Delivering information on the web raises concerns about privacy. These can be resolved by allowing different levels of access to various views of the information. For instance, you might allow public access to the names and affiliations of members but restrict their addresses and phone numbers to other members who have signed a confidentiality agreement.

Member Profiles

It is useful to include a certain amount of profiling within this information. For example, a set of professional interests and/ or competencies could be held. This would allow convenient searching for members with those interests.

Member Search

When you hold member profiles with such information as geographical coverage and interests it becomes possible to help members to find each other more easily.