The way we communicate with each other continually evolves. Take this newsletter, for example. When Capitol Neighborhoods, Inc. was founded in 1984, a periodic paper newsletter, delivered by mail to each member, was the predominant form of communication among businesses, non-profit organizations, and other groups. Now, 30 years later, the effectiveness of this form of communication has certainly changed.

The way that we communicate with each other, in both verbal and written forms, has evolved with the availability and predominance of new technologies, the realities of cost comparisons, and seemingly busier daily lives. Information that was once delivered the next day, the next week, or the next month — whenever the next issue of the publication was delivered — is now delivered almost instantly, or certainly within a few minutes or hours. Even the Mayor’s Office now has an official Twitter account (@MayorOfMadison).

So how do we adapt to these changes as a neighborhood organization? Increasingly, downtown residents are younger and more tech savvy, and decreasingly reliant on forms of paper communication. That means that this newsletter, the postcards we send out to announce neighborhood programs, and the membership renewal forms we mail out are reaching a smaller audience and are less eff ective in communicating with newer residents especially.

We are addressing this issue head on. Over the past several months, we have been exploring options for increasing the effectiveness of our communication as an organization. We have gathered information from other non-profit organizations to determine how they have adapted and what types of communication they now use. The conclusion is that organizations are increasingly moving toward forms of electronic communication, or a mix of paper and electronic communication, based on member preferences, cost savings, and administrative efficiency.

We are excited to start modernizing the way we communicate as an organization over the next several months. This could include adopting an online membership system, an email newsletter, and program announcements via social media. However, it will also include maintaining forms of paper communication to the extent they continue to be eff ective and preferred by our members.

We welcome your feedback as we explore options in the coming months. Please let me know your thoughts via whichever form of communication you prefer! You can email me at; drop me a note in the mail at P.O. Box 2613, Madison, WI 53701; call me at 608.445.9384. Tweet to me @jlverca; or just stop me on the street for a conversation. I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

Posted in Newsletter.