Your organization’s newsletter is a great way to build relationships with your donor base. They inform and engage readers on any updates within your organization and can become a powerful marketing tool. When done effectively, your nonprofit’s newsletter can help raise money, find volunteers, demonstrate gratitude and promote your programs.
Newsletters don't have to take hours of your time or look like modern works of art. They need to tell a compelling story
. If creating a newsletter seems daunting to you, don't worry we're here to help!
Designing a newsletter can be challenging, so take it one step at a time. Using email management software
to track and design a layout takes off some of the pressure of creating a template from scratch. Donor Engine allows you to create, track and send emails right from the app. All while organizing your donor data!
6 Steps to Creating a Great Nonprofit Newsletter
1.Find Your Objective
What does your newsletter mean to you? Do you want to use it as a promotional tool for upcoming events, campaigns and activities? Is your goal to inform donors and volunteers to take action on updates? Or a combination of a few goals? Choosing an objective before writing will act as a guide for what content to include.
Your nonprofit's newsletter is a marketing tool, make the most of it by planning out precisely what you want to achieve. Keep your objective in mind, and when done, ask yourself if your newsletter meets your goal. Consider having a collaborative process to allow for your different teams to have a story or section.
2.Know Your Audience
Who will read your newsletter, what would they like to see? What would they be most interested in knowing? What is the target audience's demographics, values and interests and how does it relate to your organization? Use this information to create an audience profile that you can reference when writing your newsletter.
A beautiful newsletter is nothing without relevant and valuable content. Have a brainstorm with your leaders, volunteers or board members to generate ideas if you feel stuck. Reflect on why they joined your organization and why they have continued to support your cause.
If you're stumped at what content to include, go to the source and ask your audience! A quick survey of your supporters done over email or social media can get the ball rolling and determine what is of the highest interest to your followers. Remember to upload any findings into your CRM to keep track of and leverage your results.
3. Include the Essentials
While the topic and subject of your newsletter will change, creating a basic format will help save a lot of time. Here are a few of our top tips:
Keep it Brief: A newsletter is a summary of events and activities. It's not a newspaper, so keep it clean and concise. Include 3-5 brief paragraphs describing each topic linking back to a longer article to help drive traffic back to your website.
Add Personality: Keep it professional, but don't be afraid to get creative! Your newsletter should reflect the unique voice and culture of your organization. If you're an arts-based organization, include colours and art! If you're an animal shelter, add some of your furry friends. Find a balance between reflecting your organization's persona and professionalism.
Don't Forget the Call to Action!: This is a newsletter must. Let your reader know what to do after reading your email. Ask your audience to follow social accounts, donate to a campaign, or buy tickets. Keep it short (2-5 words) like "Join Our Facebook Page" or "Donate Now!"
Speak to Your Audience: Make your readers feel engaged by speaking to their impact. Use words like "you" and "your" to make them feel connected to your content and let them know how they've contributed to your success. Instead of "Our Campaign Goal was Reached!" say, "You Helped Us Meet Our Goal!"
Build Relationships: Relationship building is at the core of any donation. People give because they feel connected to your cause and enjoy being a part of a community of supporters. Ask questions to interact with your readers, or feature a donor or volunteer in your article.
4. Design Your Newsletter
When designing your nonprofit's newsletter, keep it simple. You don't want anything to distract from your copy, but it shouldn't be boring either. Have a designer or volunteer create a layout that is customizable for each newsletter.
But if you’re opting to do it yourself, here are a few design tips to get you started.
- Have a focal point like a masthead or photo that draws a lot of attention
- Keep the newsletter consistent to your branding by including fonts, colours and logos from your website
- Break up the content with headers
- Use colours as a way to highlight titles or essential points
- Include images or quick videos to showcase what you've been up to
Some email software will require you to know the basic code to customize your templates. If you want a simple, easy to use editor Donor Engine allows you to drag and drop your way to beautiful templates. Contact up for a demo on creating your template!
5.Create a Consistent Schedule
Build an email list
and send content consistently. Choose a schedule that is manageable for your organization's resources and needs. Keep in mind that it has to be frequent enough to keep your organization top of mind. Don’t be afraid to send too many emails, research shows that frequent email communication isn’t a bad thing!
Consider which day and time are best for sending your e-newsletter. Plenty of email managers will track how and when your readers interact with your email, so use that information to guide when you send emails. Also, consider what is going on within your organization to work with program timelines and campaigns.
6. Analyze Your Results
The most significant benefit of using powerful email management software is the ability to track your content's success! Keep an eye on the following metrics for guidance on improving your newsletter:
- Open rates
- Reports on links clicked in your newsletter
- Subscription information
- Any patterns in the times it is interacted with
- What content gets the most interaction (clicks)
Tracking the success of your newsletter can make a huge difference when planning your content. Learn more about how to improve your newsletter by booking a free demo with Donor Engine. We can show you how to create, track and improve on your newsletter all within the same program.