Does your nonprofit have a regular newsletter? Monthly, bimonthly, or quarterly email newsletters are a great way to communicate with your supporters—and we almost always recommend them to our clients. Our guide to nonprofit newsletters includes best practices, data-backed tips, ideas to test, and a treasure trove of resources to inform your newsletter strategy.
Nonprofit Newsletters we love…
- Have a distinct voice. You feel like you are connected to an author, even when they’re just sending you a list of bullet points or recommended links.
- Are simple and skimmable. There is something to a super unformatted email – or at least a minimally formatted email. And know that people are cruising – can they get what they need from just the headlines?
- Almost always have at least one thing we want to click. Know your audience – and know what they might enjoy!
- Are personalized. It sounds like it’s from a real person being written to a real person.
- Make it clear what they want us to do. They have one prominent CTA, even if they have a bunch of links throughout.
- Are designed with lots of white space (our favorite in all emails!).
- Keep a really healthy list. Be ruthless on list health (even if that means cutting people off).
- Are a conversation. Instead of blasting the reader with information, they speak to their existing concerns and welcome feedback and ideas.
- Aggregate content from other sources, saving me time and the need to follow every quality source out there.
- Keep subject lines short and clear. Aim for eight words or less (per recent suggestions based on iPhone preview text) and say what is actually in the newsletter/why it’s of value for the reader.
- Your email MUST be mobile-optimized. (Mobile first in everything these days, really.)
- Streamlining matters. Make it SUPER clear (and explicit) what your newsletter is about. Ie: Here are eight stories about your impact this month that you don’t want to miss.
- A survey for newsletter subscribers. What do they WANT to read/see/receive?
- Removing the marketing template entirely. (Check out this study.)
- Choosing a person in the organization who is the “newsletter” person. It always comes from them. People can reply to them. It’s written in a super human voice. And it makes the newsletter stand out from other communications from their DPs.
- An all text newsletter that feels like a real person wrote it
- Creative subject lines. Have some fun and get people to OPEN! Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone, you want to catch people’s attention.
- Z-pattern design instead of straight columns.
- Segmenting newsletter topics or the order of topics based on interests or other factors
Learn more about nonprofit newsletters…