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Friday, September 26, 2014

6 Tips to a Better E-Newsletter

By Krishna Vinjamoori

E-newsletters are a fantastic way to stay in touch with donors and volunteers. They are cheaper to produce and send out than a traditional printed bulletin. With hectic schedules, many readers only skim through what’s written. Get those causal readers to stay focused and interested so that they read all the content. Use the following tips to make sure supporters benefit from your e-newsletter:

  1. Stay donor-centered. Describe in detail how you’ve been using funds that have been generously given, or how your organization has utilized volunteer time. Perhaps highlight a donor in each issue and discuss how that individual was inspired to give. Fill your stories with emotion so they motivate others to donate funds, time and talents in the same manner.
  2. Keep it short and simple. Wording should be at a minimum, and aim to be very straightforward and to-the-point. Lengthy background descriptions aren’t necessarily needed when telling your story. Readers enjoy seeing short, engaging headings that introduce the various paragraphs or sections.
  3. Stay consistent and uniform. E-newsletters should be generated on a timely schedule, like monthly or bi-monthly. Select a beautiful, easy-to-read format and stick with that particular arrangement. Readers expect a certain standard from your charity, and will enjoy reading about your organization’s good work.
  4. Credit your authors. Give kudos to your organization’s writers by including a brief biography and signature line. Go one step further and include a small picture to help personalize the story. Readers will look forward to articles and stories by their favorite authors.
  5. Use a variety of copy. Your e-newsletter should be a combined mixture of text and pictures. Bulleted or numbered paragraphs are a valuable use of space. Readers enjoy being able to skim through simple headlines if they are in a hurry. Pictures are worth a thousand words, so use them to highlight the work that volunteers are involved in, or to showcase the recipients of your good work.
  6. Taking the next step. What do you want the supporter to do next after reading? Should they make a contribution, volunteer for activities or share the newsletter with friends and family? Give your readers guidance so they know what the nonprofit’s needs currently are. Be sure to include a “donate now” button and a direct link to your website.
Your donors and volunteers will look forward to reading your next e-newsletter. Remember that people are busy and don’t have a lot of time to spend reading lengthy content. By using thoughtful stories and pictures, you can showcase your organization in a positive manner. Share how you are achieving your mission statement, and always remember to thank your donors and volunteers!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Using Social Media to Boost Your Nonprofit

by Nicole Cerezo

Social media tools are a great way for nonprofits to get their message out to a wide audience. The benefits include an increase in donations and brand recognition, and a greater ability to promote campaigns and programs to donors, volunteers and followers. Here are some simple ways that social media can be integrated into your nonprofit’s marketing plan!

  1. Share on Facebook. Facebook is the largest and best site to relay information and inspirational stories about your organization. Readers can “like, comment and share” your posts, photos and videos. Nonprofits can create events and invite followers to fundraisers and volunteer outings, and it not only allows attendees to RSVP to the event but they can “check-in” when they have arrived. Facebook also encourages nonprofits to include a Donate Button on their home page so followers can easily make donations.

  2. Post to Twitter. To encourage attention and commitment, and also generate a strong following, Twitter is the perfect outlet to post small bits of information on behalf of your nonprofit. A link to your Donate Page can be tweeted periodically so followers can make a quick and easy donation. Be sure to tweet a message of thanks to the donor when contributions are made. Another helpful idea is to have either the CEO or a Board member post a message on the Twitter account.

  3. Create Vine and YouTube Videos. Video posts are a great way for nonprofits to spread the word about upcoming events or profile a volunteer or staff member of the month. Creative videos can discuss how the nonprofit’s work has made a difference, and can be used to increase awareness about programs and volunteer opportunities. Video contests encourage viewers to make and submit their own videos about a designated topic. Nonprofits can increase their contact lists while learning about current and potential subscribers.

  4. Prepare a Blog. Blogging is an ideal way to share how your organization has carried out its mission statement, and to describe the work that you intend to do. Photos and videos should be included in blog postings. Ask readers to subscribe to your blog updates, and have them share it on their social media pages. Be sure to link your blog postings directly to Facebook and Twitter, and mention your blog in any YouTube videos so that others can easily find it.

Social media is a wonderful tool for promoting the programs of your nonprofit. Invite supporters and volunteers to join you on the above social media sites, and encourage them to invite their friends to become a part of your nonprofit’s online network. Be sure to provide new and dynamic information in order to maintain ongoing involvement with your followers. Social media can ultimately help your organization increase the number of donations and overall fundraising!