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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!