Getting Started: I Want to Write Email Newsletters for My Non-Profit, But I Don’t Know What To Write

writers_blockEmail newsletters are an excellent way to keep donors, volunteers, and supporters interested and involved with your non-profit. You have an opportunity to regularly inform them about the work you’re doing, as well as drive interest in any need for donations. But after you’ve set up your fabulous email format, you may be staring at a blank screen, wondering what to say.

Remember that email is a personal forum. It’s only shared if the reader wants to do so, rather than social media, which is constantly and intrusively public. Email should be written to an actual person, so your tone can be conversational, while still professional. Your newsletter should put a human face on your organization.

Some topics to regularly put on your roster:

  • Events — You probably host or appear at events as a way to raise funds and awareness, so be sure to send out a calendar, as well as lead-up articles and post-mortems with photos from past events. You’re probably putting these on your Facebook, but your email subscribers — especially your long-term supporters — may appreciate insider information. Send them event bonuses, like a drinks coupon or 10% off the entry fee.
  • News and issues — As a nonprofit, your voice and expertise make you community leaders. Your email subscribers want to know your opinion and experience on issues and current events relevant to your cause.
  • Person of the Month – While a glowing introduction to your CEO will bore, someone in the field whose efforts you want to recognize can inform and hearten your readers. While networking and building good karma, these pieces can be the rare “good news” articles that remind your readers that progress is being made.

Some places to look for article ideas:

  • Your staff: Ask your receptionist what questions he gets asked most often. Check meeting minutes for frequent concerns from backers.
  • Independent news: Check online news outlets, independent radio, and international news for emerging or little reported news.
  • Social media: What are people saying on your Facebook page? What topics are often Tweeted to you? Is there a trend in topics your followers are interested in? Use your marketing email software’s analytics to check the links people are following to get to your site.
  • Interviews: If there are a number of people concerned about something, then there is an association, club, union, or organization dedicated to them. Search online to find that group, then ask to speak with their media representative.

Write in chunks of about 200 words, and give every chunk a headline. Photos are nice, but not necessary; people prefer to read text in email, and 60% of email users block images anyway, due to virus concerns.

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