I’m always interested in what various nonprofit organizations are up to and what information they’re sharing in their newsletters. So it was unusual when I started reading a local organization’s newsletter and lost interest on the first page.
The story was an explanation of why a particular committee meeting had been cancelled. It detailed office mishaps, rainy weather, and the broken ankle of a member—all of which might have been fine if they’d been sending an internal email to notify committee members of the cancellation. But why did I, a donor, need to know?
This got me thinking about all the newsletters that I do read cover to cover. A number of shared characteristics came to mind.
Here are 6 things engaging nonprofit newsletters have in common:
- They share program updates. I love reading about progress being made; I’m reminded about how my past donations helped push the needle forward.
- The stories are engaging and concise. I’m energized and inspired by an organization offering a well-written story about concrete action being taken to fulfill its mission, or sharing the experience of someone who benefited from its work. Moreover, these stories make me want to contribute again.
- They use images. A text-heavy newsletter can appear tedious to the reader. Whether the newsletter includes photographs, infographics, or both, images add visual interest and can convey the essence of an organization’s efforts in a way that words cannot.
- The content of the nonprofit newsletter focuses on the work of the organization rather than the organization itself. I support an organization because I’m passionate about its mission, and I think most donors are motivated similarly. Remember how I lost interest in the explanation of why a meeting was cancelled? We want to hear more about mission-relevant accomplishments and less about daily internal details.
- It’s easy to read. The font is large enough that I don’t have to squint, and the language doesn’t use insider jargon I may not understand.
- I see immediate opportunities to get involved. If there are upcoming events, I want to see the date, cost, and how to register. If there are volunteer opportunities, I want to know how I can sign up. I also like to be reminded how I can give again, whether it’s by providing the URL for the online donation form or a remittance envelope that makes it convenient to send a gift.
- Engaging, concise nonprofit newsletters keep me connected to the organizations I support. A newsletter that reinforces your donors’ commitment to your mission and energizes them to continue their support can be a vital asset in your efforts to retain donors.