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Get the most bang for your email newsletter budget

Email newsletters are a cornerstone of most nonprofit marketing strategies — and for good reason. At low cost, you can use email newsletters to target specific segments of your audience, complement campaigns and other initiatives, and mobilize subscribers to take action. To get the most value from your email newsletters, keep these quick tips in mind.

Love your template

You don't need to be a coder or designer to develop an appealing email newsletter. Choose a template that aligns with your brand style or visual identity, perhaps with the help of an online program or a contracted or volunteer designer. Use the template consistently to simplify future newsletter creation and build brand recognition among subscribers.

Write what matters

Choose a theme or core message for each newsletter to reflect organizational priorities. Then, share inspiring stories, volunteer highlights or industry-related tips to support the theme. Keep the tone friendly and conversational. Your newsletter shouldn't read like something addressed to a mass, anonymous list.

Keep it short

Limit the number of stories or topics in any given newsletter. Although ideal length is a matter of personal preference, you might think "five or fewer" as a general rule of thumb. If you have too much content for a single newsletter, consider more focused newsletters for specific audiences — or shorter but more frequent newsletters.

Satisfy the skimmer

Make your newsletter easy to scan on both large screens and small. For example:

  • Select an easy-to-read font (such as Arial, Tahoma or Verdana)
  • Use subheads to break up the content
  • Stick to short chunks of text
  • Make use of lists and bullet points
  • Use images to draw attention to key topics (while being careful to limit image file sizes and resolution to accommodate potential bandwidth limitations)

Remember your call to action

Think about what you want readers to do after reading a particular story in your newsletter — and then make it easy to take action. For example, you might:

  • Integrate a donate button into the newsletter template
  • Strategically place social share buttons throughout the newsletter
  • Link a screenshot of a video directly to the video on YouTube, Instagram, or in your website or blog
  • Provide links to suggested related topics

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Disclaimer

MissionBox editorial content is offered as guidance only, and is not meant, nor should it be construed as, a replacement for certified, professional expertise.

Disclaimer

References

Prichard: 14 reasons your nonprofit should start an e-newsletter by Jenna Cerruti (2015)

Flipcause: 9 ways to improve your nonprofit's e-newsletter (2015)

Elevate Clicks: Newsletter best practices for nonprofits by Carlos Vizcardo

References

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Writers and editors working together to elevate social impact worldwide — one paragraph at a time