When talking about disseminating information and activities of non-profit organisations, the newsletter is surely a very special tool. Given its communicative role, it is very important that the newsletter preparation is accurate, both in form and content.
Basic requirements are: eye-catching visuals, clarity and simplicity of language, diffusion on channels accessible to your audience and obviously the choice of topics and content relevant for your audience.
Your newsletter content and visual are essential to spread news, increase donations, and keep in touch with advocacy triggers. However, there are some issue that you might not be fully aware of: spamming, meaningless content, wrong use of data and weak calls-to-action, can lead your newsletter to have no influence.
Today, we address 4 best practices in creating and sending a non-profit newsletter to help you achieve a higher impact, increasing the number of reading, better informing your community and members, and enhance your advocacy power.
1. Say it personally!
Whatever you have to say, make it sure that it is personal. The more we go on, the more ͞customisation͟ and ͞personalisation͟ become must-have in the way you share content. The same is valid for newsletter. The impact is undoubtedly stronger, as personalised emails have a higher open rate. However, remember to tone down the personal touch when you don’ know the person at all –it can create suspiciousness. Where can you personalise? Firstly, the subject line: personalise it with something that is not only eye-catching but customised to the peculiarities of each of your target audiences. Secondly, the content itself: include the addressee’s history with your organisation, for example:
- if the person donated in favour of your organisation in the past, say thanks again and ask to repeat the gesture
- If the person volunteer at one event, show appreciation
- If the person is not yet related to your organisation explain the benefits and advantages of being part of it
- If the person is part of a similar organisation, show how yours can strengthen the cause
2. Say it clearly!
What do you want to get from the newsletter? Inform people, more followers on the social media, donating, go on your website, volunteering? No matter what you want, tell to people in a clear and visible way: this is call ͞call-to-action! What are the main tips for calls to action?
- Better to opt for a one and unique call to action. Do not ask people to donate, subscribe to an event or read your article all in one newsletter. Better to opt for a different newsletter for each call to action.
- Test the visual, in different style (a simple button? A simple text? A personalised graphic element) and display it prominently, where it can resonate.
- Tailor the content depending from the audience. The ͞Donate!͟ call to action for new potential donors, should become ͞Increase your donation to help more͟ for those that are already donors.
- Include social sharing buttons to help to spread the word
3. Say it right!
Many of your newsletter get into the email spam folder. In fact, you email can be bounced for many reasons: there is a spam filters, the person marked you as a spam, or people unsubscribed as they feel you are spamming. So, now, what are the ways to stay out of spam?
- Go for a short subject line if you want to redirect your readers to your website.
- Place a fully working unsubscribe link, so users can remove themselves from the email list if they wish: this will avoid your email to be marked as spam.
- Avoid buying email lists. Although these might be interested if the database is a qualified one, they’re usually more likely to perceived you as spam, as they have not signed up for your newsletter.
- 49% of emails are viewed on mobile phones: optimise content and design of your newsletter for smartphones.
- Send the right amount of emails per year, as a too low or high frequency can result in unsubscribing and spamming marks.
- 8pm to midnight has the best open-rates for emails, so plan it accordingly!
4. Say it cutely!
If it is available to you, speak about data and communicate information in a valuable way: your non-profit newsletter visual is crucial and having a great data visualization will intrigue and engage your audience. In this way you will help the subscribers to get the most out of your newsletter, in a shorter period of time, using data and statistics, bullet points and infographics. Knowledge drive interest: if your audience get to know your organisation and to what and how they are participating, it drives the attention and the efforts: that it’s why infographics, gamifications and data visualisations are the next step in non-profits newsletters! Where to start? Two little basics:
- For colours selection, use your branding palette, and remember that high contrast is the best for readability, but avoid dark backgrounds behind long text: it can cause eye strain!
- When including a URL, simply add a link on that text. For example, when driving on a particular link:
- NO – Here the directions to our office: https://www.google.be/maps/place/double-id+-+Communicationfirstname.lastname@example.org,4.3986563,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x47c3c351a8498c13:0x66a3e04e2bf32e9!8m2!3d50.8540216!4d4.400845
- NO – For directions to our office click here.
- YES – Directions to our office
Ready to share you experience with newsletters? We would like to know if you find these tips useful!