5 Tips for Non-Profit Newsletters

This is a guest post from Colleen Froehlich, media and marketing specialist. 

Non-profits: Do you want to know the secrets to having a successful newsletter that results in more openings and action? Zealous Good wants to help you! Here are a few quick tips on how to revamp your newsletters:

1.)  Know your Audience

This is very important. As a non-profit, you know your audience and who you want to target. Very often, you even have a relationship with them. Donors give to your specific non-profit because they believe in your cause.This gives non-profits an advantage because you already have people in your audiences that are interested. So the job of creating a tailored newsletter should be fairly easy! Use your newsletter to connect deeper with your audience; reassure them that donating to you is the right decision. Think about your donors now and why they want to donate specifically to you. For new donors, think of what makes your non-profit unique and why they would be interested in donating specifically to you. Play up your cause!

2.) Clarity > Creativity

This is true not only for subject lines, but also for the content of your newsletter. As far as subject lines go, you want to tell the audience what they are going to see in the content of your newsletter. Getting too creative with subject lines might cause confusion among your audience and result in less opens for your newsletter. The same thing goes for the content of your newsletter. Don’t over do it with too much media- you don’t want your whole newsletter to be videos and images, because many people (especially now) open these on their smart phones and some of these won’t even show up. What you want to do is create a good balance, but make sure you have text that your audience can scroll through and quickly read. Keep your tone warm and friendly– after all, these are people that you care about! And remember to not go overboard; sometimes it’s easy to get carried away when talking about your cause.

3.)  Send in a Timely Manner

You want to make sure that your newsletter goes out to your audiences in a timely manner, but not too soon. You want to send it in a way that makes sense for your organization. If you have a need to send it out once a week, that is perfectly fine, as long as all your information is new and relevant. More than once a week however is a little much, it might overwhelm your audience and result in either no openings or even unsubscribing. A good time range I would say is about once a week to once a month depending on your organization.

4.) Subject lines are Crucial

As I said before, clarity beats creativity. You don’t  need to go overboard trying to write a creative subject line because most importantly the subject line should be informative. The audience wants to know what to expect when they’re going to open your e-mail. For example, “5 Tips to Lose Weight This Week” is a lot better than “Wacky Ways to Wither your Weight.” The subject line is where you grab your audience and intrigue them to read more. Also, another little tip- don’t include the word “help” in your subject line. Including “help” in a subject line has shown significantly lower open rates. Keep it relevant, clear, and specific to your audience.

5.) Make the next step Simple

Always end your newsletter with an achievable call to action. For example, if you want your audience to donate, at the bottom of your newsletter (hopefully after you have successfully convinced them that donating to your non-profit is the best idea ever), have a button titled “DONATE NOW” that they can click on and will take them directly to the next donation step. Making the action as easy as possible for your audience increases the likelihood that they actually will. In other words: Create the lowest barrier of entry for your donors. Donors should be a step away from the finish line not slowed by hurdles.

Good luck to all the non-profits—and happy newsletter creating!

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