When done well, newsletters build trust and strengthen your connection with your stakeholders. Use this guide to learn how your nonprofit can create a newsletter that truly wows your supporters!
Newsletters are a great way to show your stakeholders why you value their support. They also give you an opportunity to record a history of your organization’s activities and achievements over time. Tracking these key moments in your organization’s history will also help you share your story with a wider audience, such as grant funders, the general public, or even your own staff and volunteers.
First things first—newsletters are typically between one and four pages long and are distributed on a monthly or quarterly schedule. When you’re getting started, select a distribution schedule that your organization can consistently achieve so your supporters know they can count on hearing from you.
Next, a great newsletter starts with a name that will draw your stakeholders in and will indicate the newsletter’s content at a glance. When deciding what content to include, there are several routes you can take to illustrate the impact of your supporters’ contributions—from sharing stories to highlighting awards your organization has received. Here are a few angles you may consider taking:
Tell a story about how your work positively impacted a particular individual or group
Summarize a recent project that was completed or give an update from an ongoing project
Share fundraising updates, especially if your organization is running a campaign
Promote upcoming events
Highlight important anniversaries in either your organization’s history or your community’s history
Highlight recent partnerships your nonprofit has made, awards received, or any features you may have in local news outlets
Include a brief excerpt from your organization’s latest blog post
Include the story of a donor, volunteer, board member, or another organization you have worked with before
Share relevant news articles that impact your cause
Include a message from your organization’s leadership
Inform your subscribers of any important changes to the organization—such as new staff, an office move, or a change in the organization’s name
Although you’ll still want to keep your newsletter at a digestible length, combining a few of these elements can help your audience understand all of the incredible work your organization is doing. Don’t forget that photos and graphs can be wonderful tools to tell your story as well!
Our advice? Experiment! Every audience is different, but with a little patience, you can determine what works best for the people in your community.
Now that you have your stakeholder’s attention, is there any specific action you would like them to take, such as donating to a project or volunteering for your next fundraiser? You can cover this with a simple call to action. Here are a few great options to consider:
Calls to Action
Share the newsletter on social media (You can pair this ask with relevant holidays or observances related to your organization’s cause area)
Like or follow the organization’s social media pages
Learn more (include a link to a website or blog)
Take a specific action related to your organization’s cause area (for example, picking up trash on the streets)
Register for an event
Congratulations! You now know how to format a newsletter that will leave your subscribers feeling inspired and connected to your organization’s mission. Before you get started, here are a few final tips to keep in mind:
Nonprofit Newsletter Tips
Always include your organization’s social media handles at the bottom of each post to make it easy for your audience to connect with you virtually
Good newsletters increase transparency with your donors by communicating exactly where their money is going and why their support is important
Your newsletters should be dated
If your newsletter is longer than two pages, consider including a table of contents, so your subscribers can easily find the content they are most interested in
Never add email addresses to your subscriber list without their knowledge. Instead, ask them to opt-in to your newsletter list
Put newsletter archives in a designated section of your website
Subscribe to other nonprofits’ newsletters for inspiration, especially organizations working on similar issues. Some great examples from GlobalGiving partners are newsletters from Isha Vidhya, a nonprofit helping children receive a quality education in rural India, and Jake’s Diapers, a nonprofit helping families rise out of poverty in the United States
Remember, good newsletters lead to a more engaged community—and you can focus on this as a metric of success. With these tips in mind and a little experimentation, you should be on your way to creating a newsletter that wows all your subscribers in no time! You might also find our tips on how to create a nonprofit annual report and how to create a record of good helpful as you establish your nonprofit’s footprint in the world:)
Featured Photo: Help underprivileged children code their future by El Desafio Foundation