14 Reasons Your Nonprofit Should Start an E-Newsletter

E-newsletters have the potential to reach your target audiences in a way that other forms of communication like social media or conference calls cannot. E-newsletters can move the conversation about your nonprofit organization into a more personal, one-on-one setting—the email inbox—and ensure touchpoints with your audience that build relationships.

Not convinced? Here are 14 reasons why your nonprofit should start an e-newsletter.

1. E-Newsletters help you reach your audience (every single one of ‘em).

Unlike Facebook, whose algorithm changes have squandered away any real hope of increasing page reach without paid ads, e-newsletters have few barriers to reaching your audience. E-newsletter management platforms do not filter your content; it is sent to every single subscriber no matter if they’ve engaged with past newsletters or not.

2. Most of you nonprofit peers are doing it—it’s a best practice.

The majority of nonprofits (61 percent), send their e-newsletter at least monthly, according to the 2015 Nonprofit Marketing Guide. Distributing an e-newsletter has become common practice, so adopting an e-newsletter can help your nonprofit establish credibility and trust.

3. It can be simple.

Though e-newsletters are the second most time-consuming task among communication channels (behind Facebook posts), you can create a streamlined process to make design and content development easy.

First, invest in a one-time graphic design fee to build a custom newsletter template design that aligns with your brand style. This will simplify future e-newsletter building, and also creates consistency and brand recognition for your audience. Second, keep text short and sweet. This not only aids scannability, but also is important for those reading on mobile, which leads me to my next point…..

4. More mobile readers mean more e-newsletter readers.

With 66 percent of emails now read on mobile, ensure that your e-newsletters are open and read by optimizing for a mobile format.

5. Deliver your message—on your own terms.

When news breaks regarding a change in your organization, e-newsletters allow your nonprofit to control and distribute the message, instead of leaving others outside of your organization to hear fragments of information.

Meyer Memorial Trust, Oregon’s third largest foundation, used its e-newsletter effectively this week when it announced a hiatus in its grantmaking to focus on identifying new priorities, a decision that will impact local nonprofits’ funding. Meyer was the first to distribute the news to its audience, giving the organization control of its message, and providing a contact point for those needing additional information.

 

6. E-newsletters give you a personal touchpoint.

Delivering email to your target audiences gives them a direct contact with your organization, which can be a valuable catalyst for conversation. Unlike social media, where engagement can sometimes be hidden behind your organization’s name, e-newsletter platforms allow you to send an email so that when recipients click “reply,” they’ll be able to engage in conversation with a real person from your organization.

7. It’s an easy way to promote your nonprofit.

Whether you’re announcing big news, sharing a timely blog post, or amplifying media coverage, e-newsletters deliver content directly to your audience, making it an ideal spot for content promotion.

8. They complement campaigns and initiatives.

The e-newsletter is the perfect complementary tactic to support larger campaign strategies. Its direct and wide reach makes email great for announcing campaigns, driving subscribers to your website, encouraging them to share on social media or mobilizing them to action.

9. E-newsletter platforms are easy to use.

We’re partial to e-newsletter management platforms MailChimp and Constant Contact, which users can navigate with ease. Both platforms also have big template libraries to let you customize your design, and a robust suite of analytics tools to help you measure and optimize content.

10. There’s always room for improvement.

The analytics features on these platforms allow you to understand how your e-newsletter content, subject line and visuals resonate with your audience. Track these analytics, tweak your e-newsletter according to best practices, test again and continue improving to maximize effectiveness.

11. It’s cheap (or free).

Not only are they easy to use, but most e-newsletter platforms are free or low-cost. MailChimp, for example, is free for users with less than 2,000 recipients on your list.

12. They easily integrate with social media

E-newsletters are great attention-grabbers that can prompt your audience to engage with your organization on social media by using the social share buttons available. Even better, studies show that e-newsletters with social share buttons increase click through rates by 158 percent.

13. They can be segmented and personalized

Most e-newsletter platforms allow you to segment lists, so you can personalize e-newsletters targeted at specific groups, say, potential funders or volunteers. Segmenting can be a valuable e-newsletter asset to engaging target audiences with hyper relevant and tailored information.

14. You already know how to do it

Email writing and communication is kind of like an art. As a nonprofit communicator, you likely know exactly what it takes to grab your reader’s attention and make a strong ask. E-newsletter development builds on those skills you already have. Use these tips to get started.

Why do you use e-newsletters to reach your target audience?

Jenna Cerruti

Account Director Jenna Cerruti leads Prichard’s client work and manages Prichard’s blog. Before Prichard, she spent several years working with for-profit, purpose-drive brands. When she is not developing strategic communications plans, brainstorming digital communications strategies or executing media relations for clients, she is on the hunt to find the best pizza in Portland, likely listening to her favorite diva, Beyonce, along the way.

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