3 Goals for Your Nonprofit's Newsletter

  • by Shala Graham
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For a lot of nonprofits, the monthly newsletter is the grown-up equivalent of "busy work" that we got from substitute teachers in our school days. Executives and directors have a vague sense that the newsletter is something they need, although they aren't exactly sure why, or what it's really meant to accomplish.

A nonprofit newsletter can be a great resource, or a waste of time and energy. The difference usually isn't about what type of charitable organization you have, or your marketing budget, but the mindset you bring to regular communications with your donors and the public at large.

To help you get started, here are three good goals for your nonprofit newsletter:

1. To actually share news and progress.

What's happening in your organization? Who has been promoted, what new programs and initiatives have been launched, or what new goals have been set for the future? These are things that matter to the people who give you money and attention, so don't be shy about sharing important details with them. The most important part of the newsletter is "news," and your organization probably has lots to talk about.

2. To inspire involvement.

Next to actual events and developments, the second most important ingredient in your nonprofit newsletter is a subtle invitation to get involved. If you can show donors and volunteers how others have had fun, or made progress for an important cause, by giving a little of their time and money, then others will want to follow the example. These suggestions don't have to be overt; you just want to let readers know that what they give to you – financially or otherwise – makes a difference.

3. To stay on donors' minds.

Unfortunate as it might be, there is definitely some truth to the idea that the "squeaky wheel gets the grease." In other words, being in touch with donors every month or two, and including a very short appeal for gifts, isn't a bad idea. That's especially true these days, when there are more nonprofits than ever vying for the same pieces of a shrinking pie. Don't turn your nonprofit newsletter into an all-out fundraising package, but don't be afraid to ask for a gift here or there, either.

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