Does your email newsletter need an update?

Email newsletters are an important part of fundraising and nonprofit marketing.
Date Published
02/17/2014

Reaching out to donors requires a great deal of tact. Nonprofit management professionals can’t have a heavy hand when it comes to interacting with contributors and people who are interested in their organization. Each donor has a specific set of preferences which can affect the way a charitable group communicates with them. Specifically, email newsletters are an important and subtle aspect of fundraising that’s likely in need of an update.

According to a recent Entrepreneur article, there was a time when e-newsletters were an incredibly efficient resource for many organizations. As open rates have diminished from 25 percent to the lower limits of 5 percent, nonprofits have come to realize that donors, board members and various interested individuals want an updated newsletter. Here are several avenues that philanthropic groups can pursue to strengthen their email newsletters:

1. Motivate readers
The people who have subscribed to a newsletter are looking for something more than statistics. According to Network for Good, it’s important for the newsletter to provide additional value. For instance, including calls-to-action for community events or highlighting volunteer opportunities can create a more compelling format.

2. Incorporate digital resources
It’s guaranteed that donors are reading an organization’s e-newsletter while connected to the Internet, which makes integrating digital links and resources incredibly effective. Instead of simply including information about an upcoming fundraiser, it’s a smart idea to link to any social network that a nonprofit uses. This way, donors can spread awareness among their family, friends and colleagues.

3. Stay on point
Nonprofit groups should avoid filling their email newsletter with too much information. In all likelihood, there were previous newsletters and there will be more to follow, so don’t try to cover a year’s worth of information in a single mailer. E-newsletters must be consumable for readers – a 20-page document would be cumbersome for most people. Focus on two or three initiatives and use the electronic format to reach out to existing and prospective donors.

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