02 May Excellent Newsletters
As a consultant, I end up seeing a lot of newsletters. Many are excellent. Some are good. A few need help. Along the way, I have assembled the following list of aspects I find common to many newsletters I consider excellent.
- Excellent newsletters use line drawings of nature and photos of people. Don’t waste space on landscape or nature photography unless you have the budget to do it really well (think National Geographic). Your audience wants to see photos of themselves, or people they know/recognize, or people like them doing things with the organization.
- Excellent newsletters report on activity that has already happened, not activity that is going to happen. Your audience has invested their money in you, and they will respond when the wisdom of that investment is reinforced. It is reinforced by accomplishments more than by plans.
- Excellent newsletters publish the Board of Directors. Your Board lends the organization credibility – use them.
- Excellent newsletters carry a call to action. Invite feedback, encourage communication, advertise field trips and gatherings, and make it easy for the readers to find more information about things they find interesting. An easy way to do this is to place longer articles on your website and reference the site at the end of each newsletter story.
- Excellent newsletters carry a request for financial support. Use the Director’s letter to request funds for a specific project, print a clip-out membership form, pitch your organization’s planned giving program, and/or fold in a response envelope. In many cases, returns from these solicitations more than cover the costs of the entire newsletter.
For more information about newsletters and other fundraising ideas, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.