Charity Digital – Topics – How to write amazing newsletters
It would be relatively easy to write any old newsletter each month. But writing one that resonates with your audience — one that informs, engages, and maybe even converts readers into donors — is quite another. Read our suggestions to make sure your newsletter packs a punch.
Why do you want to send a newsletter?
As with any communication, your first step is to clarify their interest. Want to tell existing donors about the great work they support? Want to encourage readers to make regular donations? Or maybe you want your supporters to sign a campaign petition. Having a clear reason will help keep your message focused and focused.
Know your audience
Along with the question above is knowing who your audience is. Are they donors, stakeholders, service users, administrators? Or all of the above? Knowing this will help you tailor content to your audience’s interests and refine your call to action.
Spark their interest
According to Campaign Monitor, nonprofit emails have an open rate of 26.6%. There’s no point in carefully crafting a great newsletter if no one reads it. Give your reader a reason to open it. For example, subject lines like “Summer Newsletter” don’t get people to click eagerly. Instead, try lines like:
“Three Ways You Helped Us Fight Poverty in March”
‘Tara – support us today and your donation will be doubled’
‘You did it!’
What works for one audience may not work for yours. So you’ll have to test what works and try new ideas that work for your reader. For inspiration, see what catches your eye in your own inbox or brainstorm with colleagues. And remember that it’s often easier to write subject lines after you’ve written the main content.
Write a good first line
Most email browsers, both desktop and mobile, display one or two introductory lines of message content. That means it has to work as hard as your subject line. A question can be a great start to hook the reader: “Did you know that in 2021 we helped over 20,000 children get out and into nature? “.
Check the “from” address
It should be obvious that the email is from your organization. You don’t want to give your reader reason to think it’s spam.
Choose a call to action
Try to focus content around a key call to action. Maybe it’s to get people to sign a petition. In this case, focus your content on the story behind it – the situation as it is, what difference their signing will make, and why they need to do it now.
When possible, create a sense of urgency. Once your email is closed, it’s much more unlikely that people will come back to take action.
Make sure it reads well and looks good
Chances are you have a lot to say, but keep your writing concise and focused. On average, people only read 20% of the text on a web page, so every word counts.
You’ll also want to make sure the design is clear and uncluttered – you want it to be as easy as possible for the reader to navigate and not feel overwhelmed by the amount of information.
Use strong images that clearly represent your brand and mission. That way, if the reader doesn’t read a single word, they’ll still have an impression of who you are and what you do.
Make sure it’s accessible
Being inclusive in your newsletter will give you access to a wider readership. Using plain English, ditching jargon, and using alt text for images are all best practices.
And make sure it’s mobile-optimized: 69% of mobile users delete emails that aren’t optimized for the phone. In particular, check the size of your images, as even a slight delay in download time can cause a player to delete.
Send what you say you will send
When readers subscribe to your newsletters, they expect to hear from you regularly. Make sure you meet their expectations. If you said you send a monthly newsletter, send it monthly. Failure to do so will undermine your credibility, especially by sending people more emails than intended, which can be irritating and cause them to unsubscribe.
Make it very clear and easy to unsubscribe. Making it hard for people to unsubscribe can be annoying. If they have to leave, make sure they do so with a good impression of your organization.
Revise and revise
Measure the results of your emails: open, click, bounce, unsubscribe and forward rates. These should give you a clear picture of whether what you’re doing is working for your reader. But also get feedback on the content itself and what kind of information your audience wants to read. Reviewing and improving your newsletter is an ongoing process.