When you are deciding on a newsletter for your nonprofit, make sure you understand:
- The audience you are writing for. Will you concentrate on your clients, the families of your clients, the wider public (to educate them about the issues your clients face), donors or staff? Your newsletter can reach out to more than one audience; but if you try to appeal to your clients, their families, the public, your staff and your donors in the same article, you will lose focus and appeal to no one.
- The best way to reach the audience. You may not have email addresses for every person you want to contact. Do you need two newsletters, one email and one print? When you gather contact information, do you need to emphasize email addresses over mailing addresses? Or will your audience pay more attention if the newsletter arrives by mail rather than email?
- The resources available. If you have limited money and limited staff, an email newsletter may fit your resources best. Also, with an email newsletter you can link articles from the newsletter to information online, making double use of written materials, including blog posts. When considering resources, remember the time commitment. You might want to start with a twice yearly newsletter, move to quarterly and then decide if a heavier publication schedule is doable.
- The tone. Are you going to emphasize facts? personal anecdotes? day-to-day operations? Will you focus on your staff, your philosophy or the latest news in your field? Will you identify contributors or keep them anonymous?
- The reality. Many first-time newsletter writers are unaware that letters to the editor are rarely sent; do not expect a dialog through your newsletter (social media sites are more likely to attract comments than newsletters). Your newsletter is one more tool to raise awareness; by itself, it has limited power. Use it to market your website, Twitter and Facebook accounts, your achievements and your special events; and use those accounts, achievements and events to market your newsletter.
For help in launching or re-inventing your newsletter, contact TWP Marketing & Technical Communications. We’ll make sure you get the word out.