An email newsletter can be a valuable piece of the marketing strategy for your nonprofit. You have the potential to build a relationship with your supporters, drive traffic to your website, boost donations, and gather volunteers, event goers and other general advocates.
Let’s say you’ve got a healthy list of supporters signed up for your newsletter. Once the newsletter drops into their inbox, you still have to entice them to read it. While your content might be top notch, people are likely to close it back up and disregard it altogether if they find a jumbled mess of information and low-quality images upon opening. It’s important to have an uncluttered, inviting newsletter for your readers to enjoy.
Follow these tips and you’ll be on your way to email newsletter success.
Choose a quality email service provider
A ton of email service providers exist in the world today. Take time to choose one that is intuitive to use, and offers well-designed and easily-customizable email templates.
While there are many great options, we use and recommend MailChimp because it’s easy to work with, and even provides email analytics to help determine the success of your newsletters. Their templates allow users to easily drop in content, edit copy, and even add buttons and clickable social media icons.
Choose a template
When choosing a newsletter template, it’s a good idea to seriously consider a responsive option so that anyone, anywhere can easily read your information whether they’re at their desk, out running errands, or riding the bus to work.
The cleaner the template design, the better. Your nonprofit’s message should stand out, and be easily readable.
Customize your template to match your brand
People get a lot of emails on a daily basis. Customize your template to match your brand so people recognize it as belonging to your organization right off the bat.
Give your logo a home toward the top of the newsletter. This is an easy way to make sure your organization is at the front and center of your email template.
Include your nonprofit’s brand colors throughout the newsletter to bring your visual identity full circle. Possible places to incorporate your organization’s colors are in the background, header and even in section headings.
Incorporate information hierarchy
Information hierarchy is simply a fancy term for putting your content in an order that makes sense. Do you have an important event coming up? Do you need to drive canned good donations for the holidays? Put your most urgent message at the top of your newsletter so people see it first. Organize the rest of your content from most important to least important.
Introduce a few key images
Photos and graphics are great to incorporate into your email newsletter, but try not to go crazy. Add too many images and your newsletter might begin to look busy and cluttered. A few choice, high-quality images can capture a reader’s attention, and lead their eye down the page. Bear in mind that image file sizes should be as small as possible, while still preserving the integrity of the photo, to keep load times fast on all devices.
Write a small blurb about your nonprofit
For people who aren’t as familiar with your organization, it’s a good idea to briefly introduce yourself with a short one to two sentence statement describing who you are, and link to the About page on your website. This doesn’t have to be front and center, but is nice to incorporate after your main content. Bonus points: This also provides more links to your site, which means more potential click-throughs.
Add social sharing links
Give readers the opportunity to share your information and articles with their network of friends and family. Social sharing links make it possible for people to post your article or newsletter information on their own social media profiles.
Include your social media links
Drive supporters to your social media pages to encourage them to keep in touch with your organization, and to help grow your online presence.
Include a donate button
Chances are, you’re accepting, and probably even actively seeking, donations. Add a prominent donate button that takes people directly to the Donate page on your website. If they weren’t thinking about donating before, they could be thinking about it now based on your call to action.
Always make an Unsubscribe link available
Even if this is just a small link in your footer, it’s required by law to allow people to unsubscribe from your email newsletter if they so choose (although hopefully this will be a non-issue with your snazzy new design).
See it in action
The Museum of Modern Art and World Wildlife Fund are great examples of nonprofits using email newsletters to boost their online marketing. Both newsletters are easy to read through, incorporate nice photos and include clear calls to action to support the organization. Check them out below.
Have you created an email newsletter before? Which email service provider do you use, and how do you like it? If you have not used an email newsletter before, are you considering it now? Do you have any email newsletter design tips you’d like to add to our list? Let us know in the comments below.
Image courtesy of Jeff Sheldon