Making the Most of Your Nonprofit Newsletter

nonprofit newlsetter

If you’re in charge of your nonprofit newsletter, there’s a good chance that content creation and writing articles are continually on your “To Do” list. About two-thirds of nonprofits send out print newsletters, typically each quarter. On top of that, more than 40% of organizations are sending monthly email updates. Are you approaching content burnout?

Here are a few nonprofit newsletter tips that can help you consistently leverage your content across more channels, saving you time and energy by making your good work last longer.

Don’t Lock Up Your Best Content for Print

Because of the costs associated with sending a print newsletter, it makes sense that you’d want to hold your best stories until the next issue. But why wait? Most people aren’t digesting each piece of communication that you send or post, so there’s no danger in publishing a story on your website’s blog and then talking about it from a different perspective in your next issue. Also remember that writing for the web and for print are very different tasks, so ignore that urge to copy and paste!

When you wait, you put the relevance of your news at risk. Take the breadcrumb approach and allow people to follow along by sharing pieces of stories over time in print and digital. When done well, you’ll look coordinated, not repetitive.

Use Your Blog as a Publishing Platform

Continually updating your website is a tough task when you have more pressing marketing projects. So why not let your nonprofit newsletter do the work? Use your blog as a publishing platform by posting each of your print and email newsletter articles separately – and not held hostage in a PDF! Search engines will reward the freshness of your site, and people can easily zero in on the latest news and updates.

Another benefit of this approach is that each story will have a digital anchor that you can link to on social media. Pick a relevant photo and put together some teaser text to accompany the link back to your blog.

Get Creative with Nonprofit Newsletter Content

Do you find yourself using the same format for each article in your newsletter? If you’re bored by the repetition, it’s a safe assumption that your readers are, too. Luckily, variety works for print and digital. Try out some types of newsletter content that show your audience that you care about the same things:

  • Lists of interesting facts or quotes about your issue
  • Book review that relates to the story or approach of your work
  • Announcement about an upcoming awareness day and how to get involved
  • How-to tutorial or DIY project that helps the community you serve

Moving beyond the traditional “article” frees you up to share your content in new ways, especially when it comes to re-purposing on social media and email. You’re also more likely to engage people when you offer them some kind of extra value or resource like in the examples above.

Ditch the President’s Message

Building on the previous tip, it’s time to rethink the ever-present message from your nonprofit’s Executive Director. If it’s not something that’s useful outside of your newsletter, is it really carrying its weight? A good “message from the president” helps your organization seem more relevant, inspiring and real. But more often than not, it’s like a table of contents in paragraph form.

Here’s another test: is it something that your Board president would want to share on their personal LinkedIn account? Unless it has some strong thought leadership that you (and others) can leverage, start thinking about a new direction or filling that space with newsletter content that matters to more people.

Follow Up on Your Best Stories

Now that you’re making your newsletter content available online, you also have the bonus ability to measure how it’s doing! Not only that, you can specifically track which stories lead to donations. Make a note in your editorial calendar to follow-up on the top performing content in a few weeks or months as a way to republish it and provide new details. You can also use this data to do an “in case you missed this” round-up blog post or email that shares the most popular recent stories.

Creating content for your nonprofit newsletter shouldn’t be a dead-end task. Make it work for you by planning in advance to share it on your blog, social media and by email. When you think beyond print and a last minute email update, you’ll start to see that your newsletter better serves your marketing goals and your readers.

What are some other ways that nonprofits can re-purpose their newsletters? Do you have any tricks to creating newsletter content that goes the extra mile? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.