The structure and content of a message will determine the effectiveness of the message and the potential response the reader will have. For us who’s goal or business it is to send out marketing and informational messages via email, social media or regular mail, we know and understand that structure and content can make or break our efforts. However, simply knowing this fact is not enough. We must equip ourselves with the tools and wisdom that leads to a strategy for creating a thoughtful and action provoking message. Nonprofit or charitable organizations have their work cut out for them in our world of marketing messaging.
Did you know that each person in our society, consumes upwards of 5,000 marketing messages daily? We can safely say that the majority of these 5,000 message are not related to nonprofit messaging. So, how do we Do Gooders stand out in the crowd?
Fortunately, for us nonprofit-community building-donor marketing professionals, research has been done on identifying Best Practices for creating effective messaging for our nonprofit newsletters. A successful nonprofit newsletter creation strategy should incorporate these 10 best practices for structuring your newsletter:
1. Prioritize Mobile Design
2. Include no more than 5 Stories describing the heart behind the mission. Be sure to keep Text at a minimum
3. Make it easy to “Donate” via a simple and visible “donate” button or easy to remember URL
4. Include opportunities to connect to social media as well as ease of social sharing
5. Add actual video and/or images supports the text and intensifies the emotional aspect of the content
6. Increase the frequency of your message send out. 3 to 4 times per month is the average
7. Keep the Subject Lines or Title short and it should quickly describe the content of the message
8. Add newsletter opt-ins link
9. Links to compelling visuals that you create and post on social networks
10. For e-newsletters, use a Hosted Email Service and never include pdf’s in an email message
Communicating goals, next steps and how to help
Once you have a solid newsletter structure, then your focus will be content/body of the newsletter.
Including stories, videos and images are a must, however, also including content that tells the reader about your nonprofit goals, membership programs, fundraising efforts, current people involved (teams based efforts), member heroes of the nonprofit and words of encouragement from key organizational leaders are important.
Every supporter should hear weekly or every other week that the mission is alive and well. They should also know specifics of critical funding needs and how to help meet budget goals. Transparency and access to help are themes we see across weekly newsletters.
After your content/body is in place, you’ll want to back an add a extra boost to your newsletter. This boost is called Microcontent. In an nonprofit email marketing guide that was published and available online, an effective way of communicating a message briefly within a newsletter is to use Microcontent. “Microcontent are those small phrases that readers look to first when they are skimming, like subject lines, headlines, and subheadings. Microcontent should be able to stand alone and still communicate a message because it is often displayed on its own, like an article headline displayed on a search result page or the subject line of your emails.”
Catching the attention of potential supporters for a nonprofit charity is not an easy task in our world of 5,000 marketing messages a day. However, there are tools and tactics to use that will increase the potential for new members and new donors to your charity. Drawing new people into your nonprofit community of existing supporters does not have to be a daunting task IF you have a good newsletter strategy in place. Best practices today include a digital/mobile roadmap and how to utilize new technology in a way that makes giving more effective, fun and engaging.
If you’re working on your 2016 newsletter we’d love to talk. Reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org