One of the most effective ways for nonprofits to communicate with supporters before the days of computers was newsletters. These would keep followers up-to-date on the work the organization had done, and would often be sent quarterly.
With the rise of the Internet came the rise of eNewsletters. With the change in format came a change in expectations, so the old ways of communication simply won’t cut it anymore.
In “Nonprofit Management 101,” Kivi Leroux Miller, president of NonprofitMarketingGuide.com, wrote that too many nonprofits are sending out eNewsletters that read like print newsletters. That means they look back at the past quarter rather than looking ahead to the weeks and months to come. They also tend to be too long, between 2,000 and 4,000 words instead of a couple of stories totaling 500 and 1,000 words.
These changes in style don’t just apply to electronic communications. Leroux Miller wrote that regardless of which platform you use, you should update your newsletter strategy. She suggested five techniques to keep your supporters happy and informed:
- Frequency: Send fewer words, more often.
- Look Forward: Preview more, review less.
- Personality: More of them, less of you.
- Next Steps: More action, less FYI.
- Integration: More planning, less improv.
You can adjust these five elements depending on what is right for your nonprofit. You’ll need to find a comfortable balance, so try experimenting with your initial newsletters.