Enewsletters are the bread and butter of online philanthropy.
Yes social media is important – indispensable even – in online fundraising. But remember. . . enewsletters allow you the opportunity to control the message, a luxury social media does not afford.
A great enewsletter can
encourage in-kind donations,
inspire volunteer contributions, and
increase overall awareness.
If you are considering starting an enewsletter or if you want to revitalize your current one, read on. . .
5 Tips for A ROCK SOLID Enewsletter
1) Start with a good list. Your mailing list is the ticket to success. Make sure everyone has opted in and that you are following CAN-SPAM laws. These laws are a bit more lenient for nonprofits than for-profits but don’t be fooled: everyone must opt-in. It is more valuable to have a short list of highly motivated readers than a long list of people who think you’re spam.
2) Provide excellent content. Only send out enewsletters as often as you can provide excellent content. As with social media, it is important that enewsletters not be sales pitches. Here are some ideas nonprofits have used:
- Highlight a donor
- Give a client testimonial
- Feature a volunteer
- Provide an update to a noteworthy program
- Share how things in the world (economy, politics, etc.) affect your clients or your agency
- Share your expertise in the form of tips and resources for the reader
3) Be consistent. If you send out the enewsletters sporadically, people will forget they have signed up. If they forget they signed up, they will opt-out. Bad news. Instead, send the newsletters consistently. Once a month is a good place to start. Only if you have a lot of new, valuable content, should you consider doing it more often. If you are wondering what days and times to send the enewsletter, consider mid-week (Tues, Weds, Thurs) either late morning or early afternoon. You can experiment and see what days/times work best for your list.
4) Don’t fuss about open rates. If you are getting an open rate of 20-30%, you’re doing a good job. We can always strive for better but remember this: even if people don’t open the email, they still see your name. That bit of brand recognition goes a long way.
5) Cross pollinate. Share your enewsletter on your social media accounts. Include in your email signature line a link to the web version. Add a link to your website. It’s okay to include some of the same content on all of these accounts. Just make sure that the content is appropriate for the space – no 500 word Facebook posts.
Enewsletters remain one of the best and least expensive ways to communicate with donors, clients, and the larger community.
If you’d like assistance setting up or revitalizing your enewsletters, email me today at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Got ideas? Share your best tips below!