Quick Tips for Better Nonprofit Email Newsletters

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10 Surprisingly Easy and Startlingly Effective Ways to Improve Your Nonprofit E-Newsletter

By Kivi Leroux Miller, Nonprofit Marketing Guide.com

Use these ten tips to increase the likelihood that your supporters will read your nonprofit email newsletter and act on what they see in it.

1. Know your audience, ask what they want, and deliver it.

Even though your newsletter readers may be incredibly generous individuals, it's helpful to think of them as very self-centered, selfish people when they are reading your email newsletter. Here's why: if the content isn't immediately relevant and valuable to them as individual human beings, they'll delete it in an instant. We know what's in it for you, but what's in it for them?

Anatomy of a Direct Mail Makeover at U.C. Berkeley

This article first appeared as a series of five posts on Kivi Leroux Miller's Nonprofit Communications blog in November 2007. Those posts have been combined into one article here.

The fundraisers at the University of California at Berkeley (Cal), my alma mater, had a problem: they needed to raise more money from alumni to support the diverse education and research programs where Cal excels, but their current direct mail program wasn't increasing the size of the alumni donor pool. While the standard annual appeal in a letter format did a good job at renewing existing donors, says Virginia Gray, Cal's associate director of annual giving and regional programs, the letters weren't bringing in many new donors.

To learn more about these alumni who weren't currently donating, Cal sponsored some focus groups. "We found that a lot of people felt like going to Cal was a big, impersonal experience and they didn't have the same emotional connections and bonding experiences that you'd find at a smaller university," says Virginia.

Why Your Nonprofit Needs an Annual Report

Writing an annual report for your nonprofit is a great idea. Annual reports can help in many ways. They can communicate not just your activities, but your accomplishments; reinforce your value to existing supporters while attracting new donors; educate influential decisionmakers about your work; recognize special people; and serve as a historical record of your progress.

How the Organizations of America's Most Influential Nonprofit Leaders Are Marketing Their Programs

Nonprofit Times publishes an annual "2011 Power and Influence Top 50" -- the nonprofit executives it says are the sector's top thinkers, innovators, and leaders. We were curious how the organizations these people work for market themselves, so we compiled some links for you. You'll find links to the organization's main web site, annual reports, newsletters, press rooms, and donate pages, when we could find them. The list is now in alphabetical order by organization, instead of in the order Nonprofit Times used.