Coming up with article ideas for your nonprofit's newsletter is easy if you plan ahead, using an editorial calendar. An editorial calendar is a simple grid that helps you plan what you'll write about, when you'll write it, and where you'll publish it. Download a sample editorial calendar.
Every month of the year includes holidays and annual occasions that are easy to tie into, and best of all, you can write many of these stories in advance, rather than rushing around at deadline time trying to figure out what to do.
January. New Year's Day -- What New Year's resolutions would you like someone to make that are related to your cause? Martin Luther King Jr's Birthday -- Can you tie your work into the need for leadership or social justice?
February. Valentine's Day -- Who or what related to your good cause do you love and why? Are there creative ways that people can express their love for each other while supporting your cause? February also includes Groundhog Day and President's Day.
March. The first day of Spring -- what signs of renewal do you see in your field? You can also tie in your annual report with a looking back/fresh start theme. March also includes St. Patrick's Day, and the start of Daylight Savings Time (spring forward!)
April. April Fool's Day -- you can do a funny spoof or just talk about the "foolish" things people do. Easter and Earth Day also supply opportunities for story connections.
May. Mother's Day, Armed Forces Day, and Memorial Day let you tie into motherhood, the military, and honoring those who have passed away. Graduation day can also work for stories about college students or people moving on in some way.
June. School's out and the first day of Summer! What can kids do over the summer to help your cause? Don't forget Father's Day and Flag Day too. Here are few additional ideas for summer articles.
July. Independence Day -- Who or what deserves a fireworks celebration of their own? Can you celebrate something related to the concepts of freedom or independence?
August. Back to school . . . how about something related to back to basics or studying up, such as new research you are reviewing? A "Dogs Days of Summer" theme can also work.
September. Labor Day -- who can you thank for all of their hard work on your cause? The first day of Fall is also in September.
October. Halloween -- what's the scariest thing you see or what frightens you about your work?
November. There's Thanksgiving of course, which is a nice time to say Thank You to your supporters. But you also have Veteran's Day and the end of Daylight Savings time to consider (fall back!).
December. It's the season of giving, and all nonprofits should be working on year-end-appeal campaigns. December also includes the first day of Winter.
Also consider these special occasions:
Changes in weather. Have stories prepared for what turns out to be the first heat wave or the first hard freeze of the year.
Religious holidays. When appropriate for your audience, consider the major holidays of the Christian, Jewish, Muslim and other faith communities.
Thousands of specially designated days, weeks, and months. Chase's Calendar of Events is the go-to guide, but you can find the list of Special Months here for free. You can find many other lists, often created for teachers, by searching on "special days calendar"
For example, the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) highlights these special days on the calendar it sends to supporters, and they will build some of their messaging around them:
- February 3: NWF's Anniversary
- May 21: Endangered Species Day
- June 26: Great American Backyard Campout