The first months of the year offer opportunity to reflect upon past endeavors and create fresh approaches to meeting your goals. As your nonprofit focuses on budgets, strategic plans and event schedules, include communication strategies in your top priorities.
Virtual newsletters keep your supporters up-to-date on all of your accomplishments and upcoming events. Those who give their time and money to your cause want to know what you are up to and how they can stay involved. Sending out a monthly or quarterly newsletter keeps your donors and volunteers inspired and committed to your mission.
Tips and hints to crafting an engaging newsletter:
1. Make it mobile friendly. People check their emails via phone more than ever and your mobile newsletter should be aesthetically pleasing and easy to navigate.
2. No Easter egg newsletters. Align your color palette and fonts to your branding and/or logos, and streamline them so your reader’s focus is on your message. Don’t overly use background and text colors, and don’t mix your fonts.
3. Cull down your content. Make each blurb concise and leave the reader wanting a little more with a link to the full story on your website.
4. State your call to action. Are you asking people to share your information? To sign up for an event? To donate? Make yourself clear.
5. Don’t over communicate. Overload your reader with too much information and you risk losing their attention.
6. Look at the overall picture. Choose stories for their individual worth and the way they complement one another, and be strategic about the order in which you deliver them.
7. If you can, pay for stock photos or for a professional photographer to create a portfolio. This will save you from potential angst in the future. Be aware of copyright laws and use photographs only with permission.
8. Edit and preview. Check links, label photograph descriptions and confirm dates and times of events. Make sure all of your versions are telling the same story (HTML, design, etc) and email the preview to yourself to catch any glitches (don’t forget to check the mobile version!). Like any type of communication, get a fresh set of eyes on it before sending it out.
9. Stick to a reliable calendar. Believe it or not, your readers will get used to receiving your newsletters at consistent times. Plus, a calendar with deadlines puts accountability and rigor in your storytelling work.
10. Evaluate your capacity to communicate. Don’t start a regular newsletter until you are able to keep up with it.
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This article first appeared on the Give Back Tahoe page in Sierra Sun’s 2/10/2016 edition. To learn more about local nonprofits and TTCF, be sure to pick up your copies every Wednesday.