All Laced Up – 5 Simple Tips

 Make Your Email Newsletter More Effective
& Save Time While You Do It
by Ellisha Caplan

DSCF3961If you run a small nonprofit, you may struggle keeping your donors and contacts up to date on what you’re doing – after all, you are so involved in the actual work of your organization that you may feel like you don’t have the time to keep your supporters informed about all the great things that you’re doing.  Don’t miss the forest for the trees – keeping those who care about your organization informed and engaged is crucial to any organization’s long-term success.

These 5 Simple Tips from Shoestring Solutions for Nonprofits will provide you with a few tools to make the most of a monthly or weekly email newsletter, and ensure your email contacts open it up, too!

  1. Less is more – you don’t need to write pages and pages or even paragraph after paragraph about what you are doing – try a bulleted list of the five things you did this week that fulfilled your organization’s mission. If you struggle with staying concise, turn your update into a blog post and put it on your website, asking the reader to click-through to read it in full.  Your regular message can also serve as your regular website update. (See, making life easier for you already!)
  2. Use images. A picture is worth a thousand words.  If you have a great image from your work in the past week or month, use it! (just watch the size and the quantity – images that take too long to download are a no-no)
  3. Always include a Call to Action. This email is your shining opportunity to ask for volunteers for an upcoming program, to request a donation, even to ask folks to invite other people to join your email list! Make the most of it.  That doesn’t mean a laundry list of requests, but a prioritized Call to Action.  I like to include a Donate button on every message.  Depending on your organization’s mission, that may or may not make sense.
  4. Keep it Simple. There are all sorts of fancy templates available to you through Constant Contact or MailChimp, or whatever mass emailing system you have chosen, but you would be well-advised to choose the simplest, one column template you can find! With somewhere between 45 – 70% of all emails viewed on a mobile device or tablet rather than a computer screen, you’re far more likely to get opens when the format is clean enough to be read easily on a smaller screen.
  5. Be Consistent – Writing a weekly or monthly email newsletter will become a habit for you, and reading it will become a habit for your followers, as long as you stick to a schedule. Make sure that, whatever you choose to do, you send at the same time, on the same day of the week.

Shoestring Solutions for Nonprofits is passionate about helping small nonprofits meet their mission.  These 5 Simple Tips are just a taste of how we can help you gain traction with your constituents, raise funds, and make the most impact with limited resources.  Questions?  Contact us:

All Laced Up is Shoestring Solutions for Nonprofits’ semi-monthly blog, covering topics that concern small nonprofits, their leadership, and volunteers.  All LacedUp will offer you ideas and advice on how to get from where you are as an organization to where you want to be.

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