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Nonprofit Newsletter Rescue! Simple Strategies — Big Results

desktop with keyboard and newsletter subscribe page

Does wrangling content for your nonprofit's newsletter feel most like:

a) A walk in the park with a basket full of adorable puppies? 

b) Chasing butterflies through a hurricane? 

c) Herding cats hopped up on catnip? 

If you answered B or C, you're definitely not alone. Countless nonprofit heroes like yourself struggle with crafting compelling content that resonates with your audience.

The good news? Turning your newsletter into an engaging message machine doesn't have to be the most aggravating task on your to-do list. In fact, April happens to be National Letter Writing Month, so it’s the perfect time to tap into the power of written communication and transform that frustration into a powerful newsletter strategy!

The first step on our journey? Figuring out what you want to achieve with your newsletter.

Defining Your Nonprofit Newsletter Goals

Before you start drafting your newsletter, it's important to establish clear goals. These goals act as your roadmap, guiding you toward creating content that resonates with your audience and advances your organization's mission.

Identify Your Targets:

What specific outcomes do you hope to achieve with each newsletter? Here are some common goals to consider:

  • Highlighting Impact: Share powerful beneficiary stories and donor testimonials to showcase the real-world effects of your work.

  • Celebrating Successes: Announce noteworthy milestones achieved in your mission, such as fundraising goals met or program expansions.

  • Mobilizing Support: Generate excitement and participation for upcoming events or volunteer initiatives.

  • Driving Web Traffic: Encourage readers to visit your website for more information, resources, or donation opportunities.

  • Elevating Specific Campaigns: Increase awareness and support for targeted campaigns that need a boost.

Don't try to cram every single goal into one newsletter. Pick just one or two key things you want to accomplish with each issue. This keeps your message focused and easy to understand for your readers. Plus, it makes creating the newsletter less overwhelming for you and your team. 

It's a win-win!

Now that you've set your sights on specific goals, let's talk about who you're aiming those sights at!

Knowing Your Audience and Crafting Relevant Content

Knowing your audience and crafting content that resonates with them is the cornerstone of a successful nonprofit newsletter. Here's how to make your content engaging and relevant:

  • Personalize and Segment:

  • Use customizable fields like the recipient's name to make emails feel personal.

  • Segment your audience based on criteria such as geographical location or donor history for more relevant content.

  • Content Variety and Engagement:

  • Start with a fun fact or trivia to grab attention.

  • Include personal stories and images to create an emotional connection and inspire action.

  • Mix up content with updates, stories, and information relevant to your audience.

  • Building Connections:

  • Focus on relationship-building rather than direct fund requests.

  • Tailor messages to different donor groups to strengthen connections.

  • Use direct, relatable copywriting to build a rapport with readers.

Remember, the goal is to keep your content simple, engaging, and relevant. Powerful images and clear calls to action can significantly boost engagement. 

Now that you've nailed your goals and identified your ideal reader let's ensure your newsletter looks as good as it reads!

Newsletter Design and Layout Best Practices

A visually appealing and well-organized newsletter grabs attention, guides readers through your message, and ultimately inspires action. So, get ready to unleash your inner design whiz with these best practices!

Keep It Clean and Consistent:

  • Use a straightforward layout and a consistent set of fonts.

  • Opt for pre-existing templates or drag-and-drop technology for ease.

Make It Scannable:

  • Incorporate headers, graphics, and images to break up text.

  • Ensure content is easy to scan for quick reading.

Mobile-Friendliness Is Key:

  • Design with mobile users in mind.

  • Use a 16-point font size and ensure the newsletter is responsive on all devices.

Content and Calls to Action:

  • Focus on delivering valuable content; keep it simple, engaging, and concise.

  • Include a clear call to action in every newsletter, making it brief and urgent.

Visual Appeal and Navigation:

  • Use powerful images and short subject lines to evoke emotions and encourage open rates.

  • Strategically place links throughout to drive traffic to your website for more information.

Remember, the goal is to communicate your message effectively, not overwhelm your readers with overly complex designs or content. By adhering to these guidelines, you'll create visually appealing and engaging newsletters for your audience. 

But before you hit "send" on your masterpiece, let's talk about testing and analyzing its performance.

Analyzing and Improving Newsletter Performance

Understanding your newsletter's performance is like having a secret decoder ring—it helps you determine what content resonates and what might need a little rework.

Here are the key metrics to keep an eye on:

  • Open Rates: This stat reveals how many people actually open your newsletter. A high open rate means your subject line and pre-header text are doing a great job of grabbing attention.

  • Click-Through Rates: This tells you how many people clicked on a link within your newsletter. A strong click-through rate indicates your content is engaging and readers are interested in learning more.

  • Bounce Rates: This metric shows the percentage of emails that couldn't be delivered, often due to invalid email addresses. A low bounce rate keeps your subscriber list clean and ensures your message reaches the right people.

By monitoring these metrics, you can gain valuable insights into how your newsletter is performing and make adjustments to maximize its impact. 

You've Got This!

Remember, a killer newsletter is all about providing value to your audience. By following these tips and letting your passion for your cause shine through, you'll be well on your way to crafting newsletters that resonate with your readers and propel your organization forward.

And hey, if you know a fellow nonprofit warrior who might find this guide helpful, forward it their way!  


Kristin Chute head shot

Kristin Chute is a freelance writer with a passion for helping nonprofits increase their reach and impact. She has written for companies offering SaaS solutions, nonprofits directly, and donor loyalty programs.

Kristin believes in the power of nonprofit organizations to change the world. With expertise stemming from her career and personal connection to volunteering at her childhood summer camp, she shares insights to help nonprofits increase their reach, engage supporters, and amplify fundraising efforts.


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