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5 Questions Nonprofits Need to Ask Before Sending an Email Newsletter

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Standing tall in the inbox as a nonprofit organization requires a unique approach to the email marketing process. Unlike your retail counterparts, this practice isn’t always about selling a product or capturing leads thanks to a discount or offer. Instead, you’re in the business of driving people to make a difference by helping out with an important cause or charitable opportunity.

With this in mind, let’s look at the five questions that every nonprofit needs to ask itself before sending out an email newsletter. This way, you can rest easy knowing that you’re always connecting with donors and other interested parties in a way that imparts the significance of your cause in an impactful – and effective – manner.

Is Your Message Valuable?

The first question to ask yourself and your team of email marketing experts, according to Jimmy Daly of Marketing Land, focuses on whether or not your message is valuable. Naturally, determining the value of a message can come down to subjective measures, but the big key here is that your newsletter emphasizes stats, facts, and figures at the expense of fluff and filler.

Donors want to commit to a cause, but often need a nudge in the right direction. By offering up the value of your nonprofit’s mission throughout the various pieces that make up your newsletter, it won’t be long before readers that would otherwise flip past this offering take the time to make a contribution or support your cause in some other way, shape, or form.

Does Your Newsletter Content Tell a Story?

Going a step farther, it’s also a good idea to question how you’re imparting this value. Is it offered up in an easily digestible and intriguing manner – say a human interest story? Or are you just listing off stats and figures without any real context? The difference might not seem like much initially, but the gap between these two approaches is actually quite expansive.

Fitting your message into an appealing shell that helps create a story or narrative is a powerful marketing practice that works on virtually any platform. However, it’s especially potent in the inbox. People enjoy connecting to specific personalities and personas, so give your viewership what it wants by telling the best story possible as you promote your nonprofit or charitable cause.

Can You Fit Some Humor into This Offering?

Marketing expert John Haydon also offers up the suggestion to look into what role humor might play in your upcoming email newsletters. Naturally, humor doesn’t fit every message, but adding in some fun or lighthearted inclusions in a tactful manner can help differentiate your offering from the more serious and bland selections found in the inbox. Even if you simply recount a funny “behind the scenes” event at the office, working-in humorous anecdotes humanizes your content and provides relatable material for your audience to consume.

Are You Speaking in the Donor’s Language?

Before you hit send, take a moment to ask yourself, “Am I speaking the language of my donors?” As the HubSpot Blog’s Gretchen Barry points out, skipping the formal language and reaching out to your inbox readers in a more approachable manner goes a long way toward increasing donations and retaining the attention of these benefactors.

It’s important to note that this isn’t a free license to rely upon jargon and text-speak – like “lol” – in your newsletters. You’ll still want to produce a quality newsletter that retains a professional appeal, even if you do skip out on some of the drier body copy for a more conversational tone.

Would You Read This Newsletter?

Finally, don’t be afraid to sit down and honestly debate whether or not you would actually read your newsletter if you were on the other side of the screen. From making changes to the editorial style of this offering, to realizing that your chosen template isn’t visually appealing, there are plenty of improvements that can come out of an honest critiquing session. As scary a proposition as this may be for some nonprofit managers, you’re better offer facing these fears now and addressing any concerns that arise from this practice before your newsletter ends up in the inboxes of donors and other members of your community.

If you’re able to answer this tough question, as well as the others offered up here, then there’s no reason why your next newsletter can’t generate a substantial amount of support for your nonprofit and the underlying cause that means so much to you and the other members of your organization.

About Victor Green

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