Nonprofit marketing teams cater to a particular type of audience: those who may be interested in helping to further their cause. That’s why extra care should be put into creating a nonprofit newsletter template.
Defining a newsletter
As many marketers know, a newsletter is typically thrown around as a general form of communication between a brand and its audience. For nonprofits, a newsletter is best defined as a piece of written communication that’s sent out to subscribers at regular intervals.
Typically, newsletters are curated pieces of both original and industry news, tips, and updates. Combining both industry and original topics helps to not only keep your audience fully informed, but shows them that you’re a leader within your nonprofit’s niche.
Email newsletters are also beneficial because they keep your subscribers informed about your work and how you’re making a difference.
Why your nonprofit needs an email newsletter
Email newsletters are a key component of any nonprofit’s marketing strategy. They keep your audience informed and they offer so much to both your brand and your readers.
Especially in the cases of nonprofit organizations, email newsletters bring a sense of humanity back to our inboxes. Readers expect a level of authenticity to the message.
But these types of messages aren’t necessarily trying to sell something. Instead, they try to encourage action for the better—and that requires marketers to keep the reader’s emotions at the front of their mind.
And the best way to do this is through authentic storytelling.
Another reason your nonprofit needs to consider sending an email newsletter is that it helps to build a more reliable, trustworthy relationship with your readers. We already talked about how newsletters can establish your authority in the eyes of readers. With that authority comes a sense of trust and, if someone subscribes to your newsletter, there’s little room for messing up.
Nonprofit newsletter best practices
When it comes down to planning and designing your nonprofit newsletter template, there are several things you’ll want to keep in mind.
You’ll first want to make sure that you’re collecting the right information from your subscribers. While many brands have a limited number of tools at their disposal, nonprofits have several that make collecting subscriber information achievable. Remember, the more information you can collect, the better. It’s this data that allows you to better personalize and curate your content to your readers.
While collecting subscriber data is essential, it’s vital that you’re growing your subscriber list the right way. That means having your readers opt in to receiving your marketing material.
Collecting subscribers any other way can be considered unlawful and a breach of privacy, and you may want to seek legal counsel on your organization’s stance. Now, that’s not to say you can’t add new subscribers to your list following an event that required them to leave their name and email with you. It just means you may want to send an opt-in message before assuming they want to continue receiving emails from you.
Finally, you’ll want to make sure you’re designing your nonprofit newsletter templates with your readers in mind. Remember, the point is to have your newsletters read by everyone on your mailing list, so you’ll want to ensure that you have the following components within your templates:
- A compelling headline
- Clear organization using subheadings and bulleted/numbered lists
- Direct and actionable CTAs
- Compelling/gripping imagery
Inspirational nonprofit newsletter templates to jumpstart your planning process
Now that you understand the importance of a nonprofit newsletter, it’s time to start working on your next nonprofit newsletter template. Read on to discover some of our favorite nonprofit newsletter templates to help jumpstart your planning process.
1. Nashville Humane Association
This example from the Nashville Humane Association stood out to us for several reasons. The marketing team did an excellent job of including their branding through the use of color. The reds and blues help readers quickly identify who this message is from.
Another noteworthy feature of this nonprofit newsletter template is the use of images. The Nashville Humane Association included these images as a way of asking for donations during their 2015 Giving Tuesday campaign and, as any marketing expert knows, images can go a long way in convincing someone to act.
2. UNICEF New Zealand
UNICEF New Zealand makes use of a more traditional newsletter layout, but also does a great job of using brand colors and sharing news from the organization. This example, again, makes excellent use of imagery to evoke certain emotions in readers as they see the latest updates.
Not only does this nonprofit newsletter highlight the efforts of their organization and their supporters, but they aren’t afraid to hit at the heartstrings with lines such as, “Untold numbers of children still urgently need our help.”
Good copywriting and imagery go hand in hand. So, as we read those lines and look at the faces of the children the organization is trying to help, we’re compelled to want to help them as well, which may result in more donations.
3. To Write Love On Her Arms
The nonprofit organization To Write Love On Her Arms leads with imagery instead of copy in its nonprofit newsletter template. Pictures are worth a thousand words, and To Write Love On Her Arms knows it. Each image that they include packs a punch, leading readers through the email with little effort in the way copywriting.
While stellar copywriting plays a significant role in the storytelling process that many nonprofits rely on, the right imagery can speak volumes. So don’t be afraid to prioritize images and videos, as long as they’re telling the right story.
4. St. Baldrick’s
One common misconception is that nonprofits need to focus their fundraising efforts only on the holiday season and end of year. That simply doesn’t hold up. Many nonprofits capitalize on other major holidays, like this example from St. Baldrick’s Foundation.
St. Baldrick’s does a wonderful job of capitalizing on Mother’s Day. Not only do they use colors to send a bright and cheerful message, but they also include a blog that focuses on motherhood. Even better, they share an announcement that their Mother’s Day ecard was drawn by a young girl, making it an adorable handmade creation to share with the mother in your life.
Source: Really Good Emails
The Wildfowl & Wetland Trust also does an excellent job of capitalizing on the events outside of the end of the year and the winter holidays. Nonprofits can and should play around with various holidays and seasonality in their various campaigns to help keep their fundraising efforts alive year round.
In this example, the WWT use flamingos as their topic of choice to raise awareness around Valentine’s Day. Instead of sharing multiple blogs on flamingos, the WWT treat their readers to Five ways to flirt like a flamingo as a way of showcasing various traits and mannerisms.
6. Charity: Water
Finally, we turn our attention to a rather simplistic nonprofit newsletter design created by Charity: Water. This example stood out to use because of its excellent use of copywriting as well as its use of whitespace.
Whitespace often scares beginners in design, as it’s seen as wasted space. In actuality, it’s an excellent design principle. When used well, whitespace helps focus a reader’s attention. In the case of this nonprofit email newsletter, it helps us focus in on not only the limited copywriting, but also the CTA button.
Charity: Water uses their limited copy to pack a punch, which then compels readers to want to act, and, in this case, acting means donating.
Source: Really Good Emails
When it comes time to plan out and design your next nonprofit newsletter template, don’t let yourself get overwhelmed. Instead, keep these tips in mind:
- Collect the right information from your subscribers to help better curate and create content to get them to act.
- Use opt-in forms to ensure you’re collecting your email subscribers correctly and with their permission.
- Design with your readers in mind to ensure you’re providing them with open worthy material.
Need a little more guidance on creating the best email marketing strategy for your nonprofit? Then make sure to check out our Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing for Nonprofits.