Over the past few decades email newsletters have become more important to nonprofits. They allow you to be more effective in publicizing activities and helping fundraise. This trend parallels developments in business communications; most firms recognize they lose potential customers without an online presence. Digital newsletters enable you to extend the reach of your campaigns.
Below are 5 reasons why even the most traditionally-minded organizations should harness these opportunities.
1. We live in age of instant communication
Regular newsletters are an excellent way to update supporters on the organization’s activities or distribute promotional materials. Your existing supporters want to stay informed on all the latest events. They may even pass on materials to friends or colleagues to kindle their interest. With most people having an email addresses the preference is to receive newsletters online. The situation is well expressed in the May 2017 magazine of a British charity, “Friends of the Settle-Carlisle Line (FoSCL)”. (www.foscl.org.uk). The editor writes about their plans to send out the magazine as an email newsletter: “we live in an age of instant communication and FoSCL must take account of that and modernize its procedures accordingly.”
2. Appeal to Younger Patrons
The younger the target audience the more important it becomes to use email newsletters. While people over sixty often prefer hard copy publications, the millennial generation expects to get information in digital form.
Emily Dowdle extracted key statistics on young people’s preferences from the Millennial Impact Report. Of particular note are the findings that almost two thirds of those surveyed said they preferred nonprofits to email. Since 87% of this group said they were regular donors there is much to gain from contacting them through their preferred method.
3. Easier to administrate
It is possible to contact a small number of supporters by telephone, but it is impractical to maintain regular contact with larger numbers. This forces some organizations to focus their efforts on their best donors. While it is easy to understand why they have to act this way there is a real risk of alienating other supporters.
Digital newsletters provide a more economical way to reach out to most followers. It is also easy to personalize newsletters to show the organization values each individual’s support.
An extra benefit is their wider use eliminates printing and postage costs.
4. Provides useful marketing data
Email delivery statistics offer ways to measure communications success other mediums do not. For example, you can review email open rates, email deliverability and discover how many recipients mark their emails as spam. If this happens too often you may need to assess the possible causes. Your organization name is not clear in the communication, or the message may not be appealing. If a large number of email deliveries bounce you may need to update your supporters’ details. Without any extra market research you receive valuable data that helps improve campaign success rates.
5. Environmentally friendly
There is universal agreement about the need to follow environmentally friendly polices. Leading businesses promote replacing printed communications with electronic communications wherever possible. Quite a few nonprofits promote environmental issues, but even if this is not a focus you cannot afford to show yourself as indifferent. Showing you care about depleting world timber resources improves an organization’s image. For instance, adding a “Think before printing” message to emails indicates your broad interest in making this world better.
A hard case to refute
The argument in favor of email newsletters is strong. They enable nonprofits to keep both existing and potential new supporters well informed about their work. They offer welcome savings in administrative costs and are more environmentally friendly. Yet, remember not to forget to cater for older supporters who prefer to receive newsletters delivered by their local mailperson.
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