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Nonprofit Newsletter: How to Write One that Builds Trust and Inspires Subscribers

It’s one of those things we’re always going to preach at Nonprofit-Apps. 

Having a nonprofit newsletter is a sure-fire way to build trust and develop relationships with your supporters. 

But going about creating one? That can feel overwhelming! 

And that’s exactly why we’ve come up with a guide to help you write one that helps you reach your nonprofit goals:

A young person has his laptop open in front of him while reading a nonprofit monthly newsletter email

What is a Nonprofit Newsletter and Why Should You Have One? 

A nonprofit newsletter is different from a nonprofit fundraising email campaign. But if you’re using email marketing to grow your organization, then you should use both types of campaigns! 

So, where do the two differ? A nonprofit fundraising email campaign is designed to ask for donations or another type of support. That’s the primary goal of those kinds of campaigns. 

But your newsletter is a little bit different. Yes, you can have a link in your email to ask your supporters to donate! But that’s not the main goal of the newsletter. 

Instead, your newsletters should be working to build trust with your nonprofit email list subscribers! By taking the time to give them valuable information, catch them up on the great work you’re doing, and respond to their emails, you can create a tribe of supporters who adore your organization! 

But if you only ever send them fundraising emails, they may feel like they’re only wanted for one thing – the money in their pockets. 

Your nonprofit newsletter is the key tool to build trust, connect with, and inspire your subscribers to take action! 

What Should Your Nonprofit Newsletter Have? 

We know what it is and why you should have one, but what should you include in your nonprofit newsletter? 

That’s a great question, and we’d love to tell ya. 

Your newsletter is a little bit more relaxed than your nonprofit donation emails. In your newsletter, you can send them anything you want about your mission! 

Here are a few nonprofit newsletter best practices to try out: 

  • Update them on what your mission accomplished in the previous month
  • Showcase special volunteers who have gone above and beyond in their contributions to your organization
  • Educate readers on recent news in the cause you’re trying to help
  • Highlight a member of the month or staff member of the month
  • Tell a special donor story you want to share 

The ideas are endless, here! But all in all, they’re doing one major thing – building a bond with your readers. 

Your readers want to be involved in what you do. They want to know how their money is being spent on your cause. And these monthly newsletters for your organization are the way to go about it! 

What is a Good Nonprofit Newsletter Name?

Oh, excellent question! Coming up with awesome nonprofit newsletter names can be tricky. Because you may want to use some clever wordplay that incorporates your mission, but you also want to be super clear about what your subscribers are signing up for! 

Having a creative nonprofit newsletter name will help yours stand out from the sea of other newsletters your subscribers can sign up for. 

Plus, they create more of a sense of community for your nonprofit subscribers! They’ll feel like they’re a part of something (and they are!) 

Here are some tips on coming up with a catchy nonprofit newsletter name: 

Use Rhyming Words

Rhymes roll right off the tongue, and they’re more memorable than most! So if you want to use rhyming words, here’s where to start: 

Choose one root word that pertains to your mission or cause. Use that word to go off when brainstorming your rhyming nonprofit newsletter name. 

And there’s no shame in using tools to help! Try out rhymezone.com to get the creative juices flowing. 

Try Using Alliteration

Who doesn’t love a great alliteration? If you’re racking your brain back to 11th grade English class, alliteration is when you use multiple words that all start with the same sound. 

And, just like rhyme schemes, alliterations make for excellent nonprofit newsletter names! There’s something so pleasing to the ears when people say it. 

A Play on Words Approach

Next on the list – try using a play on words approach. There’s something so satisfying about a punny, clever nonprofit newsletter name. 

Find a root word from your mission or cause. Then create a name that uses a double meaning with that word! 

An example: 

  • The Dog Ear – a name for an animal shelter
  • Deep Dive – a name for an organization focused on ocean conservation
  • Helping Hands – a for an organization that focuses on their community

How to Write Nonprofit Newsletter Subject Lines

Once you’ve come up with the name, it’s time to start brainstorming nonprofit newsletter subject lines! 

We recommend as you’re getting started, creating a spreadsheet where you jot down all of your ideas. You never know when you might come up with a newsletter idea that’s perfect for a subject line! And the last thing you want to do is have a great one but forget it later. 

Nonprofit newsletter subject lines need to do a couple of things to make sure your email gets opened: 

  • They need to stand out from the rest of the hundreds of emails your subscribers get each day
  • They need to share just a snippet of what’s inside your email
  • They need to use words that don’t keep people from opening your emails

Mailchimp reported that using “help,” “reminder,” and “percent off” all hurt your chances of having your nonprofit email opened. So stay away from using those! 

Here are some nonprofit newsletter best practices for subject lines to help yours get opened: 

  • Pique the reader’s curiosity with an “open loop.” You want them to read your subject line and say, “I have to know more about this!” 
  • Stand out from the inbox by using all lowercase letters in your nonprofit newsletter subject line
  • Personalize it by adding the subscriber’s first name to the subject line. Do this sparingly! Otherwise, they’ll feel like it’s just spam. 

You should also pay attention to the emails you open in your own inbox! What are the ones that grab your attention immediately? What are they doing in their email subject lines that make you say, “well I’m definitely going to open this.” See if you can apply some of those practices to your own! 

How to Format a Nonprofit Newsletter?

With your newsletter named and the subject line written, now it’s time to format everything correctly! 

We highly recommend using a nonprofit email marketing software to help you format your newsletters in the best possible way. 

But here are some things to keep in mind as you’re making them look spectacular: 

Include Your Branding Elements

When a subscriber opens up your newsletter, you want them to immediately recognize it’s from your nonprofit organization. 

And according to Tailor Brands, color and branding elements improve recognition by up to 80%! 

Right from the get-go, have your nonprofit’s logo at the top of the email. You may also want to include a couple of your brand colors, too. And of course, keep the fonts to a minimum. You should have a consistent body copy font, and you may want to have a different font for the headers. 

Add Links Throughout

Your newsletter is a part of your overall nonprofit email marketing strategy! So don’t be afraid to use it the way it’s intended – to drive engagement. 

Have appropriate links throughout the content in your nonprofit newsletter. That means, if you’re talking about your mission, include a link to your “Our Story” page on your nonprofit website

If you want your subscribers to engage with your nonprofit social media platforms, then be sure to link to them in your newsletter! 

These are a little bit more relaxed in terms of links than your fundraising email counterparts. Since the goal is often to have them engage more with your nonprofit overall, you can include more links throughout the copy! 

Don’t Send Huge Chunks of Text

Oooh, there is nothing like opening up an email to be greeted by a huge wall of text. That is the perfect way to have your nonprofit subscribers’ eyes glaze right over. 

And that’s even more true for readers using a mobile phone. (By the way, this is your sign to make sure your nonprofit newsletters are mobile-friendly!) 

As you’re putting the email copywriting into your email builder, be sure to include plenty of white space. Try not to use more than 2-3 sentences per paragraph. 

Be Sure to Use a CTA, Always!

And don’t forget – always, always, always use a call to action! Direct your readers on where to go next. 

Think of the main goal of your newsletter for the month. Do you want them to get in touch to volunteer? Send them to that page, then! Do you want them to purchase tickets for an upcoming virtual fundraising event? Give ‘em a button to click to take them there! 

Never forget your CTA! 

How Regularly Should You Send Your Newsletter Emails? 

Another great question! And one that has a little bit of a … loose answer. 

You want to send your newsletter emails regularly for three reasons: 

  1. To Continue building trust and a relationship with your readers
  2. To make sure you’re readers know when to expect your newsletter
  3. To keep your organization top of mind when your readers are ready to make a contribution 

But, you don’t want to send your newsletters so often that your readers feel like you’re bombarding them with emails. 

And you don’t want to come up with a schedule to send out your nonprofit newsletters, only to realize it’s too much, get burnt out, and never send one again. 

So, make sure you choose a schedule that works for your nonprofit! Many organizations choose to send out a monthly newsletter. Then they may have a nonprofit email fundraising campaign they send out once a month, too. 

But if a monthly newsletter still feels too daunting, then try sending out a quarterly newsletter instead! Either way, choose something you can stick to. 

We know writing nonprofit newsletters can feel intimidating or overwhelming. But we’re here to try and take as much headache out of it as possible! 

And based on the statistics we have for nonprofit online fundraising, email marketing is a sure-fire way to build the trust and relationships with your subscribers that you’re hoping for! 

Want more related to this? Check out these posts! 

9 Easy Ways to Build an Email List for Your Nonprofit Organization

11 Nonprofit Email Marketing Best Practices to Improve Your Strategy

4 Best Email Marketing Software for Nonprofits to Bring in More Donations

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