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Staying In Touch ...
the Power of Email Newsletters

by Matt Ward

Email newsletters are a great way to stay in touch with your audience, and ensure you stay top of mind on a regular basis. Newsletters by email are easy, inexpensive, they promote your organization on a regular basis and they add to your overall marketing mix by providing you extra face time with your audience. So what’s the best strategy for conducting an email newsletter campaign? Here are a few suggestions that keep your emails out of the deleted folder:

  • Have a purpose: Promote the worthwhile nature of your mission. Don’t clog constituents email boxes with a list of fundraising events every month. Sell your organization by promoting the good works you do. Your mission will ultimately convince people to donate funds. Constantly asking them to participate in events or donate in other ways by email will surely get future communications deleted. You want your emails to be read. Provide mission-centric content along with ways they can help support your cause.

  • Create a great subject line: Make the recipient want to open your newsletter. Create a subject line that grabs the attention of the recipient. Don’t use lines such as “Email newsletter # 12.” “Breaking news” is okay to use once in a while but don’t overdue it. Try to incorporate your mission and current happenings in the headline. This will increase your open rate.

  • Provide current examples of your mission: Try hard to profile the good works of your organization through the eyes of the people you help. There is no better way of telling the world what you do than by giving them firsthand examples. Give your readers the who, what, where when and of course the why. And, be passionate about what you say. Use strong copy to articulate your mission and share the story of the people your help everyday.

  • Try volunteer profiles: People love to read stories about themselves. They also like to forward those stories. It will get your email opened and will help build your email list. As they are forwarded, it gives you an opportunity to reach more people with your message.

  • Provide links back to the organization’s website: In the actual email, keep your copy to one paragraph and then link them back to your website if they want to read the full article. This keeps the reader interested and drives traffic back to your website where readers can find other valuable information regarding your organization. It is also a great tool in providing your corporate sponsors added visibility if you are actively driving readers back to your site where their logos may be posted.

  • Make your email forward friendly: Make it easy for readers to forward your email by providing a clear link. Also, creating informational, valuable and sometimes funny content will make readers want to forward to friends and colleagues. This will help to build your email list.

Here are a couple quick “don’ts” to help you avoid an ineffective email newsletter campaign.

  • Never send your emails on Monday: As we all catch up from the weekend, there’s a very good chance your email will just end up being deleted in favor of more important emails. Do however, try to send your email newsletter on Tuesday, preferably between 10:00am and 2:00pm. Research has shown this is one of the best times for email newsletters to pop up in someone’s Inbox.

  • Don’t use Outlook to send email newsletters: Bulk emails sent through Outlook can end up in your Spam folder. Use a service such as Constant Contact or another email newsletter provider.

  • Don’t send your newsletter too often: Sending a weekly email newsletter will surely make you an annoyance very quickly. A monthly email is adequate. You can send them twice monthly if you’re providing timely industry insight.

A non-profit organization needs to market just like the for-profit world. You are competing for a limited amount of fundraising dollars so you need to make sure you are doing your best job at reaching anyone who would be interested in hearing your story. That involves the entire marketing mix including internet, email and traditional marketing. Blended well, this mix will help you build tremendous awareness for your cause and ultimately help you raise more money for the people you serve. Email marketing can be a strong part of your mix if done well.

Follow these simple tips and you’ll be well on your way to having an effective email marketing program that will surely reap results for your organization.

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About the Author:

Matt Ward is President & CEO of Central Mass Web Design based in Gardner, MA. The firm has developed internet strategies for many industries including many non-profits. They specialize in overall web design, SEO and marketing strategies. The company’s website is Mr. Ward can be reached at or 978-632-5300.

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