Nonprofit Newsletter Examples, Ideas & Benefits

Written by: Scott Cohen

Published on: 07-10-2024

Scott is the CEO at InboxArmy and has more than 20 years of experience in email marketing.

Newsletters are a key part of every brand’s email marketing strategy, and nonprofit organizations are no different. They’re a great way to encourage users to donate or volunteer. Plus, they help retain existing donors and volunteers.

To ensure you have a highly effective nonprofit newsletter, we’ll:

  • Take you through the benefits.
  • Explain how to create one.
  • Give you 10 amazing newsletter ideas.
  • Highlight five of the best newsletter examples we’ve come across.

Nonprofit Newsletter Benefits

non profit newsletter benefits

Every nonprofit organization should have a newsletter. Why?

Here are just a few of the benefits:

  • Building a community: A newsletter is an excellent way to create a sense of community and belonging among your stakeholders and supporters. When they receive regular updates, they feel like they’re truly a part of something.
  • Raising awareness: Newsletters are one of the easiest ways to increase awareness of your nonprofit’s programs, mission, and achievements. As more people become aware of your amazing work, you should hopefully see an increase in donations.
  • Engaging your donors: Newsletters allow you to showcase the real-world impact of donors’ contributions. It shows them why their donations are so important and meaningful, which can improve donor retention rates.
  • Recruiting volunteers: Your newsletter is also the perfect place to share and highlight volunteer success stories and opportunities for new members to join your organization. This can help you recruit volunteers to take part in your organization’s work.
  • Raising money: Your newsletter can be used to promote upcoming events aimed at fundraising and can form a key part of your donation drives. In fact, 26% of donors say they’re most inspired to donate to nonprofits by email marketing, which makes it the most successful digital marketing channel, just ahead of social media (25%).
  • Demonstrating transparency: Transparency is absolutely vital for nonprofit organizations as your donors want to know exactly how their money is being used. With a newsletter, you can deliver progress updates, financial reports, and future plans straight to donors’ inboxes.
  • Increased traffic: As with all types of newsletters, a charity newsletter can boost traffic to your site. Users are more likely to engage with your site content when you link to it from a relevant email.

A nonprofit is an essential communications tool that helps to nurture relationships with your existing donors, volunteers, and potential donors. This can lead to increased donations, better engagement, and more awareness of your organization and its work.

How To Create Newsletters For Nonprofits

Creating nonprofit newsletters isn’t much different from creating other types of newsletters. Many of the same principles apply. For example, you should always ensure that your newsletter provides value to the reader by offering relevant and engaging content.

You need to make sure it addresses common pain points that potential donors have. For instance, they may be concerned that their contributions won’t make much of a difference or that only a small percentage of their donation will be used for charitable purposes.

A successful newsletter provides information to help potential donors overcome these objections. This could involve something like including a case study that shows how donations have had a positive impact on a deprived community over a period of time.

Your newsletter should also:

  • Be tailored to align with the interests and needs of your target audience.
  • Be designed to achieve clear goals such as recruiting volunteers or increasing donations.
  • Be optimized for both desktop and mobile devices.
  • Include eye-catching visuals and dynamic content.
  • Be properly structured and formatted. If you use an email marketing platform, you could consider using a newsletter template to make this easier.
  • Include internal links to relevant articles on your website and external links to reputable sources.

10 Nonprofit Newsletter Ideas

non profit newsletter ideas

What are the best ways of crafting a newsletter to get these benefits? Here are 10 newsletter ideas you can use to achieve the maximum effect.

1. Promote upcoming events

One of the primary functions of them is to promote upcoming events your organization is hosting or is involved with in some way. Of course, the types of events you’re involved with will vary greatly depending on the type of nonprofit you run.

It could be something like a volunteer tree-planting day or a virtual fundraising gala.

Whatever event it is, ensure your newsletter includes the date, time, and a clear call-to-action button that encourages users to sign up for it.

2. Provide project updates

One of the most important things charity newsletters can do is keep your donors and supporters updated with the progress of specific projects.

Donors often contribute money toward particular projects because they feel a deep connection with the goal of that project. They’ll be eager to learn how their donations have helped your organization move closer toward that target.

For example, you could share a detailed update on the progress of building a school in a developing country. Within the newsletter, there would be before and after photos of the building site as well as excerpts from interviews with volunteers on the ground.

3. Share success stories

Your existing donors also want to hear about specific success stories that have been achieved using their contributions. This could be a testimonial from a family whose life was improved by an after-school program your organization sponsored. Or, perhaps a story about a thriving community garden you funded.

Both existing and potential donors are more likely to contribute if they can see real-world examples of your successes.

4. Showcase your volunteers

Your newsletter shouldn’t just support your fundraising efforts. It’s also a tool you can use to recruit more volunteers to carry out the day-to-day work of your organization.

One way to do this is to place the spotlight on a volunteer who’s gone above and beyond. Include photos of the volunteer in action, the story of their journey within your organization, and a short interview with them. You may even want to include a video interview.

This type of newsletter can inspire others to join your cause. Additionally, when volunteers are given recognition for their work, it can lead to better retention among your team.

5. Create educational content

Educational newsletters build credibility and trust with users. When you provide insightful content, you signal your expertise to your readers, and they’re more likely to support your organization if they perceive you to be knowledgeable.

Educational content also provides value to users as they learn something from your newsletters. This keeps them engaged and can make them more likely to open your future newsletter emails.

6. Show your donors some appreciation

Your donors want to feel appreciated for the contributions they make to your organization. Your newsletter is a perfect vehicle for expressing your gratitude.

If your donors feel valued and appreciated, they’re more likely to continue supporting your organization. It also gives a good impression to potential donors when they see how appreciative you are of your existing contributors.

There are lots of ways to show appreciation in your newsletters, but here are a few ideas you might want to try out:

  • Choose a “Donor of the Week” to showcase in your newsletter (or a “Donor of the Month” if it’s a monthly newsletter).
  • Highlight a specific success story and include the name/s of the donor/s who made it possible.
  • Feature a testimonial from a donor summarizing the reasons they support your organization and the positive impact it’s had on them.

7. Share your fundraising progress

You can also use your newsletter to update donors on the progress of your fundraising campaigns. You could use infographics and charts that illustrate how close you are to reaching your targets.

Plus, you can celebrate reaching fundraising milestones and tell donors how much you appreciate them helping you achieve these.

This type of newsletter is a good way to convince potential donors to get involved. When they can see how close you are to hitting a target, they might be more likely to contribute to help you get there.

8. Give behind-the-scenes glimpses

Newsletters should make your supporters feel like they’re part of a community. One way of doing this is to provide behind-the-scenes glimpses of the day-to-day running of your organization.

For example, you could include a video documenting a day in the life of a volunteer. This showcases the important work your organization does and draws attention to the amount of effort your volunteers put in.

Remember to include a call-to-action button within the email encouraging readers to donate. It could be something like “Click here to help our volunteers continue their amazing work”.

9. Draw attention to media coverage

It’s always a good idea to highlight any positive media coverage your organization has received.

You could create an entire newsletter that covers a news article about the impact your charity is having on a particular community. You could also regularly include an “In The Media” section somewhere within your newsletter that includes links to media coverage and snippets from news articles.

This demonstrates the credibility of your organization to potential donors and draws attention to your good reputation within your field.

10. Optimize your subject lines

The subject line is the first thing a reader sees when they receive your newsletter. You need to make the most of this attention and use it to convince them to open your email.

An easy and effective way to do this is to personalize your subject lines by including the recipient’s name, as this means they’re 26% more likely to open it.

You should also include emotive words that convey the message of your newsletter. A 2023 study showed that including the word “support” in a newsletter increases open rates by an incredible 307%.

Need help putting these ideas into practice? InboxArmy can help. With our end-to-end Email Campaign Management Services, we can take care of your nonprofit newsletter email campaigns from start to finish.

5 Nonprofit Newsletter Examples

Now that you have plenty of ideas for how to create engaging newsletters to help you retain donors, gain new ones, and encourage people to volunteer, we’ve compiled five great newsletter examples that are putting some of these suggestions into action.

Let’s take a look!

1. The American Red Cross – Donor appreciation newsletter

american red cross aprreciation newsletter

This is a perfect example of a nonprofit newsletter shining a light on its donors. It highlights the impact of the huge donation made by Betty Bazar’s foundation and her family’s continued support for the American Red Cross and blood services, in particular.

It includes an image of her family to give the story a human touch, and there’s a call to action for readers to watch a video about the dedication ceremony.

Of course, not all of your supporters are going to donate such massive sums, so you should shout out donors who make contributions of all sizes.

2. Feeding America – Educational newsletter

Feeding America – Educational newsletter

In this newsletter, Feeding America provides educational content that highlights the issue of childhood hunger in West Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. This tells readers all about a problem they can help solve by donating or volunteering.

It creates empathy by listing some of the negative consequences of childhood hunger:

Then, at the end of the newsletter, it lists ways readers can make a difference:

This encourages readers to take the actions the charity wants them to, such as volunteering at food banks and donating funds or food.

3. The Nature Conservancy (TNC) – Behind-the-scenes newsletter

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) – Behind-the-scenes newsletter

This newsletter from The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is a brilliant example of how to give your supporters a glimpse behind the scenes of your organization. Specifically, it focuses on TNC’s Global Photo Contest.

Notice how they’ve included a call-to-action in the header of the email, encouraging readers to share the newsletter on social media or via email. I’d highly recommend using the same tactic for your newsletter too. The more your newsletter is shared, the more attention it gets—which is always a good thing!

To demonstrate why photography is such an important part of the charity’s work, they have a nice Q&A with TNC’s senior photo editor:

image1-1

This provides a window into the ways the charity strives to make a difference and gives donors an idea of how their contributions are used.

4. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) – Progress update newsletter

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) – Progress update newsletter

This example from the WWF gives supporters a clear update on the progress of its mission to tackle natural resource corruption.

It gives details about a recent event, the positive outcomes, and the plans that were put in place for the future:

 image4

This shows donors and volunteers that the organization is closer to achieving the goals they value and that their funds and efforts are contributing to this.

5. The American Cancer Society – Welcome newsletter

The American Cancer Society – Welcome newsletter

This is a superb example of a simple yet effective welcome newsletter from the American Cancer Society. At the start of the email, there’s an eye-catching photo, the organization’s logo, and a call-to-action button encouraging readers to donate. It’s pretty much the perfect way to start a nonprofit newsletter.

Then, it provides an informative list telling subscribers what they can expect from future newsletters:

image6

There’s also another call-to-action button, “See Our Story”, which takes readers to an educational YouTube video about the charity and its work. This is a good demonstration of how to take a multi-channel approach to digital marketing.

Final Thoughts

Your email newsletter is a really important part of your overall digital marketing strategy for your nonprofit organization. It’s one of the best ways to increase donations, retain donors and volunteers, and encourage new people to volunteer.

Implement the ideas laid out in this article, and take inspiration from the examples provided. You’ll be equipped to create an effective newsletter that ensures more success for your organization.

FAQs

How often should I send my nonprofit newsletter?

How often you should send your nonprofit newsletter depends on the size of your organization and the type of work you do. For large organizations with lots to report on, it’s usually best to send out a weekly newsletter. For small ones with less activity, a twice-a-month newsletter should suffice.

What’s the optimal length for a nonprofit newsletter?

There is no definitive optimal length for nonprofit newsletters. Your newsletters should be as long as they need to be to achieve your goals. Generally, welcome newsletters tend to be shorter than newsletters containing detailed, educational content.

You should experiment with different email lengths and see which ones receive the most positive responses from your audience.

How can I measure the success of my nonprofit newsletter?

There are many different metrics you can track that indicate how successful your nonprofit newsletter is, such as:

  • Conversion rates (think: donations)
  • Click-through rates (CTR)
  • Open rates
  • Unsubscribe rates
  • Forward/share rates
  • Time spent reading
  • Scroll depth

The easiest way to track these metrics is to use an analytics tool included with an email marketing platform, like Klaviyo or Mailchimp.

About Author

Winner of the ANA Email Experience Council’s 2021 Stefan Pollard Email Marketer of the Year Award, Scott Cohen is a proven email marketing veteran with nearly 20 years of experience as both a brand-side marketer and an email marketing agency executive. He brings to our clients a unique blend of experience building and managing larger CRM and retention teams, sending millions of emails and SMS per week, and award-winning copywriting chops. For more information, follow him on Linkedin

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