A non-profit organization’s email newsletter is the beginning of its email marketing campaign. It is the best place to start and the clearest bellwether of a campaign’s success. This is the core of your non-profit’s goals, services or achievements, as well as a way to keep readers engaged and on the lookout for new events. Therefore it must be visually appealing as well as instructional.

To properly achieve that, first define who your audience is and what action your newsletter is meant to induce. Once you have decided on that (and if that seems like a tall order, remember that you can craft multiple campaigns in the course of your email marketing; choose one audience and one goal for now), the following 5 tips will help you design your email newsletter

1. Templates

Templates are blank newsletters with the layout work already completed. For a professional look, check out Benchmark Email’s selection of over 400 unique HTML email templates.

Once you’ve decided on your template, add your own photos, graphics and content. Be selective with the images and graphics you choose. As your campaign develops and you craft new newsletters, you want to greet your subscribers with fresh images. Always be aware, however, that too many images (or images that are too large) will raise email clients’ red flags, possibly diverting your campaign into the spam box or bouncing it from the subscriber’s inbox.

2. Content

This is the substance of your campaign, the issues and ideas that your organization is built on and why your readers have subscribed in the first place. Include articles (or even better, snippets or summaries of articles that lead back to landing pages on your website), upcoming events, offers, opportunities for donations or volunteering.

Keeping readers updated on your non-profit’s activities, your successes or goals for that week, that month and that year, all help to contextualize your mission. How conversational or professional you make the tone will depend on your particular non-profit, but personalizing your content is always encouraged. Letting the reader know who you are and what you stand for is very different from a B2B or B2C email campaign that is seeking to sell a product or service.

3. Your Readership

People support non-profits for personal reasons, and each of your subscribers will have a highly subjective investment in your organization. As with your content, do not neglect your supporters’ personal affiliation with your non-profit. Give them something to believe in and remind them they’re not alone. Take special care to identify the donors, volunteers and advocates that allow your organization to thrive.

4. Benefit Driven Subject Line

Imagine that your subscribers are busy and in the midst of deleting any emails that do not strike them as immediately relevant. If your mail is sitting with the others, queued up in the inbox, there is nothing except for an engaging subject line between your marketing success and the junk folder.

Pack your email subject lines with details about what is inside and emphasize the benefits to the reader. Use email tracking and reports to determine your email metrics and which subject lines have the greatest impact

5. Call to Action

Utilize calls to action and links that make following through with your email content’s goals as simple as possible. If your readers can visualize it, you’ve done your job. If you’ve crafted a simple, compassionate call to action, your subscribers will reward you by reading through your email newsletter

Benchmark’s Non-Profit Programs

If you are a non-profit that wants to explore email marketing, Benchmark has a Non-Profit Pricing Plan to get you started. Any account you need is automatically discounted by 25%.

For local non-profits, Benchmark Email is currently offering a free monthly 10K Email Marketing Plan (a $60 value) to all Long Beach-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations.

For non-profits that specifically focus on benefiting children, whether through community building, education or enrichment, Benchmark has recently rolled out its We Care About Kids program. Click the links to find out how you can start email marketing for free today!