Posted by Jay Wilkinson

An email newsletter is, hands down, the most effective way to communicate with your constituents using email. If you can master the art of the e-newsletter, it will dramatically change the way your organization is able to connect with potential donors and volunteers, and it will contribute to your organization in so many ways. An e-newsletter is really powerful if you do it right.

Let’s start with the anatomy of an email newsletter so you know exactly how one should be set up.

First, your newsletter template and website should match each other. This is important for consistency’s sake. Your newsletter should be branded to your organization and personalized to the recipient.

Be sure the links in your newsletter lead users to the exact article, section or page where you want them to land. One mistake nonprofits make is linking users from their e-newsletter to their homepage. Don’t drop your users off on your homepage and let them fend for themselves, trying to locate the correlating information on their own. Take them directly there. For example, if you’re promoting an event and you include a link to the speaker page, take people directly to the speaker page. Nothing is more frustrating than clicking on a link in an email and landing somewhere seemingly disconnected.

Include the necessary elements in the footer. You want your newsletter to go viral, so give me a button that allows me to forward it to a friend. On the flipside, you also need an Unsubscribe button so users who want to opt out of your emails can do so with just a click or two. This keeps you compliant with CAN-SPAM laws and in good standing with email service providers.

The great part about email marketing is that it’s digital and easy track, so once your newsletter goes out, you can see who opened it, who responded, who forwarded it or who clicked on links. You can drill down and see specifics as to who’s interacting with your emails, which gives you insight into your subscribers and what’s important to them.