Ever had a bad case of writer’s block? Maybe feel like the inspiration has run dry? As a professional writer, I’m certainly not immune to this and sometimes it happens at the worst times. To combat those times when I feel less inspired to write, I like to read and look at examples of similar work. I find that that gets my wheels turning and through the writer’s block.
On Monday, I wrote about how to write a better non-profit newsletter and I thought it would be great to look at some examples of newsletters – good and bad.
Subject Line: We’re making plans – have your say. (view email)
One of the great things about this newsletter is the quick snapshot of the content right at the top. It also allows a reader to easily click down to what they’re interested in. I also like the fact that the content is separated very clearly by topics such as “fundraising,” “news,” and “shop online.” This makes it very easy for readers to skim. The “pet of the month” is a nice, consistent piece of content in each newsletter.
Organization: National Wildlife Federation
Subject Line: Important News that Might Surprise You (view email)
This newsletter’s subject line is a bit sub-par, but the first sentence of the email is great. “Did you know that kids who spend time outdoors do better in school?” Bam! You know that’s aimed at a very specific target audience. The rest of the email copy follow suit, speaking to adults with children. This is a great example of copy that speaks to a specific audience with a clear message.
Organization: Christian Blind Mission UK
Subject Line: Disability Matters (cbm) – Issue 26 (view email)
CBM has a consistent subject line that uses the name of the e-newsletter (Disability Matters). There is something to be said for predictability as it will help your subscribers get used to what to expect from your organization. This newsletter integrates pictures, which is a nice touch. But what I really want to highlight is how they divide up the newsletter sections with great headlines. They use very catchy headlines that show the organization’s work. Definitely an idea to test out in your newsletters!
Subject Line: You did it! (view email)
What would this round-up be without an email from charity:water?! I chose this one because it’s primary use of an image. Last week during The Storytelling Non-Profit Virtual Conference, a few folks asked about using pictures as a part of storytelling and communications. I think this email is a great example of the power of an image. The copy is short, sweet and gives readers another place to go if they wish to read more.
Subject Line: A time for hope (view email)
Similar to the charity:water, this email also capitalizes on the power of an image and boy is it a joyful one! Unlike some of the other emails that we’ve looked at, this one does not use headlines or varying weights of text to make the copy easier to read. The email is providing updates from the year and it would be very easy to use headlines to encourage readers to pay attention to certain points.
Stories are a great type of content to share in non-profit newsletters. As you probably saw in these examples, stories have the ability to inspire, inform, and engage. For some extra inspiration, you might also be interested to read an interview I did with Ballet BC on how they tell stories in their newsletters.
I’d also recommend this post on how to start telling stories.