There are several ways you can understand the relationship between stories and non-profit newsletters.
The obvious one is that stories are are a type of content and can be a content feature in your newsletter. This could include impact stories, mission stories, donor stories, and so on.
The less obvious one is to consider the story that your newsletter tells over time.
For example, if you were to read all of your newsletters from the last year, what would the thru-line or theme(s) be?
Although each newsletter can stand alone, it is equally if not more valuable to consider how they work together as a channel. After all, we are using newsletters as a relationship building tool. That means that with each issue we publish, we must intentionally move that relationship forward. Without foresight and planning, it is easy to get off track.
If I were going through a process to assess the story an organization’s newsletter tells over time, here is what I would do.
Step 1: Gather the issues of the newsletter from the last year.
Step 2: Set aside one to two hours to read the newsletters.
Step 3: As I read each newsletter, make notes about what the message(s) are. Also note the types of content featured in each.
Step 4: Now, just read the messages in chronological order to see what story is being told. Does it make sense? Is it aligned with strategic goals? What needs to be changed?
Step 5: Move into forward planning. Based on what I’ve read in the newsletters and messages, what do I want to convey in the coming months? What stays the same and what needs to change?