These newsletter resources were created with examples and anecdotes collected from Friends Groups. They offer a starting point for your group to plan and issue a newsletter, but this page is not meant to be a definitive guide.
While you should develop your own reasons, here are a few objectives that a newsletter might help accomplish:
It’s common for printed newsletters to be issued quarterly or bi-annually. With email, there is a bit more flexibility to send less content, but more often.
Make sure you track the information you need, such as email or mailing address. Consider what happens if someone wants to opt out of the newsletter list, if they are no longer a member, or if there are new elected officials.
Microsoft Word offers a number of pre-designed templates. Choose a template and tailor it to your group’s needs. See instructions below.
This free, online service offers an easy-to-use interface with a number of pre-designed newsletter templates. Learn more.
Adobe software is sophisticated and offers highly customizable options. Using Adobe requires advanced skills, and the software cost may be prohibitive. However, with a willing volunteer to create a template and access to the software, it can be an effective and flexible newsletter-making tool.
Mailchimp is an online service where you can design and send emails and manage your recipient list. There is a free subscription level that provides access to the basic functions.
There are many bulk email services that offer varying levels of features. See a list of recommended email providers from the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits.
Sending an email newsletter directly from Gmail is not recommended, as there is a higher risk that the emails will be considered spam. Read more about the limitations from GSuite Admin Help.
It is important to think about the type of content your readers will be interested in learning about. Here are some buckets of information that you might consider:
For ease of preparation and consistency for your readers, it can be helpful to have recurring columns from specific people or about specific issues. For example:
Writing a newsletter can take a lot of work, so it can be helpful to divvy up the work of creating content and taking pictures. Here are some people that may be able to write articles or take pictures.
While divvying up the content creation, one person (or a team) needs to plan and compile the newsletter. They would be responsible for identifying the stories, ensuring folks are writing those stories, plugging them into the template, and coordinating the timeline. Many groups designate a specific board member to take this on as their main responsibility.