Introduction: e-Newsletter Basics

An organisational newsletter can be a valuable tool for communicating with your stakeholders, and an e-Newsletter has the advantage of being free and relatively easy to put together and easy to send to thousands of subscribers all over the world. 

What is an e-Newsletter

Typically an e-Newsletter consists of an email which is sent to a mailing list. Often the email contains short introductions to newsletter articles with links leading the reader to the organisation’s website where they can read the full article. The email can also contain calls to action, such as a donation request or a call to sign a petition. 

To find out more about the various functions of a e-Newsletter, read our article Communicating your Message to the Right Audience

How do you set up an e-Newsletter

e-Newsletters are typically set up using a special bulk mailing programme. There are a wide range of these, some of which are free and some of which you need to pay for. The various programmes mostly have the same basic features. However, more advanced features are often only available to paying customers. 

The mailing programme manages:

  • Your newsletter template
  • Your mailing list (including subscribes and unsubscribes)
  • Sending your mail so that it doesn’t get marked as SPAM 

For help choosing a platform to use to set up your e-Newsletter read our article Choosing your Email Communications Platform

What does it cost to set up an e-Newsletter

The costs of an e-Newsletter are mostly time and effort. There can be some initial start-up costs, such as creating a Newsletter template that reflects your brand. However, most Bulk Mailing services have some free templates available which you can easily customize. 

If you choose to pay for a Bulk Mailing Service, this will be an ongoing cost.

The greatest cost, however, is staff time and effort which nonprofits often underestimate.

For a breakdown of the resources required and how to minimize your costs, read our article on Resources Needed to Produce a Regular, Quality e-Newsletter.

e-Newsletter Strategy and Planning

Your newsletter needs an overall strategy to ensure that you are achieving your stated objectives and that you are pitching your newsletter at the correct audience.

You also need to put together a plan for each issue of your newsletter which will include what content to have in the issue, who is writing the content, what the time frame for the issue is etc.

For a detailed breakdown of what needs to be included read our article on e-Newsletter Strategy and Planning

How can you Measure the Success of Your e-Newsletter

Finally, you need to be able to measure whether your e-Newsletter is 

  • Reaching the target audience
  • Delivering the desired message
  • Resulting in the desired action from the reader

There are various stats that you can use to determine whether you are being successful. For a detailed breakdown of how to do this, read our article on Measuring the Success of Your e-Newsletter (Part 1) and (Part 2)