Use your newsletter to inform, engage

Every contact your nonprofit has with constituents, donors and other partners is an opportunity to raise awareness about community needs and to engage people in your work.

So use your newsletter to talk about the challenges people face in the community you serve, the work you do in addressing those challenges, and the impact you have in helping people improve their lives.

Too many charities use their newsletters and other communications as little more than an opportunity for shameless self-promotion.

They talk, often in mind-numbing detail, about their internal processes. They speak in an impersonal, institutional voice apparently aimed at their CEO and board. They gloss over the serious problems in their communities, as if candor will turn off potential donors and partners. And they seem hooked on a tone of voice that can be patronizing and condescending.

The social and global problems that charities exist to fix require communications that are clear and honest, help explain community problems that can be complex, and show anyone how getting involved can help improve the lives of people you serve.

Instead of a thinly disguised advertisement for your organization, use your newsletter — or website, annual report, news releases, fundraising materials or any other communications — to make an impact.

Want help?

Philanthropy North Carolina is a consulting practice that provides writing and strategic communications support for nonprofits, foundations, colleges and universities, and others working for social good.

To find out more about hiring Philanthropy North Carolina to work with your organization to improve your communications, contact Todd Cohen at 919.272.2051 or

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