Mar 21

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How to avoid Spring Fever

At this time of year in many organizations someone on staff is busy putting together the spring newsletter to donors. Since the winter (or Christmas) edition they’ve gathered stories and photographs; commissioned a column from the chief executive; and begun the editing process. When everything is polished some will send everything to a designer to lay out the material, others will do it themselves. The quarterly (or more regular) newsletter is a time-honoured way to communicate.

However, it is also time and labour intensive.

The recipients of the newsletters are usually donors or friends of the organization. Statistics Canada notes that “older Canadians gave, on average, more than younger Canadians …  The average donation by those aged 65 years and older was $490, while those between 15 and 24 years old donated $111.”

It’s fair to say your newsletter will find itself largely in the hands of people aged 55-plus. After printing and folding, it probably costs you at least 61 cents to mail.

What if you could make your newsletter creation easier and reach more people with your messages? It’s not as hard as you think.

Recent statistics show Canadians spend more time online than any other nationality – 43.5 hours per month. And the fastest growing demographic is those aged 55 years and older. The younger crowd is already there. The younger they are, the more time they “live” online.

Rather than pulling together all your stories for a one-shot flurry of information, release stories and photos using your website or through email messages as they happen. This places your organization and its stories (and needs) before people regularly rather than once per quarter (or even less) and provides more opportunities to donate! And when news and stories are posted to your website, it’s a simple process to send a headline teaser out on Twitter and post a link to your Facebook page.

Don’t do away with your newsletter. It’s a valuable communication vehicle with particular age groups. But it won’t usually find its way into the hands of others. Newsletter sharing isn’t common. However, think how easy it is to share a link or forward an email. If grandma receives your printed newsletter, she can’t pass along an interesting story to her grandchild who may live a few thousand kilometers away.

When it comes to editing your publication, since you have already published stories online, they are ready to go. Simply compile them into a newsletter. Repeating information is never wasted time. People receive so much information your newsletter can act as a reminder.

Meanwhile, your online stories join the massive library of worldwide information subject to discovery by Google and other search engines. If you also e-mail them regularly to other news outlets with which your organization is affiliated, your potential audience grows.

With a link to your website at the end of the story, readers can click to find out more and use your site’s online donation function to show their support. When they use that function, you can ask if they would like to receive information regularly by e-mail and eventually you find yourself with an e-mail mailing list!

While it’s common practice to put a PDF copy of newsletters on websites, that still involves creating the newsletter from scratch. (Plus, search engines find words in posted stories easier than PDFs.)

Taking a few minutes to write, polish and post a story while it is current demonstrates your organization understands online communication and is anxious to share its news with the world.

Enjoy spring and keep communicating!

Permanent link to this article: http://adnamsgroup.co/wordpress/how-to-avoid-spring-fever/

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