Make your newsletter more useful

Even on the slimmest budget, your newsletter can be a useful, reliable document of record that tracks the events, accomplishments, membership, and goals of your group.

So your newsletter is more of a chore and a snore than a valuable document of record for your organization?

Tips for improving your newsletter

Planning and design

  • Work ahead at least one issue, steadily building stories and features. Leave some room for timely, last-minute items to keep the newsletter up-to- the-minute, for example recent events.
  • Design the newsletter so that readers are accustomed to finding the same features in roughly the same locations. This makes the newsletter easier to read and assemble. It also allows you to plan artwork, graphics, and other extras, since you'll know estimated lengths and photo sizes in advance.
  • Avoid the check-passing, hand- shaking, and posed group shots in which individual faces are too small to recognize.

Writing and editing

  • Write in plain English, generally avoiding jargon and slang.
  • Let in humor when it seems natural, but don't strain for the clever and cute.
  • Read everything in the newsletter aloud to yourself, including any headlines or photo captions. Errors and awkward sentence phrases will be more obvious.

For your writers and readers

  • Make it easy for contributors to send feature stories, action items, letters, calendar items, and other articles by including email and website addresses in each issue.
  • Provide a forum for reader reactions and suggestions. Even in the most limited space, a place where readers can contribute their reactions to events in your newsletter will keep it vital.