The pace of communications can be dizzying.
Between traditional news media, podcasts, blogs, and the ever-cascading stream of social media, the ubiquity and variety of storytelling vehicles is striking. In the charitable community, how can organizations be sure that their voices and stories are audible amidst all the noise? And what’s the right vehicle for ensuring that core audiences are getting the information they need?
Would you be surprised to know that some people still rely on your email newsletters?
If you’re a member of Independent Sector, odds are good that Lindsay Marcal, senior associate, networks and member engagement, is both a subscriber and a loyal reader of your email newsletter. Lindsay has an ear to the ground for even the most obscure goings-on among in our community of nearly 500 members.
We decided to ask Lindsay what makes an email memorable or at least compelling enough to keep her reading.
Whose email newsletters do you find consistently good and why?
I always look forward to checking out The Communications Network’s e-newsletters. They include a “What We’re Reading So You Can Use It” section of useful articles and online content and “Three Things for Fun” from a member of their team.
From the perspective of visuals, I love the videos that KaBOOM! includes in their e-newsletters to actually show the impact of their work bringing play to the everyday lives of kids in their communities. And the photos that The Nature Conservancy includes in their newsletters are beautiful or just plain cute, and help remind me of the natural world beyond my office!
Newsletters from The Campus Kitchens Project and Atlas Corps are among the newsletters that demonstrate so much enthusiasm about milestones in their organization’s work. The way they share these celebrations makes you want to celebrate their 60th Campus Kitchen or their 22nd class of Atlas Corps Fellows right along with them!
Do any isolated emails—either regular newsletters or announcements—stand out as particularly memorable and why?
One that made a strong impression was an email from Native Americans in Philanthropy in June 2016 following the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando. Along with their condolences and words of support and solidarity for the LGBTQ community, the e-newsletter explained that Native people believe all people are related and have a deep respect for the LGBTQ community and two-spirit people and many tribal nations believe two-spirit people have particular gifts to offer the wider community.
There was nothing flashy about the format of this communication, but I was struck by the sincerity of the message and learned something new about the relationship and mutual respect between two communities that I had never considered before.
Most recently, it has made such an overall impression on me that so many of our members are tireless in their mobilization and advocacy efforts in support of their missions and the communities they serve.
What do you look for in email correspondence from our members?
I look for news and happenings that would be of interest or useful to a number of our members, and perhaps to the wider sector. I think about what our members might hope we would share with our member community. To maintain good relationships and connections with our members, I also look at announcements of new staff members at member organizations to see who might be interested in being involved with IS. Beyond that, I also consider what IS should be aware of to continue to inform our knowledge of current challenges, opportunities, and trends in the charitable sector.
There are never enough hours in the day to look at as many members’ websites and talk with as many members about what’s going on in their world as much as we would like. Keeping up with member communications helps us to be consistently aware of events, achievements, research, calls to action, and more. Of course, I always tell members to let us know if they have news from their world they would like us to share, but by keeping our eyes open here, we try to do our part to help.
Jackie Brennan is the associate for social media and web at Independent Sector.