Regularly sending an informative email newsletter to your supporters is an essential part of keeping them connected and deepening their connection to your organization. But the wrong frequency is a top reason why supporters will disconnect and unsubscribe from your mailing list.

How frequently are other nonprofits emailing? According to the 2011 Nonprofit Communications Trends Report:

  • Monthly (43%)
  • Every other week (17%)
  • Quarterly (16%)

But what’s the right frequency for your organization? How regular is enough or too much for your supporters?

Send your email newsletters often enough that your supporters can feel connected. Unfortunately, many nonprofits are not sending often enough. According to a 2008 Bank of America survey, the number one reason existing donors stopped giving to a particular charity because they no longer felt connected to the organization. The study also showed just less than 20% of donors believe that their donations make a major impact on the organizations they support.

Your supporters want information. It lets them see that their support is making an impact. According to the 2010 State of the Nonprofit Industry Survey, donors at 42% of nonprofits asked to be updated on how their contributions were being spent. Send your newsletters often enough so that your supporters are informed and can feel connected. At bare minimum, send quarterly. A bonus of having informed supporter is they have information to tell others about the great things your organization is doing. That helps get new supporters interested.

Send your email newsletters at a frequency that isn’t so often that supporters will ignore it. Getting the frequency of your newsletters right depends on two things:

  1. How often can you produce good content
  2. What frequency your supporters want

Actually creating an email newsletter itself is pretty easy. The hard part is finding good content to include. How often can you create fresh, interesting, relevant content your supporters will want? If you can create good content quarterly, then go for sending a quarterly newsletter. If you can do this monthly, great — that’s more opportunity to keep your supporters connected and engaged.

You may find your ability to create good content varies by supporter group. For one society you can have relevant, fresh content quarterly; for a volunteer group, bi-weekly will work well; and for the board of directors, monthly is ideal. Once you know what frequency you can keep up with, deliver the content at a frequency your supporters want. How often do they want updates? It won’t be the same for all supporters. Use your sign-up forms to let them decide if they want your bi-weekly updates or your monthly newsletter.

Want more tips for an effective nonprofit newsletter? Attend our free webinar, Nonprofit Newsletters That Engage. I look forward to your comments, questions or own tips! Please feel free to share them in the comments below.