The purpose of a newsletter is to regularly inform and keep involved members of the support community. Ex: In a years time the Austin Yellow Bike Project newsletter has grown to reach 700 people monthly.
- Updates on news, projects and events
- Give updates on shop schedule
- Local bicycling news
- Ask for help (donations, work parties, photographers, accountants or any other special needs).
A newsletter should be setup on a listserv (List Server) or Groups engine. This is a piece of software that allows people to subscribe or unsubscribe on their own without someone in your organization having to maintain a list. When it is time to send out a Newsletter you simply send an email to the listserv address and it forwards it to the current subscribers.
You can setup a newsletter list on any number of listserv providers (Google, Yahoo...) as well as setting one up on your own web hosting. Using a provider is the easiest method. There are a few settings that you will want to make.
- Replies should be sent to Author only instead of entire list. (This will prevent your grandma for replying to hundreds of people just becase she wanted to say something silly to her grand kid)
Archive Newsletters on your Website - The newsletters serve as an archive of the work of you organization through time. It is valuable to have this viewable by web visitors.
Newsletter lists can become very large (over 1,000 people). Be very careful to only use their contact information only as users have given permission.
When starting a newsletter list you can INVITE contacts of the organization ONE TIME to see if they are interested in joining the list. Never force the subscription. It might be tempting to add a bunch of your friends or contacts to the newsletter list but this should not be done. Let people sign up individually and voluntarily for your list. The amount of emails that they will will quickly become annoying and hurt the perception of your organization for an individual that was not interested in receiving the newsletters.
The ability to send emails to the newsletter list should be restricted to the person that send out the newsletter. This will help protect the large list from getting replies and other accidental emails.
Prof-read Newsletters - Be careful to read carefully over newsletters before sending them out to make sure that there are not careless mistakes that everyone on the list has to read. It is a good idea to have 2-3 people edit the newsletter before sending it out.