Remember when paper maps and Thomas Guides were the talk of the town? Throughout the last decade, the advent of GPS has all but killed the humble printed map. In fact, technological advances have executed countless products and services that, a mere 10 years ago, seemed to be the best thing since sliced bread.
However, there is one classic that has withstood the test of time. Even with all the new technology, email newsletters are still considered one of the best ways to grow and maintain relationships. According to Nielsen Norman Group, email newsletters remain the Internet’s best tool for supplementing a website.
Maybe you already have a newsletter and are looking for ways to spruce it up to reach out to members who seem to be disengaged. Or, it’s your first time to create one and you’re thinking of where to start. Whether you’re a veteran or newbie, these tips will help raise the awesome bar in sending out regular communication to your members.
1. Know your audience
2. Go easy on the eyes
You don’t need to be a graphic designer to find a compelling way of presenting content. We have a ton of templates (because who wants to start from scratch?) to help get you started. What’s important is that your message is easily digestible. Keep in mind members will view your newsletter on desktop and mobile devices, so breaking up text with lists, bullet points and pictures are a must.
3. Include impact stories or member highlights
For any group or organization, communicating how its success and efforts have made an impact encourages readers to work toward the group’s goals. Highlighting a member of the week or month for their contribution to the community or the organization promotes a sense of camaraderie as well shows appreciation for member’s efforts. Don’t be stingy with your praise – there’s always enough to go around. We agree with the late American philosopher John Dewey, who said, “…I am hearty in my approbation and lavish in my praise.” Nothing will resonate with your members more than when you emphasize an individual’s positive influence on your group and mission.
4. Give fundraising updates and milestones
5. Include membership updates
Use email newsletters to update your members on new rules, fee changes, updated responsibilities, and any additional information that your members should be aware of. Email newsletters provide the perfect opportunity for reaching your members with time-sensitive and relevant data that will directly affect their role within the organization.
6. Event updates and recaps
Your events are nothing without the support of your members. If your group has a big occasion in the works (whether internally or something that is community-involved), you could possibly dedicate an entire newsletter to featuring that event.
The focus of your email newsletters should be to provide quality content and compelling imagery that will help sustain and grow your relationships with your members. Because inboxes get crowded with emails competing for your reader’s attention, newsletters should include content that’s worth their time. Your organization can only go so far without engaging your members, and a successful email newsletter campaign should get your members excited about what’s to come, eager to participate, and interested in receiving updates on how they can stay involved in the organization.
Fortunately, you have all the tools (including templates!) at your fingertips to create an email newsletter on memberplanet today.
The email newsletter is the oak tree of inter-unit communications: ageless yet vital, regardless of iteration. Volunteer leaders have been stuck in the past turning out boring, repetitive newsletters that are more trash fodder than drivers of member engagement. Have no fear — fresh ideas are here! Take advantage of these tips to refresh your online newsletter, and reinvigorate your members’ connection with your PTA and all the things it accomplishes.
1. Make it personal and impactful
Content is, and will always be, king. However, if your content doesn’t resonate with your member’s desires and interests, then it will never be more than a pauper. PTA volunteer leaders looking to boost interest among their members need to deliver content that speaks to them. memberplanet’s newsletter templates make it easy to include impact stories and member highlights. Instead of just mentioning a member’s successful contributions at your next meeting, try highlighting them in your next newsletter. Take time to communicate your PTA’s successes, and frame it around the impact those results will have on students and the community. Nothing resonates more than the positive influence of your PTA unit and its mission.
2. Go easy on the eyes
In the age of video and short attention spans, catching the eye of your members is paramount to keep them engaged and responsive. You don’t have to be a graphic designer to generate visually appealing newsletters, and you certainly don’t have to cut, paste, and photocopy and then hand out your newsletters anymore. Volunteer leaders have a wide selection of pre-built templates to turn mass emails into eye-popping, unit relevant, reading material. You can add photos from recent events and upload PTA-specific images and banners to create something wholly reflective of your unit.
3. Include updates and results to keep them reading
Events and fundraisers are an all-hands-on-deck situation from planning to successful execution, and newsletters are an excellent way for volunteer managers to increase their ongoing success by including their progress or results. Members respond to updates about how their support and hard work is paying off within the unit and beyond. Let them know how close you are to an upcoming goal to build excitement for a final push, or announce how much you surpassed your most recent goal with a unit-wide thank you.
Ready to refresh your PTA newsletter? Log in today.
PTA Simplified is a series of tips for PTA and PTO leaders to get the most out of managing their volunteer members and growing their membership all year long.
Originally published: 10/17/2017
You have a hunch about how your group is doing, but a gut feeling is not going to cut it. You need to look at specific data to see what's working and what isn't. Don't just jump in and start measuring absolutely everything; instead, first focus on these three crucial reports: email tracking, invitation history, and levels reports.
1. Email tracking report
Even the busiest group leader needs to track ─ at the very least ─ email rates. With all the email campaigns you create, it’s helpful to see whether the messages are benefiting your members or … not.
Here’s a look at three email rates to keep your eye on. These key performance indicators (KPIs) will let you know whether folks are actually receiving, opening, and reacting to your emails:
Based on a recent email benchmarking report, the average open rate for nonprofits and associations ranges from 19.32 - 26.4%.
The report indicates that a clickthrough rate for nonprofits ranges from 2.76 - 8.00%.
One report sites a 0.47% bounce rate for nonprofits, although a popular email service provider reports a 9.78% bounce rate for its nonprofit customers.
To view opens, bounces, and clicks to your email campaigns on memberplanet, hover over Emails in the left navigation sidebar, then click Email Tracking Report in the submenu.
For the date range selected, your email campaigns will be displayed with corresponding metrics.
2. Members invitation email history
You've worked hard to boost membership. After your membership drive, you probably emailed prospects to join your group. Did you have positive results? View your membership email history to track who was invited and how they responded. At memberplanet, we consider it a best practice to periodically send out invitations to non-members. To become members, recipients only need to make a membership payment or provide info to sign up for a free membership, if you offer the option.
A membership invitation history report shows which admin sent the invitations and when, who opened it, and if the member accepted the invitation. To view your group’s member invitation history:
On the left navigation sidebar, hover over Members and click Invitation History in the submenu.
3. Membership levels report
Sometimes, in a rush to drive membership, group managers and admins forget to look at overall membership levels activity. You just might be looking at new prospects who signed up for a free membership level, and you might not quite get the complete picture.
Most groups have different levels of membership, including free and multiple paid levels. By viewing a membership levels report, you’ll gain a bird’s-eye view of not just who makes up your group, also the history of each member level. This should give you a better idea of how you can target members on a specific level and influence activity by creating events and content to keep members engaged.
2. On the levels tab, click the gear icon for the membership level you wish to view
3. Select View Members from the dropdown menu
All this business intelligence will help you become a better, more informed group admin. You also can look at other metrics, such as survey results, donations, payments, events, RSVPs and so much more – we have reporting for just about everything on the platform.
Sign into your memberplanet account today and get down to reporting!
Email marketing is one of the best tools you’ve got for PTA networking and announcements. Not only is email an effective way of reaching your members and supporters, volunteers are more likely to engage with your PTA if they are invested and connected to your initiatives. Our email features make it easy to send and track mass communications and email newsletters using templates, so you can stay connected with your members.
To create an email, follow the steps below:
On the left navigation bar, hover over Emails, then in the submenu, click on Send an Email.
Step 1: Basic information
Fill out the required basic information fields, then click Next.
Campaign Name refers to the title by which you’ll refer to this email in your records. It only shows up in your Manage Emails tab under this name, which is not visible to members. Sender address will auto-populate if you’ve previously entered this information in the member info tab.
Note: The address entered in this section will automatically appear in the lower left corner of your email. You are legally required to include a valid postal address.
Step 2: Recipients
Admins can choose to send emails to all members and/or contacts. Moreover, you can send to specific members, add new recipients manually, or from a previously-created contact list, all with only a few clicks.
If you wish to choose your recipients at a later time, you can skip this step by clicking Next.
1. Choose one of the five ways to add recipients:
Note: You can only add members from one page at a time using this method. Make sure you click Save & Close before moving on to a new page of members.
Note: Newly added people in this section are categorized as contacts, not members.
2. Click the Save button
3. Select Next
1. Click inside the template window to bring up the Editor Tool
2. Use the editor to add and format your content
Note: If you’re using a template with image placeholders, you can double click the images to replace them with an image from your computer.
3. Preview your email creation progress by selecting either the View as Web Page or Send Me a Test Copy function
You have more options to customize your email:
Step 5: Review
Once completed, review your email elements to ensure all the elements, such as recipients and links to social sites, were successfully added.
Click the Save This Email as a Template button if you’d like to reuse it. All you’ll have to do is update content specifics, but the design and general elements remain.
Step 6: Delivery
1. Choose one of the delivery options:
2. Click Finish to complete and send your email newsletter
Our email builder has all of the tools you need to create engaging content. Keeping in touch with members is a great way to boost participation, make announcements between meetings, and organize your group.
PTA Simplified is a series of tips for PTA and PTO leaders to get the most out of managing their volunteer members and growing their membership all year long.
Discovering email marketing is like finding out your kid won first place in the school science fair — and got a scholarship because of it! Not only would it have any parent or teacher beaming with pride, it’s news they’d want to share with family, neighbors, and even the grocery clerk. Email marketing simplifies PTA communication in a way that’s engaging, effective, and budget friendly. If you’re not all in with email, you’re missing out big time.
Email spurs your members to act
Email is a powerful tool deliver a message that incites action. You can include a lot of great information (member spotlights, past event photos, and the like), but don’t forget to include clickable calls to action so your members can actually do something with the info you’re providing. Here are some topics you might include in your PTA newsletter coupled with an appropriate call to action and link.
Say goodbye to printing costs
Go green by cutting out printing costs. Instead of printing out a couple hundred flyers, why not send an email newsletter that can cover a range of topics? (And who has time to hand out flyers these days?) No funds are needed for postage, paper, ink or other print materials. Some organizations pay an extra fee each month for a service that allows them to send mass emails, but – here’s a kicker – mass emailing is already included for free in your memberplanet account! Spend your budget on more important things.
Track and target your messages
Another huge benefit of email marketing is the tracking capabilities. Lucky for you, this feature, which can be quite pricey with other email providers, is free with your memberplanet account. We recommend tracking these key metrics:
An average open rate for nonprofits and charities: 30.88%
An average click rate for nonprofits and charities: 4.31%
A decent bounce rate across all sectors: 2.5%
Once you have an idea of these three metrics for the emails you’re sending, you can further target your message to your specific audience. memberplanet provides open rate, clicks, and bounces – great email marketing tools at your disposal so you can measure how effective your messages are. To further target your emails to recipients based on the data collected on the platform (member levels, event RSVP, donation level, etc.), check out our Smart List feature.
Log in and take advantage of the email tools at your fingertips.
An incredibly useful – yet irritating – part of our daily routine is email. The average office worker sends or receives 121 emails per day, according to technology market research firm The Radicati Group – a number projected to hit 140 by 2018. And the McKinsey Global Institute estimated that the average knowledge worker spends 28 percent of their day managing email. It would be one thing if all of those emails were useful, but in all honesty, only a small fraction falls into that category.
The time spent sorting, skimming, reading, and deleting emails amounts to about 13 hours per week, which is an especially troubling statistic for businesses and organizations that use email as one of their main tools for communication.
Electronic newsletters can be an excellent way of providing customers and members with information and keeping them up to date on what’s going on. But they only work if people actually see, open, and actually read them. So, how can you increase the odds of that happening? Try these tips:
New to our system? Or maybe, you haven't used our Email Campaign feature yet? Here are some tips for beginners – and experts!
And for the experts...
Have more questions? Visit our support site to browse our library or chat with a team member online!
memberplanet allows your group to seamlessly collect, host, and share full resolution photos with anyone in your group, giving everyone simultaneous access to all the photos taken at an event. This feature is perfect for gatherings and parties where several guests have cameras. Extensive privacy controls ensure that your photos are completely secure.
Collecting and distributing photos after an event sounds like a great idea, but anyone who's tried it on their own knows what a hassle it can be. memberplanet's e-mail uploading feature streamlines the process down to one step. Group members upload their personal photos directly to the group album simply by emailing them to an album-address. Simply distribute the album-address with a friendly reminder and watch as your album fills up! As an admin, you can either allow photos to post immediately, or be held for moderation, as with comments and more.
Have you ever looked at your email campaign tracking and wondered why a percentage of your emails were "sent" but not "delivered"? Our member database now features a failed address warning adjacent to undelivered addresses, and enables you to manage and re-add faulty email addresses.
First, there are a few reasons why mail to some email addresses isn't delivered:
While you can't re-subscribe a member, you now can manually edit and/or restore invalid or bounced emails. When you open a "bounced" member's page on the new membership database you will see a "!" symbol by their email, along with the word "bounced" and a blue link "restore". Restoring the email will remove it from the bounced list so that it will be included once again in future sends. However, if the email bounces again, it will again be disabled and the "bounced" status will reappear in the member's contact page.
So you’re thinking about joining memberplanet? Awesome! We’d love to have you. Or, maybe you've just made an account and have to get started? Welcome! We promise it’s easy to use and you’ll get your group organized on it in no time!
With so many great tools provided by the site it’s easy to think, “Where to start, and how?”
As a recent user of memberplanet, I will be the first to say I was nervous since technology is not my forte. However, the site is created to be user-friendly and has helpful guides that provide you with step-by-step instructions.
Check out how I got started on my sports team site below!
At first I wasn't ready to complete all of these steps since my soccer team was new. Don’t worry! All of these steps can be updated or completed at any time. The steps are easy to located on the side of the main screen under the ‘Getting Started’ guide. This easy guide will help turn you from a memberplanet newbie to a pro before you know it! It helped me create everything I need to manage and organize my soccer team to be the best team around!
What are you waiting for?! Add your group now!
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