Newsletters are one of the most powerful tools in the church planter’s arsenal when it comes to raising funds. Marketers swear by them. Entrepreneurs attend conferences costing thousands of dollars to learn to master their use.
This is because so many things can be accomplished with a newsletter.
Newsletters allow you to communicate anything you want: ministry news, needs, prayer requests, family stuff, and useless trivia.
Most importantly, it allows people to see your personality. If you write it well, people get to know you better. For people who are trying to connect with you, this is important.
There are some key components that make up a successful newsletter.
Experts say that a four-page spread (two-page front and back) is the best format. Whatever. I use a one-page front and back(except on special occasions). For the millennial-aged reader, 4 pages is too long. The rationale for the 4-page spread is so that you can have various “articles”. In the end, what you want to do is catch the reader’s attention. You want to write for them, not for yourself. Therefore, one of your articles might connect with them. And hey, 4 articles with one that connects is better than a one-shot 1 article newsletter that misses it’s target. At least with four shots, your chances are increased.
Oh yeah, and you may be tempted to only do online newsletters using MailChimp (free service) or Constant Contact (paid service), but emails can be deleted. Printed newsletters can’t. People are inundated with junk mail. Don’t let your newsletter become one of them. Sending out a printed newsletter may be more expensive, but it yields better returns. Think of it as an investment. You have to spend money to make money.
I suggest both. I would get as many addresses as you can via sign-up lists when you go to speak at churches or events. Then, I would also email the same newsletter to anyone who prefers to get emails. Having the two options will allow you to reach more people. Sending an email isn’t ideal, but it’s better than nothing. I should add that the bonus of email newsletters is that they provide you with an instant link to online donations via Justgive or Networkforgood, or my personal favorite, Mogiv (That’s M-O-G-I-V!). For some people, being able to give immediately with the click of a button is far preferable than searching for the checkbook and stamps, and addressing an envelope.
Here are the various sections that you should have:
- Feature article: This is the heart of your newsletter. It’s the bulk of what you want to say. It should be about 500 words and can be very personal to topical. It can be news. It can be an appeal. It doesn’t matter. It’s the driving thrust of what you want to say that month.
- An Extra section of value – Some people do “How To’s”. In my Ninja Planter Newsletter, I specialize in this. Taking a topic, part 1 of my newsletter deals with the theoretical (you could say that this is my featured article). Part two tells them how to pull it off practically. So, for example, my first Ninja Planter Newsletter dealt with feeding people at church. Theoretically, I looked at the theological reasons for doing it. Then, I told them what grills to buy, where to get them, and how to set them
- A Brief bio – This is for people who just get your newsletter. Each time somebody picks it up, they need to know who you are and what you stand for. Therefore, an introduction of a small paragraph, summing up who you are, like a radio interviewer might introduce you on a broadcast, is ideal to instantly connecting with
- Testimonial from a reader/ leader – These are extremely important because although it’s easy to toot your own horn, having somebody else do it adds exponential value to your ministry. After all, that’s what we are as Christ’s witnesses. Jesus could open up the sky, rend the fabric of the universe, and provide his own supernatural advertising, but instead, he chooses to use us to endorse him. Think of it as product
The added bonus to this is it also communicates to your supporters where their money has been invested. It’s the spiritual dividends that are returning their investments. When they read how somebody’s life was changed, they get the joy of knowing, “I was a part of that”.
- Upcoming events calendar – This helps you to stay better connected with your peeps. They can come and listen to you speak, and basically, know that you’ve been busy for the cause. They will also be able to pray for you when an event is coming up. Some people can’t give to your ministry, but if they’re praying, then anything you need is in the bag. Success from a heavenly perspective is yours, no matter what happens on the ground. Paul was being shipwrecked, beaten, and starved, yet he was a success. Souls were being won… 2000 years on, the temporal hardships are forgotten, yet eternity remains changed by his
- Featured product – You might have an ebook, a recording, a video for people to download. R.C. Sproul offers them through Ligonier Ministries. If you give $25.00 dollars a month, you get his Tabletalk publication and a message of the month. It’s a way of generating funds for your ministry, and sending them a “thank you” in
- Contact information – Don’t forget this. Put all of the ways that people can get into contact with you. Remind them that you have an RSS feed if you’re a blogger. Point them to your website. List your donation page. Cite your email. Give them a mailing address for checks. Tell them who checks should be payable to (and be sure to remind them that all donations are fully tax-deductible if you’re a 501(c)3. More on how to set that up in a future issue of the Ninja Planter Newsletter). Put your phone number if you’d like to connect with your supporters and have a
- A link to your donation
Buy Peyton’s newest book “Reaching The Unreached: Becoming Raiders of the Lost Art” over on Amazon.com. You can also download a free chapter and watch a cool trailer for the book HERE or click the image below.