Sunday, December 10, 2006

Are e-letters a good nonprofit investment?

Last week I stopped in at Gateway Services, a nonprofit I've done consulting and training for. When I do a workshop, I ask particpants if I may have their e-mail address and add it to our 7 Paths e-letter list. As I was rolling down a hallway at the npo, a staff member stopped me and said how much she appresciated learning from the e-letter.

In this day in age of overflowing inboxes of spam I've wondered if the e-letter is a good use of my time.

Then tonight the Studio 501c blog pointed me to an executive summary of a study on e-letters by Nielsen Norman Group. The key finding of the study:
  • Users tend to glance at websites when they need to accomplish something or to find the answer to a specific question. In contrast, newsletters feel personal because they arrive in users’ inboxes, and users have an ongoing relationship with them. Newsletters also have a social aspect, as users often forward them to colleagues and friends
  • The positive aspect of this emotional relationship is that newsletters can create much more of a bond between users and a company than a website can.