Nonprofit Newsletter Template: How To Design a Winning Newsletter


Why is this template useful?

This article will share with you great nonprofit newsletter templates that you can make your own as well as some best practices for newsletters you can incorporate into your work. Let's dive in!

Who is this template for?

This template is for all nonprofit organizations.

What are the main sections covered in this template?

Visual newsletter layout you can use to create a template for your nonprofit newsletter.

Part of good donor stewardship is the practice of frequent touchpoints, ranging from in-person visits, a phone call, a personalized note or email, and other communications. 

One of the most important touchpoints any nonprofit can incorporate is an emailed newsletter (or a print one, if you prefer) that keeps your supporters engaged and informed. 

To make it easy for busy nonprofit executives, we will share with you some great nonprofit newsletter templates that you can make your own as well as some best practices for newsletters you can incorporate into your work.

Let’s jump in!

Why Is a Newsletter So Important for a Nonprofit?

Before we get into the weeds with nonprofit newsletter templates, let’s take a look at why a newsletter is so important for your nonprofit. 

  • A newsletter informs: A newsletter provides interesting and important news and information to help keep your stakeholders—your donors, prospects, and volunteers—engaged. 
  • A  newsletter creates an emotional response: The goal of a nonprofit newsletter is not only to inform, but to generate an emotional response that engages the reader and spurs them on to support your mission.
  • A newsletter boosts your nonprofit’s brand: Keeping your organization front of mind is key to building your nonprofit’s brand and boosting your reputation.
  • A newsletter helps raise more money for your cause: Don’t make the mistake of assuming your donors give to your nonprofit because it’s so great. No, donors give because your nonprofit is working hard to solve a problem they feel passionate about. A newsletter allows you to communicate the impact their dollars are creating.

Overall, sending out a newsletter gives you the opportunity to connect with your nonprofit’s various stakeholders and keep them engaged with your mission. 

What Are the Qualities of a Good Newsletter for a Nonprofit?

Generous people (like your donors) are besieged by both snail mail and emails from the nonprofits they support—so you need your newsletter to stand out. 

How can you do that? Let’s look at some of the top qualities that will make your newsletter stand head and shoulders above the crowd.

Good Nonprofit Newsletter Has a Clear Objective 

The best newsletters have a clear objective. Before ever putting pen to paper, make sure you know what the purpose of your newsletter is. 

Are you trying to inform your stakeholders of a new initiative? Are you looking to raise funds for general operating expenses? Are you hoping to recruit volunteers for your upcoming gala? 

Every nonprofit will have a different objective for sending out their newsletter. Make sure you spend some time strategically thinking about what you hope to achieve with your letter. 

Good Nonprofit Newsletter Is Donor-Centric

Always make the donor the hero of the story. In your newsletter, look for ways to thank your donor for their support. 

For example, check out the way Compassion International highlights and thanks their donors at the end of one of their newsletters

In any nonprofit newsletter, make sure to emphasize the impact of your donors’ support—it will help current donors feel even more connected to your mission and it might even inspire new donors to give! 

Good Nonprofit Newsletter Uses a Friendly Tone

A nonprofit newsletter shouldn’t sound ostentatious or overly formal. 

Aim for a friendly, readable tone that reflects your organization’s personality and is similar to your other marketing materials. The nonprofit world, like every other industry, has its own vocabulary. Unfortunately, along with this vocabulary comes jargon. Be eagle-eyed as you write or edit and make sure your reader will understand what you’re saying. 

To achieve a friendly tone, write conversationally—as if you’re writing to someone you personally know. 

If you’re having trouble, you can also try using Grammarly, which checks tone as well as spelling and grammar. (There’s nothing more embarrassing than sending out a newsletter with misspellings or typos. Do yourself—and your readers—a favor and always make sure to proofread your newsletter!)  

Good Nonprofit Newsletter Has Engaging Images and Infographics

Most people skim newsletters, so using engaging images and infographics is a great way to pull readers in and keep them interested. Don’t make your readers have to search to figure out what’s going on at your nonprofit.

Here’s a great example from the San Antonio Food Bank. One of their latest newsletters includes an infographic that clearly highlights the different counties they serve throughout Texas. 

Good Nonprofit Newsletter Uses a Professional-Looking Layout

Whether your newsletter is printed or if it’s emailed, a clean, well-designed layout is a must.

An overly-busy or disorganized newsletter can easily turn readers away. The layout of your newsletter should be professional and easy to navigate. If you’re not sure where to begin with the design of your newsletter, don’t stress—we are going to share with you a list of free newsletter templates you can use later on in the article. 

Good Nonprofit Newsletter Includes a “Donate” Button or Call to Action

Every newsletter should end with some sort of call to action. 

If your newsletter is digital, you can encourage your readers to give by including a “donate” button at the end of your letter. In a printed mailed letter, you could also use a QR code that takes the readers to the donation page on your website. 

Remember, calls to action don’t always have to be about monetary support. For example, maybe the goal of your newsletter’s call to action is to recruit volunteers for an upcoming event.

Whatever your call to action is, make sure it’s clear to the readers what the next step to take is.  

Free Nonprofit Newsletter Templates

Now that you know the qualities of a good newsletter, you should be ready to start creating your own! 

Not sure where to begin? No worries—we’ve put together a list of great nonprofit newsletter templates. They’re all customizable, so save yourself some time and hassle by using one of the free templates below! 

Alumni Association Nonprofit Newsletter Template

This classy-looking free template is part of Bee’s university series. Bee offers more than 1,200 free customizable templates on their site, all of them impressive. With this template, we really like the use of images as well as their social media links.

Nonprofit Newsletter Template

This free nonprofit newsletter template is for a printed newsletter. It’s well-designed, and best of all, it’s free from a website called My Creative Shop. You can find other newsletter templates there, as well. We like its modern layout and ample use of visuals.

Free Nonprofit Newsletter Template in Microsoft Word

If you’ve got access to Microsoft 365, you can download this newsletter template for Word. You can easily customize it with your preferred color palette and images to make it your own. We love the large image that pops out of the page, as well as the “Inside this Issue” piece on the front page.

Free Nonprofit Newsletter Template

Unlayer is another template firm. Based in San Francisco, they offer a variety of templates for free (although they also have two paid tiers.) 

This template is very visual and is also donor-centric. We’d just change the wording at the end to “Here is some of the impact we’ve made because of your support.” And we’d change the headline to read “You can help us make an even bigger difference.”

Nature-Focused Nonprofit Newsletter Template

If you haven’t yet discovered Canva, get ready to. Canva allows users to build their own templates or use Canva’s pre-designed templates. Colors, fonts, images, and text can all be modified to match your marketing and branding palette. With this template, we  really like the multiple images and dynamic layout.

Another Canva Newsletter Template

Here’s another free Canva nonprofit newsletter template for your consideration. We really like the “impact snapshot” section in the margin. However, be aware that some of Canva’s templates require you to have a Pro subscription, which costs $119.99 annually. 

Best Examples of a Nonprofit Newsletter

Now that we’ve looked at some helpful nonprofit newsletter templates, let’s spend some time going over some great nonprofit newsletter examples. These examples should help inspire and spark your creativity!

Charity: Water Nonprofit Email Newsletter Example

Charity: Water has got it going on with its marketing. This newsletter is part of an ongoing integrated marketing campaign to raise money for Adi Etot, a village in Ethiopia with no running water. The image is compelling, showing a very hardworking man of 72 who is still caring for his family. And the verbiage is gripping. Notice how simple it is, too.

Faith-based Environmental Nonprofit Email Newsletter Example

Operation Noah is a UK-based nonprofit organization dedicated to intervening in climate change. Their online newsletter packs a lot of information into a relatively small space. The visual as well as the bright colors used are eye-catching.

Events-Focused Newsletter Example

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Discovery Center in Seattle is a free science museum that offers frequent educational events. Their newsletter showcases each event and allows stakeholders to immediately RSVP. 

Medical Organization Newsletter Example

The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, known colloquially as “Fred Hutch”, utilizes emailed newsletters well. 

This one celebrates the purchase of a retired steam plant and reveals plans to turn the plant into a research and resource center. This is an ideal newsletter with its mix of a stunning photo, two infographics, and social media links. Well done, Fred Hutch.

Wrapping Up: Next Steps to Take

We hope that the nonprofit newsletter templates and examples shared in this post will help you in your own newsletter creation. 

Remember: set your newsletter’s objective, use compelling images, and keep your tone in line with other donor-facing communications. For even more nonprofit resources, templates, and helpful how-tos, check out Instrumentl’s blog.

Related templates

Show more

Choose the Right Tech Stack for Your Nonprofit

With the right tools, nonprofits can quickly scale fundraising and programming and take back their time. But, what makes something the “best” tool? And how do you justify an additional expense in a resource-constrained organization? Download this guide to learn more.
Unlock Your Free Guide
Lock icon