Creating an Effective Member Newsletter: 10 Best Practices

September 22, 2022
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Unless you’ve been off the grid for the past 30 years, you likely use email on a daily basis to stay connected with the causes and organizations you care about. In fact, returns on effective email strategies have been steadily growing; email marketing ROI is 4200%, which is $42 for every dollar spent. 

However, the spammy practices some marketers use have left many consumers feeling less than pleased. These annoying messages, paired with the rapidly deteriorating attention span of internet users, might spell bad news for email marketers across the map if they’re not following email best practices.

As an association, you rely on your members for support, so keeping them involved is crucial. Many associations use email to deliver newsletters to their members, which can include a comprehensive rundown of current events and new perks. So how do you follow email marketing and communication best practices to catch your members’ attention and keep them from ignoring your newsletter? In this article, learn how to catch and keep your member’s attention to increase their involvement in your association. 

  • Why should you implement a member newsletter?
  • Logistical best practices
  • Have a consistent schedule
  • Use your integrated AMS to segment your audience
  • Take steps to ensure deliverability
  • Stylistic best practices
  • Write a snappy but straightforward subject line
  • Make the newsletter your own
  • Include appealing images and graphics 
  • Content best practices
  • Inspire
  • Inform
  • Invite

Ready to make your newsletter noteworthy? Let’s dive in!

Why should you implement a member newsletter?

A membership newsletter is a natural complement to the email communication format. Besides the potential ROI of email communication when used to point members towards renewals, upgrades, or donations, a newsletter lets you streamline the process to include more information in fewer messages. And, if you write your newsletter effectively, it’ll help your members feel engaged, excited, and more likely to contribute to your association. 

Moreover, a newsletter is valuable to your association for increasing retention and decreasing churn. Member acquisition is a timely and expensive undertaking, so you want to minimize the necessity of these efforts as much as possible. A newsletter is a low-touch way to ensure consistent contact with members and keep your association top of mind.

Besides these benefits for your association, newsletters can also be an asset for your members. Your association should market your member newsletter to be an exclusive advantage to enhance the experience. Here are some ways you can add value to your member newsletter:

  • Market certain events or panels that your members otherwise wouldn’t have access to.
  • Give members priority to sign up for programs through the newsletter.
  • Enter members into a prize drawing based on a sign-up option in the newsletter.  

These are only some of the ways your association can leverage email newsletters to be a valuable part of your marketing efforts. Now the trick is to make sure they stay engaged and subscribed.

Logistical Best Practices

The first step to creating an effective newsletter is to make sure your association starts off on the right foot. Staying organized on the content production and publishing side will give your members an idea of just what to expect from your newsletter.

Have a consistent schedule.

This tip benefits your association and your members alike. Work with your team to establish a consistent schedule of when your newsletter will be written and published. If your organization creates content and sticks to a scheduled plan, your members will expect the newsletter and feel connected with your association on a regular basis. If you miss a publishing period without warning, your members might feel confused or left out. If you standardize your schedule, you’re more likely to earn and keep the trust of your members.

Use your integrated AMS to segment your audience.

Your membership platform is a critical asset to your association on many levels. It allows you to both streamline your email newsletter publication process and maximize engagement. 

Every association structures its membership program differently. If you have a large membership base, you might have different tiers of involvement. Therefore, consider segmenting your audience within your newsletter strategy. For example, you could offer more frequent updates to higher-level members as a specific perk. 

Plus, at a basic level, integrating your AMS with your email tools allows you to automatically generate mailing lists based on who’s signed up and even adapt to any self-service options or different newsletter frequencies that you offer. This creates a middle ground between full commitment and complete unsubscription. Some involvement is better than none!

Take steps to ensure deliverability.

The rise of spammy email practices has prompted email platforms to take preventative action. They screen messages and send them to spam if they catch certain red flags, such as a misleading subject line. Here’s how to start maximizing your deliverability:

  • Include relevant and valuable information
  • Clear inactive or duplicate emails from your list
  • Ensure the servers and IP addresses associated with your email haven’t been blacklisted

Whether it’s double-checking your subject lines or improving your data hygiene with email appends, do your part to get your newsletter front and center in your members’ inboxes.

Stylistic best practices

Now that you know how to prepare your newsletter rollout, let’s cover some stylistic elements that you should consider using. 

Write a snappy but straightforward subject line.

Your subject line is perhaps the most important part of your email to get right. If your members aren’t enticed by your subject line, they aren’t likely to click through. So, catch your viewer’s attention with something memorable but also straightforward and clear. Interestingly, subject lines that use emojis have higher click-through rates, but only use them if they match your association’s tone and brand. If you need inspiration, think about the types of emails you click on and would appreciate receiving from organizations you associate with, and mirror that style.

Make the newsletter your own.

Whatever walk of life your association caters to, your association should have an established brand identity that your members associate with. You should incorporate this branding throughout your newsletter to make the connection clear. Whether you’re signing off with your slogan, using your brand’s colors and logo, or letting your staff guest-author your content, you should ensure that your newsletter is distinct and on-brand. There’s a reason your members joined your association instead of another one! 

Include appealing images and graphics. 

One of the crucial aspects of a newsletter is its visual presentation. Great newsletters feature photos and graphic design elements that represent your association’s brand. These elements are especially important for a digital newsletter because you can use them for linking purposes. For example, if you include an eye-catching image that has a link back to your membership website, your viewers can see it and click through directly to your page. Plus, images break up blocks of text that can turn your readers off. Work with your digital design team to include interesting images and graphics that boost member involvement.

Content best practices

Finally, let’s discuss best practices for newsletter content creation. These tips fall under three basic categories: inspire, inform, and invite.


One of your content goals should be to inspire your members to become more involved with your association. You can inspire your members by including calls-to-action, short bursts of text that instruct them to complete a task. You can inspire your members to:

  • Level up their membership
  • Enroll in eLearning opportunities
  • Follow you on social media
  • Provide feedback on parts of the member experience

Ultimately, your newsletter is a valuable marketing tool that can spur your members to interact with your association’s programs. Leverage it by giving them direct instructions for what to do next!


Another important function of your newsletter is to keep your members informed about what your association is up to. You should include information about your current and upcoming events, webinars, online courses, seminars, and facts about other association members and staff in a specific section that your members can easily locate. Moreover, you should highlight special member benefits and opportunities for them to take advantage of. Keeping your members informed will add value to their experience and decrease their likelihood of churning. 


Finally, your newsletter is a perfect place to directly invite your members to engage through member events. Having representatives at networking events, such as conventions and panels, is a valuable opportunity for your members, so you should emphasize these events in your newsletter content. They’ll feel like your association is looking out for their best interests and connecting them with the best events in the space.


As an association, your job is to keep your members at the center of everything you do. Use your chosen membership management software to help guide your newsletter content based on your members’ attributes, such as age and participation history. Following these best practices will prevent you from appearing like a spammy email marketer and bolster your association’s reputation for excellence.

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