Many newsletters are fusty and tired-looking. They lack energy and useful information. The latest Central City Concern newsletter is quite the opposite.
The newsletter centers on the nonprofit agency's celebration of National Recovery Month with revealing comments from former addicts about what recovery has meant for them – starting over, smiling everyday, being a good mom and participating in life.
Then the newsletter works in a brief but effective description of its work since 1979. It touts the benefits of peer counseling with recovery mentors and underscores the challenges of the expanding opioid epidemic. It also explains the need for recovery programs aimed at Africa-Americans and Latinos.
The newsletter is easy to read. It contains just enough detail while maintaining a positive tone, and it concludes with a signature from Ed Blackburn, Central City Concern's longtime executive director.
The storytelling in the newsletter references the important programs Central City Concern offers. For instance, the agency's Puentes staff addresses the needs of homeless Latinos suffering from mental illness, and its Mentor Recovery Program uses peers as counselors to people determined to fight their way out of addiction.
The reader is left with a panoramic view of the scope of services Central City Concern provides and the guideline the agency follows to tailor those services to people who need them. The newsletter informs the casual reader, someone concerned about homelessness and individuals looking for a place to contribute their talents and money that will make a difference.
In short, it is a well executed newsletter that delivers a lot of information in a relatively compact space. There's no hype or even a single direct pitch for a donation. There is, however, a contact to find out times and places for a series of events to "Get to Know the Real Central City Concern."
Nonprofits -- especially ones increasingly dependent on philanthropic contributions -- need to engage existing and potential donors. Concise, informative and emotive newsletters can be engaging, while badly written and poorly designed newsletters can have the opposite effect.
The Central City Concern newsletter, which appears under its new visually descriptive logo, provides a mix of emotive content, sketches of successful programs and information worth knowing about the serious issue of homelessness.
This newsletter should be a role model for others in the corporate, nonprofit and public sectors to follow. You can have an intelligent and meaningful talk about challenging subjects without putting readers to sleep. You can produce a newsletter that gets read, not ignored.