Writing a Personal Newsletter
(Please note - some of this information is dated, from the days before snail mail, sms, twitter etc. Would someone like to update it?) --Kev-The-Hasty 19:24, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
- How often should you send a newsletter?
- You should send letters a minimum of four times a year. It is strongly suggested, however, that you send them every other month, six times a year
- How long should your newsletter be?
- In the United States, for example, surveys have shown that one and four page letters effectively communicate. For some reason, two and three page letters have not been well received. Be sensitive to keep your letters as concise as possible without sacrificing their personal flavour
- Your newsletter should have a pleasing appearance
- Leave at least one and a half centimetres of margin on each side of the page
- Leave reasonable spaces between paragraphs to help avoid a "cluttered appearance"
- Make sure that you use bold, black type. If your handwriting is neat, it is acceptable to do your letter by hand, but please use a black felt-tip pen
- Things to be included every time
- Your name and address
- "Field address"---where you receive your mail
- "Home address"---this is the address through which your support checks come, whether it be a home church or another YWAM base.
- Prayer requests and answers. It is helpful to list these at the end of your letter so that readers can see at a glance how to pray for you specifically.
- Be creative!
- Make use of pictures, maps, artwork and special lettering. Remember that you are writing on the basis of relationship. Your letters should have a personal feel about them
- Don't let your letters become boring. Change the format from time to time. Always keep the same letterhead, however, to provide a thread of continuity in the variety
- Things you should keep in mind as you write
- Remember that you are writing on the basis of relationship. Your letters should have a personal feel about them
- Your newsletter should be a source of encouragement and edification for your readers. Use it as an opportunity to challenge them to greater faith commitment to missions
- Keep a balance of ministry news with personal
- Be positive! Ask God for His heart through which to communicate. Even when you are going through trials, this will enable you to express honestly what is happening and at the same time communicate trust in your faithful Father
- Generally speaking, you are writing to people who are interested in YOU!
- Do not take advantage of your newsletter to promote unrelated areas of ministry. There will be exceptions to this, but remain very sensitive to the Holy Spirits direction for each letter
- Be sensitive in asking for money
- Be honest when you have a financial need. State it simply and clearly. Do not use any "big appeals" but let God touch the hearts of those specifically who will give. Remember that as you are sensitive in this area to challenge people, they will be released into greater depths of faith and obedience
- From time to time explain in your letter exactly how people can send their support. Give them the options of giving through their local churches or YWAM basis in Hawaii or Texas (for income tax purposes) or sending it directly to you
- Things to avoid
- Do not criticize anyone or anything, such as governments, missions, nationals etc.
- Do not exaggerate. It is good to share exciting stories when they prove a point, but don't try to make them more exciting than they really are.
- Avoid sweeping claims for our work that overlook the work of others. We want to promote unity in Christ's Body, not division or exclusivity
- Allow yourself two weeks from the day you begin to "think" about your newsletter to the day that it is actually in the mail
- Have someone proof-read your letter for content, spelling, punctuation and errors etc (ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS!)
- Keep a copy of every newsletter for yourself. You never know when you will need to refer back to something that you have written
- PRAY from the start to the finish of each letter. Let the Father direct your hand very specifically and your letter will provide you with strong supporters, and be a blessing to those who read it
- Emailing a newsletter is a popular way to save postage. Beware that this is a greater technical challege especially if it is visually complex.