Digital communication is convenient, but there’s something personal and unique about holding a print publication in your hands now-a-days. You may have to carve out a little extra room in your budget, but usually it’s worth it. Getting your organization’s story circulating throughout the community in a physical, tangible way is invaluable. So, here are a couple reasons why starting a print publication could be beneficial and how to get started.
The first question you need to ask yourself is what form your publication will take. A newsletter? Magazine? How many pages? How often will it be published? You can always change the answers to these questions as your publication develops, but having an idea to start is important. Nonprofit Hub’s premier print publication is our magazine, so that’s where we’ll draw most of our advice from.
You might be hesitant to start a magazine because you don’t think you’ll have enough material to fill it, but you’d be surprised. Share updates about projects your nonprofit has been working on and show the direct impact you’re making through photos and stories. Create a calendar infographic that displays upcoming events. Take testimonials from some of your volunteers, members or donors and turn them into profiles. Share photos from a successful fundraising event you had earlier in the year. The sky’s the limit—if your nonprofit is actively working to achieve its mission, chances are you’ll have plenty of content to share with the community in your magazine.
The cost of your publication depends on lots of things: how many people you send it to, how many pages it is, the colors you use, to the size and type of paper, etc. Do what you think you can manage to start, then you can add or subtract pages or change your size later on.
You’ll have to decide whether you think this is a worthwhile investment for your organization, because it’s certainly not as cheap as sending an email. Of course, you can always charge for your magazine (we do, and yes: it’s perfectly acceptable for nonprofits). In any case, we think print publications can be beneficial for just about any organization. Here’s why.
The main goal of creating a magazine—or any print publication—for your nonprofit is to reach a larger audience. When your publication is sitting on coffee tables around town, people are bound to pick it up and read it. And, if they like what they see, they might even subscribe themselves. This can lead to new connections, volunteers and, of course, donors. For those who already do know about your organization, seeing that you’ve gone the extra mile to print a magazine just might be the extra push they need to support you.
People love feeling a connection and sense of belonging within their communities. A magazine is a great way to round up all the good people are doing both inside and outside of your organization and share it in a unique way. In each quarterly issue of Nonprofit Hub Magazine, we try to feature one organization and one individual impacting their communities in a unique way. This creates a tighter-knit, more informed community. And the more informed the people in your community are, the more involved they’ll be.
There’s no secret formula for whether or not your organization should launch a print publication. But, if you have the right stories to tell and are part of an engaged community, it’s an effective marketing tool and another way to keep your stakeholders in the loop.