Writing a Support Letter: Print vs. Email—Review the Options
Many organizations have a system for sending newsletters already in place. But let’s consider the pros and cons of print vs. email newsletters.
Pros for print
Print letters are often nice for your supporters to receive. There’s that tangible reminder of you that they have in their hands. It’s like how so many people prefer the weight and feel of a book in their hands to a tablet.
Many argue that people are more likely to read a piece of mail, because they’ll see it rather than it getting buried in their email inbox. And you don’t have to worry about getting caught in a junk filter.
One of the most obvious benefits to using email is that it’s free. With print, you have to pay for printing costs as well as shipping fees, and someone (you, a volunteer, or someone you or the organization pays) has to do the work of stuffing envelopes.
You would greatly reduce the amount of paper waste you’re creating each year by using email.
Email can be scheduled, so you can do the work ahead of time and let it go out on the right date and at the right time.
There’s less restriction on how much you can include. Good judgment rather than page number will be all that limits your text. And photos will take up only kilobytes, not physical page space, plus there’s no extra fee for printing in color. Plus you can include video links.
Electronic letters are easy to share on social media, which are becoming more and more legitimate for connecting to supporters. It would also be simple to coordinate your periodic emails with a blog you post to more frequently.
So much of our world is online now it doesn’t make sense not to have an online presence with your supporters. Even if you do send out a print letter (or if you send a print version once a quarter or something), you could pretty easily do an email version, too. This would give your supporters the option to read your letter in the format they prefer.
P.S. If you do send an email, make sure you have a compelling subject. Give a hint at what’s included in your letter. This gives readers incentive to open it, as well as helps keep it out of the junk basket.
Weigh in: What’s your opinion on the print vs. email issue?