What’s in My Inbox | Time and Resource-Strapped? User-Generated Content to the Rescue!

July 27, 2021


Are you spending your days posting on social media to the point of exhaustion…with little to show for it?

Relief is at hand!

Consider leveraging user-generated content to lighten your load.

Presented for your approval: the weekly enews, A Dose of Desert Joy. Published by the Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection, a nonprofit whose mission is “to protect the biodiversity of the Sonoran Desert in southern Arizona through science-based advocacy, education, and collaboration.”

Every Friday at the close of business, this little gem lands in my inbox. As one of my most shall we say jaded nonprofit friends notes,

“it’s one of the only charity emails I look forward to.”

Consistency is a critical factor in nonprofit email marketing.

But frequency can never make up for bad content that no one wants to read. That’s where the Coalition gets it right by utilizing reader-generated content.

In this particular issue you’ll find:

  • A hummingbird sitting in its nest!
  • A full rainbow over the Santa Catalina Mountains
  • A lightning strike during a recent monsoon storm

All submitted by the Coalition’s supporters.

User-generated content also fills the Coalition’s social media feed, including these recent Instagram postings:

Kathleen Kennedy, Associate Director for the Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection writes:

We do have people who contribute regularly, some who contribute occasionally, and some only once or twice. Some are basically professional photographers with high-grade equipment and some are people snapping photos with their cell phones. I try to feature a variety of photos and not be too picky about quality. I want everyone to relate to the photos. We can all find joy in taking photos of things that move us with whatever cameras are available to us. I personally respond to all the submissions we get to thank them and have developed a positive, personal relationship with many of the people that send in photos. How many submissions I get per week varies a lot, from a couple to sometimes 10-15 photos. Sometimes people send me one photo and sometimes a whole batch of them.

The response to this e-newsletter has been incredibly robust. I get responses every week from people simply thanking us for sending it out and letting us know how much they look forward to the emails. Our Executive Director regularly has people tell her the same thing in person when she is at meetings or runs into people around town (now that she’s able to do that more). I think it has helped that starting early on we decided to stick to a schedule of sending it out every Friday afternoon. We’ve been doing this since the end of March 2020 so people have really come to expect it. It took some evolution but it always has largely the same format which makes it easier for me to produce each week and also easier for people to look through it. I think the fact that it’s really simple and visually appealing is one of its strengths. We’ve gained a good amount of new supporters from people forwarding it to their friends and family – I don’t have exact numbers for you but it’s definitely generated more word-of-mouth interest in our work from new people than any other communications we’ve ever put out.

Social media got you overwhelmed? Consider user-generated content.

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