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Janet Roberts

Ezines for Nonprofits the MPR Way
By Janet Roberts

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Some of the best email newsletters I get come from a radio station. Okay, not a single station, but from the Minnesota Public Radio network.

MPR probably is best known as the home of "A Prairie Home Companion," a humor and variety show hosted by Garrison Keillor and broadcast every Saturday night, but it also has a broad repertoire of other news and feature shows, several of which are rebroadcast on other public or nonprofit radio stations.

MPR maintains a vigorous email-publishing program, too, using email and newsletters to sell products, raise money and promote the shows.

The newsletters are models of effective email communication, especially for nonprofit organizations. They promote listenership and create community among listeners and contributors by providing solid content within the newsletters.

They also send customers to MPR' online store, the Internet version of its popular paper catalog of promotional and complementary general merchandise.

In other words, they're more than ads, money pitches and program listings.

Each newsletter supports a program, such as the daily news shows, "The Splendid Table" with author Lynne Rossetto Kasper, "Pipedreams," a weekly program of organ music, and "The Writer's Almanac," a daily 5-minute literature break also hosted by Keillor.

The content supports the programming with detailed program descriptions, personal commentary, links to MPR's Online Catalog, and some unique content that appears only in the newsletter.

According to John Pearson, MPR's manager of new media, the email program has more than 100,000 members across its e-commerce, membership and editorial programs, with about 40,000 subscribers just for the newsletters.

MPR currently uses a list-management system designed for radio networks, Email Director from, John said in an interview scheduled to begin in the next Ezine-Tip.

As they say in radio, tune in tomorrow for Part One of my interview with John about MPR's email-newsletter program and it works to promote the shows and further MPR's broadcasting mission.

Ezine-Tips for April 17, 2003

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