#makingadifference One Enviro Newsletter at a Time

Written by: Robyn Clarke (@msrobynclarke)

I’m passionate about the environment and sustainability. Having grown up in British Columbia camping, skiing, gardening, and hiking, I appreciate all that nature brings us—including moments of repose from a busy world.


The kind of moment that is oh so difficult to find when constantly suffering through email messages that want you to buy, or donate, or at the very least click on the delete button, so that they aren’t clogging up your inbox unnecessarily. It is rare that I go to my inbox and discover a newsletter that is well curated, well written, and engaging.

So rare in fact, that upon reflection I wasn’t immediately sure if I received any newsletters outside of my educational institutions. This prompted an experiment. I didn’t delete any email messages for a week so that I could sift through the items I usually shuffled straight to the trash.

Do you know what I discovered?

It’s really difficult to craft a newsletter that people consistently engage with and read. A company that does this exceptionally is a non-profit based in Toronto called Evergreen Canada.

For those who haven’t heard of Evergreen here is a description in their own words, which they use at the bottom of their email mail out.

Screen Shot 2015-11-25 at 9.55.56 PM

One of the best things about Evergreen is that it is a community based non-profit organization. With non-profit status, it can hardly be compared to a sales business model, typically associated with more aggressive email marketing.

Mind you, non-profits exist based on their ability to drum up financial support for their initiatives. Evergreen strikes a fine balance between giving their customer valuable information, and creating a community space where people can organize, feel included, and offer donations for the incredible services provided.

What does Evergreen’s newsletter do that others fail at? Well, to begin with, it offers value by bringing me news about the relationship between the city of Toronto and its natural surroundings. It gives me a tangible way to #makeadifference including valuable volunteering experiences, learning resources, and community events based around food and nature!

Screen Shot 2015-11-25 at 11.54.55 PM
Evergreen Brickworks has a fabulous farmers market, similar to Jean-Talon (pictured here).

Give your customers something of value.

Evergreen does this by promoting news about things that concern Toronto residents. Not only are they offering valuable news, but they give information that solves a problem. Take their lead story on fixing Toronto’s traffic problem, pictured below.

Solving a problem is one way to make yourself valuable.

Screen Shot 2015-11-25 at 10.01.46 PM

Give targeted news that speaks to your clients.

In his article “7 Ways to Write an Email Newsletter People Actually Read,” Phil Frost reports that in order to get the correct tone and targeted message, marketers should consider creating an avatar for their audience. The avatar is a mock-up of your “ideal customer,” including a photograph, and demographics such as age, gender, marital status, yearly income, and location. Frost suggests using a different avatar for each market and writing the newsletter for one person, rather than the subscribers as a whole. This gives the message a friendlier tone, and allows for a more personalized sentiment.

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Photo sourced from Frost via reclaimingwealth.com

Other things Evergreen’s newsletter excels at?

Easy to read and well organized content with a call to action!

Screen Shot 2015-11-25 at 10.00.04 PM

The only thing that I would improve on is perhaps ensuring that the

Subject line in your email newsletter is keyword rich and grabs attention.

Have you got a favourite E-newsletter that brings you back time and again? I’ve been reading, and (saving!) the content of Evergreen’s newsletters for several years now. Let me know what you’re reading and what grabs your attention as a reader.

Tell me what you think! Get in touch with me on Twitter: @msrobynclarke and use the hashtag #CBUS111

Follow me on Twitter!
Follow me on Twitter! Click on my signature.







Duistermaat, Henneke. “37 Tips for Writing Emails that Get Opened, Read, and Clicked” Copyblogger.com

Frost, Phil. “7 Ways to Write an Email Newsletter People Actually Read.” Web Marketing Today. 21 Oct 2015. <http://webmarketingtoday.com/articles/118797-7-Ways-to-Write-an-Email-Newsletter-People-Will-Actually-Read/&gt;

“Customer Avatar Tutorial.” Reclaimingwealth.com <http://reclaimingwealth.com/leaders/2012/05/07/customer-avatar/&gt;



8 thoughts on “#makingadifference One Enviro Newsletter at a Time

  1. Marina Longo

    Robyn! You never cease to amaze me! This blog is so well written and connects on all levels. When you first mentioned that you normally delete all newsletters flowing into your mailbox and you now decided to give it a shot to try and read one, I think I can speak for many people when I say we all do the same thing. That is a great way to evaluate a newsletter on all basis. Great work!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Robyn Clarke

      Thanks Marina! I was actually worried that I wouldn’t find any newsletters, because I delete so many emails! I’m one of those people who can’t stand to see the pop-ups showing I have mail. Haha. It was a good learning experience to realize that I do consistently read articles from this e-newsletter.


  2. This newsletter does an amazing job of engaging its readers, and the photos you chose demonstrate this really well. I loved your point about giving information on problem solving and the Toronto traffic example (being from Mississauga I wonder if there’s ever not traffic coming in and out of TO). It is rare to find a newsletter with such a great tone and engaging content, and your pictures and subtitles made this post a great read!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Robyn Clarke

      Thanks Jackie! Yah, looking back I was surprised to find out that this one was newsletter that I actually didn’t delete (I still have content from 2013). There are always so many great posts about events at Brickworks, farmer’s markets, wine nights etc. that make it really worthwhile to have.


  3. Sinje

    Hey Robyn,
    once again, don’t underestimate the power of a picture! Reminded my so much of Wreck Beach, I had to read the article 😉 Great writing. I will need to have a look at the links you posted. They fit your article nicely. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Robyn Clarke

      Nice! Well, I suppose they aren’t far from one another. When I saw the picture from your post I had to read as well, thinking perhaps we had both gone in the same direction! : )


  4. Robyn Clarke

    Thanks for your comments everyone. It’s been really valuable to get feedback on all of our writing, and at the same time see what other people end up doing with the same assignment topic!


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