Newsletters are as effective as ever in engaging readers with the latest news and developments. Despite RSS feeds and a myriad of online social networks, many prefer newsletters as a regular source of information. Why? Because they are easy to use, or actually to receive and read. The user receives the news conveniently in his mailbox and can unsubscribe if no longer interested. The sender knows exactly who receives the news and doesn't have to rely on complex website statistics to know that.
Some website Content Management Systems (CMS) have newsletter capabilities. The Burkina Faso Platform and Ruralweb use the Joomla CMS and the ... newsletter addon. It also automatically registers when the newsletter was sent, to who and the newsletter becomes available on the website. Standard templates can be used make the newsletter visually attractive or lay-out can be edited in HTML.
Faso Association makes its newsletters in Word, prints them as PDF and sends these by e-mail and regular mail. From other NGO's I know they cut and paste their newsletters in harcopy after which they are colour-copied and sent by regular mail.
A misconception is that a newsletter should be sent following a fixed schedule. Although this can be a very good idea if you're never in want of news, but it's not at all necessary. If you don't always have as much to tell, you can also send a newsletter just whenever there is news. People don't like to be bugged with non-news. The Burkina Faso Platform for example sends out news at irregular intervals. It sends up to a newsletter per week just before events. But at other times, the interval between newsletters may be as much as a few months.