How Nonprofits Can Start An Online Magazine And Engage Donors

5 min readJul 30, 2022


Are you looking to engage your donors more? Starting an Online Magazine for your Nonprofit might help. See why and how to get started.

Before we go into what an Online Magazine exactly is and how to get started, let’s first go into why Nonprofits should look into adding magazines to their Marketing Strategy.

Why Nonprofits should use Online Magazines

In this day and age, more and more people want to do good. At the same time, people want to know that the money they donate will be spent well, AND there are quite some charities to choose from when donating.

Creating a great digital magazine can help your nonprofit stand out and showcase that you’re a thought leader on the subject. You can showcase that you truly understand the issue you’re combating, have the right solution, and showcase successes.

The online magazine format helps you to tell better stories by adding beautiful multimedia elements and guiding people through the storyline.

What is a Digital Magazine or Online Magazine

Simply put, a digital magazine has many of the same characteristics as a print magazine but uses digital publishing technology so it can be consumed on any electronic device like a computer, tablet, or mobile phone while delivering the same experience.

There are plenty of advantages to using a digital magazine over a print magazine. Massive savings on printing costs and eco-friendliness are the most obvious. Depending on the technology used, digital magazines can have aesthetic and functional benefits as well. For example, they may contain animations, hyperlinks, videos, and other dynamic content.

So what is an Online Magazine then? Is it the same?

Online magazines (or ezines, e-zines, eMagazines, webzines) are digital magazines that are hosted, distributed, and read online. While they share some characteristics with online newspapers and blogs, the editorial approach remains more like a traditional magazine.

Examples of great looking Digital Nonprofit Magzines

Let’s go with the ‘show, don’t tell’ approach.

Here are a couple of great Digital Nonprofit Magazine examples. See how they tell a great story, how they guide you through that story, and how they use multimedia to create an immersive experience?

Imagine this would be your magazine. How would your donors that have supported you for years react to such content? Would they be excited to see how their money has been put to good use all these years?

One of the biggest challenges nonprofits face is getting people to care.

Scott Harrison, CEO, and Founder of Charity: Water said it well:

“It’s hard to make people care. It’s not their daughter that has to walk for miles to get water every day”.

Do you think such magazines would make a small difference in getting people to care? Check out the examples by clicking the links below:

Digital Magazine Example: MVO Nederland.

Digital Magazine Example: LISC.

How to create awesome magazines

Let’s entertain the thought that you’re convinced that having a great-looking magazine can help you tell better, immersive stories. And that such magazines will help you attract new donors and volunteers, and retain existing donors and volunteers.

The question is.

How do you create great magazines?

1. Get a content team together

First of all, you’ll need people to help you put all that awesome content you’ve been creating and stories you have to tell together into magazine formats.

Do you have a content marketer, or even a content team ready to go? If not, do you have volunteers ready to help out? If not, a freelancer or agency would also be an option. To be honest, having someone in-house would be ideal, but don’t dismiss the option if you don’t have that luxury.

2. Create a content repository

As a nonprofit, you, your volunteers, and donors have a lot of opportunities to create content. Hosting an event? Take pictures, Volunteering days? Get volunteers to take pictures. And so on.

Be sure to encourage people to take pictures and videos, write a short blurb about the piece, and send them to you, and User Generated Content is really strong because it’s created by people that love what you do and you’ll get different viewpoints and stories.

After receiving those pieces of content, save them in a content repository and they’re ready to be used for your magazines.

3. Decide on the Magazine type

There are roughly 5 types of digital magazines you could create. Check out the image below:

Source: Foleon

We’ve written before about the future of PDF.

Also for creating beautiful magazines, we don’t believe the PDF format is really suited. You just can’t create the immersive experiences you’ve seen in the examples above with PDFs. It would be a waste of time and resources to publish your awesome stories in an outdated format.

So the other options are; Flipbooks, Flash, Native apps, or HTML5 Magazines.

We won’t bore you with all the details but creating HTML5 Magazines will give you the best experience with the least effort.


As a Nonprofit, you, your donors, and volunteers are creating a lot of awesome content.

It’s time to collect and organize those pieces of content and to create beautiful, immersive magazines that will wauw new and existing donors.

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Originally published at on July 30, 2022.




You have a story to tell. We want to help. Let’s create memorable content. #Nonprofit #SocEnt #Charity