Marketing & Communications Centre > Marketing Essentials > Help Sheets > The basics of producing your own effective brochure

The basics of producing your own effective brochure

The brochure is often overlooked as a marketing tool in a community group's armoury.

Whether it's a simple one-pager or four-colour foldout, a brochure can help present your group and your messages to the world.

Space is limited on a brochure, so you need to be clear on the messages you wish convey to your readers. Avoid trying to squeeze too much in, it rarely works.
Look at treating it as the printed equivalent of your 30-second "lift speech".

Brochures – Aims and purposes

Your group's brochure can aim to:
  • Inform the public of your existence - where you are, what you are and how they can contact you.
  • Entice people interested in your issues to become members of your group.
  • Tell people working in the area where and how you fit in.
  • Tell the public what you can do for them.
  • Inform prospective donors, members, volunteers, supporters, etc. of your good works and how they can join/donate/help/support your group.

Your brochure needs to have an aim.  What is in your brochure is decided by that aim, as well as your audience.

The question you should ask is "Why should the reader be interested?"  
  • If the brochure is aimed at prospective members or supporters, it has to demonstrate what your group does and why it deserves their consideration.
  • If you're aiming at potential donors, you firstly have to get them to care.   Then you have to answer this question: "Why should someone donate to our organisation instead of another one?"
Detail what makes your work special.  Then, through your brochure, show prospective supporters and clients how special your work is by highlighting:
  • What you do and how it helps.
  • What you want to do.
  • How you do it.
  • What you plan to do in the future.

Your brochure is not primarily or overtly just about asking for money or support.

There will certainly be times where that could be the case, an emergency membership or donation drive for example, so it's a good idea to include a membership or donor form in your brochure to give people the chance to help out.

Your group should view a brochure as an opportunity to establish presence and identity - telling people who you are, what you do and why you're different.

It's about establishing yourself in people's minds so you can approach them later with your requests.


The design options for even the most basic brochures can be endless.  The good news is that there are easy-to-use software packages that can help you compile a professional looking brochure.

Find a group member, or someone who has a flair for design and ask them to rough out some basic layout and design ideas. Ideally, that person should be able to produce a template using a software package.

Another cost-effective way of getting a template for your group is connecting through this link, which coneects to information and websites which have templates you can use to put together your own newsletter.

If your group can afford it, employing a professional designer can be an option.  If you decide on this course, you should also consider asking for a cost on reviewing all your productions with design or graphic elements.  This may cost a bit more than just having the brochure designed but it will help develop a consistent 'look and feel' for all your promotional products.


Whilst design is important all style and no substance will mean your brochure will end up being quickly deposited in the bin.

The real power of your brochure comes through – targeted, well written copy.

Think about your brochure recipients and target your copy at them.
For instance, if you're aiming at local residents or a special interest group relevant to your activities make sure your information is relevant and directly speaks to them.

Your copy should:
  • Avoid jargon and buzzwords.
  • Be specific.
  • Be personal.
  • Be brief.
  • Be simple.
  • Be straightforward.  Discard anything that isn't immediately understandable.
  • Have a type size big enough for everyone to read. Make it larger than usual if you are aiming at an older audience.
  • Have plenty of white space. Don't try to pack too much text in.
  • Have photos, pictures or graphics that are clear, relevant and well-captioned.

Remember that you'll probably be using the brochure for a couple of years so don't include text or pictures that are going to date easily. For example avoid copy that gives specific dates such as "Attend our fundraising function on 26th September".  
Importantly, your brochure needs to be easy to respond to.  Your contact details /membership form/request for more information details should be featured prominently, be clear, easy to find and easy to read.

Production and production costs

There is a wide range of production levels and costs to consider when producing a brochure. The choice can start at a simple "photocopied on coloured paper" brochure to a full colour, professionally designed version printed on glossy stock.

Agree on a format and layout for your brochure that takes into consideration the time and cost constraints of your group.

The information contained on this site is subject to change. Our Community will not be liable for any loss or damage whatsoever coming from reliance placed on all or part of its contents.