How does an organization create a compelling member magazine?

How does an organization create a compelling member magazine?

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens produces a member magazine to highlight the nonprofit’s exhibits, botanical research, events, supporters and volunteers. While the member magazine was popular, Selby Gardens leadership wanted to take it up a notch.

The main goal: Make the content more engaging. Selby Gardens wanted readers to spend time with the magazine even if they didn’t already have a deep interest in the goings-on at the Sarasota institution.

B2’s Solution

With B2’s help, Selby Gardens re-imagined the magazine, giving it a new name, The Sanctuary,  a more visually interesting look and a fresh approach to the stories. Led by B2 principal Kyle Parks and then-network partner Brigitta Shouppe, the agency helped launch the new magazine in September 2020.

Now, we work with B2 network partner Dave Scheiber to produce the magazine three times per year. We've found three keys to success:

Taking a news-based approach: We take a journalism-based approach to producing the magazine. We flesh out story ideas that will resonate with the audience, then ask the right questions to bring the stories to life. 

This approach has led to such fascinating stories as features on the collaboration of artist Robert Mapplethorpe and poet/artist Patti Smith, on the volunteer boatbuilding operation at Selby Gardens’ Historic Spanish Point campus, and on the research done by Dr. Sally Chambers, one of the world’s leading experts on ferns.

Marrying content with interesting visuals: Planning for visuals starts at the beginning . The Selby team and B2 work with designer Holly Antoszewski to get compelling artwork and photos for each story. 

For example, designer Antoszewski came up with a stylized map showing the route of a tour boat that connects Selby’s downtown and Historic Spanish Point campuses, which formed a cool backdrop for the story.

Planning far ahead of time: Working hand-in-hand with Selby staff, B2 plans each edition several months in advance. It takes time to do thoughtful interviews, to create compelling graphics, and to give sufficient time for thorough review and editing.

We're flexible in our plans, knowing that stories may need to switch depending on what is happening at Selby Gardens.


Selby Gardens’ leadership has heard consistently from readers how much they like The Sanctuary. The nonprofit has found that the member magazine – which is mailed directly to homes - is a great way to supplement its digital communications.