Dont Let Your Newsletter Be a Snoozeletter
By Sarah Lange
Due to time and resource constraints, many nonprofits make the mistake of focusing solely on soliciting donors, and dont provide information about their programs and progress. Donors are left to wonder if their gift was put to work as they intended, and if it made a difference.
There are easy ways to make your newsletter, whether printed or electronic, a useful and cost-effective tool to communicate with donors:
1. Keep the News in Newsletters
Many nonprofit newsletters make the mistake of writing in the past tense. While its important to share news of a recent grant, a large donation, or photos from an event, unless these take place as youre moving into production, social media or an e-news blast might be a more appropriate channel through which to broadcast this news. Your newsletter should focus on whats news, and things that are happening now, as well as things that are about to happen.
This doesnt mean you have to write stories about your donors (although thats an idea you might want to consider) or include long lists of donors in each edition. It means writing about whats meaningful and important to your audience, the people who are supporting your cause. If you arent sure what that is, survey them.
Philanthropy is a heart-centered activity, and donors give in response to an emotional trigger. Use your newsletter as a means through which to share stories about the lives youre changing, the impact youre having, the difference youre making. It keeps things on a human scale and strikes an emotional chord with your reader.
Make sure your front page is engaging and dynamic. Use color, catchy headlines, text boxes, pull quotes ,and photos to move your reader through the newsletter and make stories more digestible. Make sure you use a font type (preferably san seraph) and size (at least 10 point) that are easy to read.
The purpose of a newsletter is to inform, inspire, acknowledge, and thank your supporters. Since the ultimate goal of your newsletter is to retain donors and encourage them to increase their giving, the newsletter production schedule needs to coincide with and support development activities.
Slip a remittance envelope in every edition of your newsletter and place a donate here button in a prominent place in your e-newsletter. Most donors are happy to give more than once per year and it cant hurt to make a soft ask while youve got their attention.