The stuff that makes your donor newsletter a failure

Smart fundraisers get a lot out of their donor newsletters. They use them to strengthen their relationships with donors. And in most cases they directly raise significant revenue through newsletters.

How?

Short version: Make the newsletter about the donors and the difference they’re making in the world. Not about your organization.

That means restraining yourself from certain kinds of newsletter content that many organization dearly want to include.

Here’s a great list from the Better Fundraising Blog: Your Newsletter: What To Leave Out.

Leave these things out of your newsletter:

  • Photos of people giving or receiving big checks.
  • Photos of more than 3 people.
  • Articles about how great your organization is.
  • Articles about awards won.
  • Articles about statistical comparisons.
  • Articles about the organizations that you partner with.
  • Stories where there’s more information about your program or staff than about the beneficiary.
  • Any article or story that doesn’t mention the donor.
  • Type that’s too small to be easily read by a 70-year-old.
  • Anything written above a 10th grade level.
  • The words “we,” “us,” “our.”
  • The words “partner” and “partnering.”
  • Headlines that don’t tell your donor anything useful.

Someone in your organization is going to want to include many of these things. Don’t! You have donors waiting to learn how awesome they are. Not how awesome you are.

Ready to find out how to harness the power of story in your fundraising? Register for my new Moceanic online course, Your Blueprint for Donor-Focused, High-Revenue Fundraising Storytelling.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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About the blogger

Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.