What to put in an effective nonprofit newsletter

You know you should be producing a donor newsletter. But you feel intimidated by the task: What are we going to put in it?

Here are some great ideas from the Storytelling Nonprofit blog, at 10 improved content ideas for your non-profit newsletter:

  1. Comment on a news cycle story that relates to your work
  2. Share an impact story (in my book, this is what most of a newsletter should be)
  3. Interview a donor
  4. Do a Q&A with a local influencer who cares about your work
  5. Share curated resources
  6. Find a pop culture tie in
  7. Share a recent media hit
  8. Re-share your best social media content
  9. Be kitschy – personify inanimate objects (sounds corny, I know, but it can really get donors interested!)
  10. Publish op-eds (careful with this one; don’t opine on things outside of the cause your donors have signed on to support)

Here are some other things I’ve seen work well in donor newsletter:

  • Impact story in the form of a photo essay
  • Article about planned giving — why donors choose to do it (stick to bequests, not the more complicated products)
  • An on-page reply coupon (it improves response)
  • Reports on specific recent fundraising campaigns — how they did and what they’ll make possible

Another couple of facts that might help:

  1. In extensive testing, I’ve found the 4-page newsletters perform much better than 8-page (and longer) ones. You don’t need oceans of content. Just some of the right stuff!
  2. And 2-page newsletters do just as well as 4-pagers — sometimes better. Save time and money with a shorter newsletter!

Want to know more about creating a donor newsletter that makes a real difference? Don’t miss Tom Ahern’s free webinar, “Mommy, why do donor newsletters exist?” Coming May 10, and absolutely free. Register here


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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.