Why your nonprofit newsletter is a waste of your money and everyone’s time [Newsletter Tuesday]

Newsletter Tuesdays: A series about doing more with your donor newsletter.

NewsletterTuesday2

Is your newsletter a success?

Most nonprofit newsletters are not. They’re a waste of money. They aren’t worth doing, because they don’t generate short term revenue or long-term donor retention.

Why?

It’s most likely a combination of two factors:

1. It’s irrelevant

I have difficult news for you: Your donors don’t give to support your organization. And they don’t give to fund your important and excellent programs.

They give to make the world a better place.

They want outcomes. They aren’t that interested in activities.

So if your newsletter is all about your organization and your activities, it’s irrelevant to them.

You might as well be writing about the commodity prices of copper. Yawn.

Don’t get me wrong: Your activities are very important. They are the center of your organization. They make your outcomes happen.

But for all but a very few of your donors (staff, board members, and maybe your mom), your activities not the point. All your brilliant reporting about activities and other insider information is essentially noise to your donors.

They aren’t paying attention. So they aren’t responding.

2. It’s boring

Irrelevancy is boring, so if you get relevant to your donors, you might solve the boring problem.

But there are other ways to be boring beyond irrelevance:

  • No stories.
  • No drama
  • No humanity
  • Uninteresting images
  • Headlines that don’t draw readers in.
  • Statistics that people don’t understand or care about.

Being boring is your enemy. It not only gets you nowhere … but it “trains” your readers to think of everything you send them as boring.

Make sure your newsletter is relevant and fascinating.


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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.