Focus On: Newsletters: Start Spreadin' the News
According to Cary Kimble, interim vice president of development and communications for Project HOPE, the organization treats the ask as a soft one.
“Donors should not expect that every time they hear from us, it is because we want money,” Kimble says. “We owe them the courtesy of reporting on some of our key activities so they know how their donations are being spent.”
Project HOPE does provide a device for readers to make a donation if, after reading, they feel moved to do so. But Kimble says the newsletter is not intended as a revenue-generating tool. It serves chiefly as a “reporting” and “visibility-raising” tool, he says.
“Our newsletter does not try to educate donors and the public on everything that we are doing, but it does try to give them some periodic highlights and assure them that our important work continues,” Kimble explains.
Project HOPE also features stories and photographs of staff members in the field and individuals who benefit from the charity, as Kimble says, to “connect a human face to our work.”
Good news for animal lovers
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has learned the value of collecting and using information about constituents to develop stronger relationships through online communications. Even by knowing something as simple as whether a prospect is a dog person or cat person can yield success.
Based on user-profile information gleaned from its Web site, the ASPCA segments donors and inquirers into three groups: dog people, cat people and non-specific constituents for whom no profile information was available. (Every donation, action — such as signing up to receive its e-newsletter — or any other touch point that a constituent makes online becomes part of his e-profile.)
The organization then deploys special appeals and targeted weekly newsletters according to the information offered voluntarily by constituents, including geographic region. Currently, members who live in New York, Connecticut and New Jersey receive a tri-state version of ASPCA’s national newsletter, which lists local events and human-interest stories.