Newsletters Done Right
I’m convinced that most of the donors who support social-enterprise organizations today would give more tomorrow if they clearly understood the impact of their gifts — if they could experience the power of their support.
And this is exactly why donor-focused newsletters are such a vital part of the donor-communication mix. Newsletters sent to all active donors can do what the typical appeal letter can’t (and shouldn’t) do — educate, nurture and affirm, and report specific accomplishments. As a bonus, newsletters also are excellent fundraising tools.
- Educate. Newsletters give you the space and format to educate your donors about your work: what you do, why you do it and what you believe. A well-written newsletter is the perfect vehicle to convey your organization’s core beliefs. It’s a printed soapbox that will give your donors the information they need to understand the power of their giving.
- Nurture and affirm. Newsletters give you an opportunity to encourage your donors by explaining their vital role in accomplishing your mission — a mission your donors believe in as much as you do. Newsletters accomplish this affirmation by openly expressing gratitude; for example, at the end of an article about a successful project: “Supporters like you helped make this project such a great success.”
- Report accomplishments. The most important function of a donor-focused newsletter is reporting your successes. Donors almost always are subconsciously asking themselves, “I wonder what my gift accomplished?” They want to know how their gifts are used and what’s happened as a result of their giving. The more you acknowledge and answer these questions, the more fundraising success you’ll achieve.
- Raise money. A newsletter can raise money for your work. The most effective newsletters almost always will achieve an ROI ratio of 2 to 1 or better. A simple reply coupon and reply envelope, along with newsletter pointers about giving, are all you need. You’ll be even more successful if your newsletter themes are closely integrated with your direct-mail appeal-letter themes.
So, how do you do it?