'Happily Ever After' Is Possible
Go with the biggest draw to your target audience. If you have a great premium, advertise it on the envelope. But if it’s kind of tacky, downplay it. Why get prospective donors all excited about a “freebie,” only to let them down once they see what it is?
Same thing with your story. If it’s only average — “we helped and now things are a bit better, but still not great” — don’t lead with that. You can use it in the copy, but you want to be sure your envelope teaser (if any) and opening few paragraphs are fantastic. Sometimes the best thing you have is your offer. For example, if you have a true matching-gift challenge, that may be the best lead.
Practice what you preach
OK, here’s a “Well, duh!” Make sure you do what you tell your donors you do. Sounds pretty pedantic, doesn’t it? But if you struggle with every newsletter to find the stories that show results and back up what you raise money for, you need to ask if there is a disconnect between programming and fundraising.