The Six Fatal Flaws of Donor Newsletters
Ahern also shares a successful format in which newsletters are presented: 11 inches by 17 inches, folding to four 8 1/2-inch-by-11-inch pages; two-color printing; no glossy process; no self-mailers; and tucked in a No. 10 envelope.
3. The use of feeble or “non” headlines. “A headline is the entry point of your story,” Ahern affirms, “and 80 percent [of your donors] don’t go any deeper.”
The ultimate purpose of a headline is to tell the reader the gist of the story. If your headline falls flat and leaves the reader guessing, you haven’t written a compelling enough headline, Ahern says.
Also, unless your headline is “Titantic Sinks,” avoid the use of two-word headlines. Headlines should be eight words or less, and decks should be 14 words or less, employing dramatic action verbs such as “devours,” “mauls,” “sputters,” etc.
“The verb is the story,” Ahern stresses.
4. Relying heavily on statistics to tell the story. Stats lack emotion and a visceral ability to persuade, inspire and motivate people to give.
5. Losing sight of the audience. “Donors have to feel like they’re changing the world,” Ahern says. “The more you do that in your donor newsletter, the more money you will raise.” Remember you are talking to your donors; they know you. Be personal and conversational.
6. Failing the “you” test. “The most powerful word in the English language is ‘you,’” Ahern says. “That word is hard-coded into our systems from parents and teachers always addressing us simply as ‘you.’” It’s a cheap trick, but “you” is glue.
For more information, visit http://www.aherncomm.com.