Donor Newsletter Tips: Content Do’s


First and foremost, cultivate and retain donors. Organizations can—and should—use their newsletters to step up donor engagement by:

  • Reporting results

  • Thanking donors for making a difference

  • Offering donors other ways to give, volunteer and make a difference

  • Showing that the need is still great

Donors want to get behind your cause. Help them!

  • Reserve the front page for news of the greatest importance to donors. Donors are interested in:

    • Accomplishments and recognition (what’s being done with my money … how did my support help).
      Ex.: Your support helped us reach 8400 more families in 2018.

    • Opportunities (what could/will be done with more funding).
      Ex.: With your support, we hope to hold 6 more community outreach events in 2019.

  • Prove you can be trusted with donor money by including facts.
    Ex.: 92% of your donation goes directly to education programs and outreach.
    Ex.: Include a pie chart showing where donor money goes or say You can view our financial reports online.

  • Include emotional triggers. People are more responsive to the idea of saving something than of gaining something.
    Ex.: Show photos of underprivileged children smiling and eating.

  • Give the newsletter a name. When focusing on emotional triggers, begin with your newsletter’s name.

  • Make your newsletter "donor-centered." Make donors feel needed or wanted. Maintain a friendly, intimate tone, using the word “you” as often as you can and in many different locations. Reinforce the idea that donors are essential to your mission.
    Ex.: Your support is essential to improving the day-to-day lives of families raising children with food allergies.

  • Use anecdotes more than statistics. Anecdotes help people understand what you're talking about. How have your programs changed a life for the better?
    Ex.: A year ago, I didn't know how to control my diabetes. Thanks to you, I have learned how to test my blood sugar and interpret the results.
    It’s okay to share a couple of shocking statistics about your cause.
    Ex.: Five Americans die each day from anaphylaxis.

  • Keep content fresh. Organizations should be sure that the content they include in newsletters is new, not recycled. Ideas:

    • Program news. What are your recent accomplishments? Is your organization growing, shrinking, updating or changing in any way? Do you have anecdotes that reveal success or promise? Do you have a new program? If so, what problem does it solve? What are your hopes for it?

    • Tips and how-tos. Each organization has a unique body of knowledge. Share it with donors.
      Ex.: The 10 Warning Signs of a Food Allergy

    • Trendspotting. These are articles that look ahead at coming developments.
      Ex.: Looking at Next Year: Where We See AIDS Research Headed

    • Research and development. The world is constantly changing. Does your organization have plans for the changes? Talk about them.

    • Columns. Be an authority on topics related to your cause. What myths can you explode?
      Ex.: 5 Myths about Prostate Cancer

    • "Did you know?" story.
      Ex.: How $25 Can Make a Difference

    • Other ways to give. Keep donors in the loop about other giving options, e.g., challenge grants.