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