You know that saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”? Well, it’s time to fix what’s broken with your fundraising newsletter.

Yep, without even seeing it, I can tell you that there are very likely some things you need to change with your print or email newsletter.

I’ve heard from many donors that they don’t even look at newsletters anymore, even if it comes from their favorite nonprofit.

You know why? They’re boring and self-serving.

Most nonprofits are sending out selfish newsletters.  These newsletters are written by well-meaning folks who have not stopped long enough to really understand their reader and what their reader wants.

Think about how you put a newsletter together: Way too often, the newsletter falls to the bottom of the priority list because you’re crazy busy trying to get things done. One day you realize it’s time to get a newsletter out, and in a crazed attempt to do it quickly so you can check it off the list, you grasp at the first topics to hit your mind, slap articles together and reach for things to fill up space. It’s not pleasant for you and certainly not pleasant for your donor.

So how do you fix it? How do you put a newsletter together that your donor will read and respond to?

1. Start by creating a production schedule that gives you plenty of time to write and review. Leave time for getting it printed and mailed, too.

2. Next, spend some time getting to know your reader. Who are your donors and prospects? What do they really care about? I’ll give you a hint: they don’t care about the boring letter from your Executive Director or Board Chair. What they want to know is how you’re changing lives. They want to know about the people whose lives are being changed by the work your organization is doing.

3. Step 3 is to write about the things your donor wants to know about. Share those human-interest stories that make your donors feel good about their decision to support your organization.

4. Finally, step 4 is to deliver the newsletter in the format that the donor wants. Don’t decide to send your newsletter via email just to save money on printing and postage. Find out how your donors want to receive it, and send it that way.

Remember that your ultimate goal is to build relationships with your donors and prospects. Relationships lead to loyalty and long-term support. Communication is critical to building a relationship.

Think for a minute about someone you know that the only time you hear from them is when they want something. We all know someone like that, right? Don’t be that person to your donors! Don’t show up with your hand out for money all the time. Communicate with them to keep them in the loop about what’s happening.

A well-done newsletter will not only inform and education your reader, but help build that precious relationship. Follow these four steps and you’ll be well on your way.

  1. Thank you Sandy for this information. You are spot on when it comes to getting the newsletter out. It should be written with the reader in mind taking care not to get too wordy, but, getting the message across. Taking time to prepare the newsletter should be just as important as not to throw it together without proper thought. Thank you for reiterating this.

  2. Rufus L. Cole says:

    Thank you Sandy for this information. It’s quite simple but quite fascinating to help one makes an impact. I’ll follow those pieces of advice that’ve provided during our next publication.

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