What to put in your donor newsletter
Do you ever hear a song lyric wrong ...
... and then it stays stuck in your head that way?
Take, for example, Prince's song "Little Red Corvette."
Brett's (11-year-old) ears in 1982 somehow misheard the "little red Corvette" chorus as "steal away, come on, hey."
In his wee brain there was, well, this whole other song.
I enjoy this. It's goofy good fun. It makes me laugh.
But it also means Brett hears the song differently than others do — never in the way Prince intended. (No Corvette vibes.)
Which brings me to donor newsletters.
The word "newsletter" makes me think of "news" — obviously.
That's appropriate — partially.
A newsletter should feature news... but not only news.
And so — like a misheard title — the word "newsletter" may invite a sort of (subliminal) misunderstanding that gets stuck in your head.
Therefore, perhaps it's worth pondering:
What to put in your donor newsletter...
It's not complicated.
It's just important to remember.
So we give you a checklist of sorts, for what you might include in your donor newsletter:
- News — Yes, of course, highlight your news! This will usually take the form of...
- Stories of Impact — For each story of impact, first remind us of the story of need, then follow with the impact the donor's support made possible.
- Images — Make sure your images tell the story. Nothing in them should distract from the story. Focus on people... animals ... faces... eyes.
- Captions — People are trained to read captions. Valuable real estate! Don't disappoint!
- A Story of Need — Consider including a story of need that has not yet been resolved. And consider following it with...
- A Call to Action — After including a current story of need, ask the donor to take action such as donating, becoming a monthly donor, or volunteering.
(This should be brief and not a "hard sell.")
- A "Save the Date" – If you have an upcoming event or program to promote, consider writing a short paragraph asking your donors to "save the date."
- Stories of Social Proof — These are special impact stories featuring donors and volunteers. They often motivate others to try to be like them.
- A Letter — Often from the Executive Director or the Board President... keep this (optional) letter short, sweet, and focused on how the donor has helped.
- Headlines — Your headlines should be visually bold, specific, and donor-centered.
- Subheadings — Your subheadings should help your headlines by "commenting" on them, so that your donors can immediately connect to the gist of the story.
- Reply Form and Envelope — Make sure you provide an opportunity for your donors to give again!
- Outer Envelope — Use one! Newsletters that arrive in outer envelopes almost always raise more money than do self mailers with no envelope. 🙌
While you're here...
Why not read a little more?
Fundraising Writing Newsletter
Every two weeks I send a letter about fundraising, writing, donors, and life to smart fundraisers like you.
I share fresh, practical donor communication tips and resources... and some silliness too.
It’s free. Unsubscribe whenever you want.
I love receiving letters. If you do too, subscribe today.