How to Create Donor Responsive Newsletters

Newsletters offer a way of communicating with your donors by letting them know how their contributions are being used and who is being helped. Today we’re sharing with you, tips on creating donor responsive newsletters.

By creating donor responsive newsletters, you’ll effectively increase donor retention. They’re an integral part of any nonprofit’s stewardship efforts.

What is a donor responsive newsletter?

A donor responsive newsletter focuses on what your donor’s contributions have accomplished. Donors want to feel good about giving to your organization and need to be reassured that they made a wise decision-supporting your organization.

What a donor responsive newsletter is not

Donor newsletters should not contain information about how great your organization is or your employee’s accomplishments. Those topics have nothing to do with the donor or how their money is being spent.

Creating a donor responsive newsletter

If you want to make improvements to your newsletters or perhaps you’ve never mailed a newsletter and wish to create one, here are 6 tips to make newsletters donor responsive:

1. Utilize donor-centric stories

Write from the heart. Emotional success stories about the people your organization has helped or a situation that has been improved upon give donors a glimpse into the lives of the people or situation they are helping.

Paint a picture, show, don’t tell. Write about the abandoned dogs that were found homes, a local hospital saved from closure, a village receiving clean drinking water, or a veteran saved from living on the street. Show the dogs in their new homes, the people who benefitted from the neighborhood hospital, or the veteran who was empowered.

Write about “you”, not “we.” In donor-centric fundraising, the word “you” is the most important word when writing a story or appeal letter. It focus on how great “you” (the donors are) and all the things that “you” have done to make the world a better place.

In organization-centric communications, “we” is the most important word and focuses on how great the organization is and all the things that “we” have done. Stay away from the word “we.”

A compelling success story coupled with wording that shows how the donor’s generosity has made a difference and how important the donor is to the organization is sure to be a winner!

Other types of stories

Profile Stories

Profiles of volunteers, board members, and donors can be included in a newsletter, but keep the focus on someone who went above and beyond and their motivation behind helping your organization. How did it make them feel? How did it make the person helped feel? What you don’t want to do is create a biography or listing of the person’s good deeds.

Organizational related stories

What has your nonprofit been up to? Have you reached a new goal or expanded your facilities?  If you want to share an update on how the program is doing be sure to share the outcomes. Donors need to see how their donation is making a difference in the lives of others. No one wants to hear about how you doubled the size of your facility without hearing about how that increase resulted in the ability to help more people.

Stories about upcoming events

A save the date listing upcoming activities or events is a good way to get people to block out time to help. But be sure to paint a picture of the delicious food, the items in the silent auction or raffle, or anything else that has made your nonprofit’s past events successful. Show the reader, not tell, why they won’t want to miss this very exciting event.

2. Make it easy to read 

Many donors don’t read, they scan newsletters. Design and format matters. Use headlines that uniquely promise a benefit or solve a problem. Utilize bold fonts, underscores, background shading, and italics. Make the articles shorter than longer in length and don’t forget to use pull quotes, as room allows, for emphasis. Don’t forget to brand your newsletter with consistent fonts, colors, and design elements.

3. Use photos and captions

Keep a photo library and choose images that convey emotion. When possible write stories around the photos, not the other way around. Including captions near each photo will spark a reader’s interest to read the full story. Without captions, donors will often make their own conclusions about the photo.

4. Thank the donor

Every newsletter should show gratitude and emphasize how much donors are appreciated. This is accomplished by working thank you copy into a story or in “call out” boxes throughout the newsletter.

5. Include a call to action

What is the purpose of your newsletter? Is it to attain corporate gifts, inform planned giving prospects, or to sustain your mid-level givers? Whatever the reason, guide visitors by telling them what you want them to do whether it be donating, making a call, or returning a reply card.

6. Remind donors how to help

Let people know what they can do to get involved whether it be donating, volunteering, becoming a monthly donor, taking a tour of your facility, or just connecting on social media.

Should you mail or email the newsletter?

If your donors are acquired and renewed by direct mail, then you need to mail them a newsletter. If they have been acquired by email and are used to donating by email, then you should email them the newsletter. Don’t email your donors a newsletter and expect them to respond if they never have donated that way before. 

If you’re not utilizing all of these tips in your donor newsletters, I suggest you put them in place now. These 6 simple steps will create donor responsive newsletters – strengthening retention rates and increasing donations.

Keep Write Choice Marketing in mind when you’re creating your next newsletter. We can provide donor responsive copy, as well as design and printing services. 

Newsletters are an integral part of your stewardship and can create an important bond with your donor – one that will result in continued donations to your organization. Contact me today to discuss how to make your next newsletter donor responsive. 

Do you ever have trouble generating content to fill your nonprofit’s newsletter? Let us know in the comment section below.

Sandy Ruyack
President, Write Choice Marketing

P.S. I hope you find our monthly newsletters informative. If you do, Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Contact us:
(845) 494-2283 

Copyright © 2020, Write Choice Marketing, LLC