Thursday, May 22, 2008

Developing effective newsletters

Although a survey conducted during the 1990s indicated that donors prefer receiving newsletters from the organizations to which they contribute, a subsequent study shows that donors may not be reading the newsletters they profess to crave.

Speaking at a recent national fundraising conference, consultant Tom Ahern offered a few pointers about effective newsletters, including ways to get donors to read and then, as a result, donate.

Ahern offered four ways by which an organization can attract readers through its newsletter. They are:

  • Speak in emotional terms. Gifts are written by the heart. The head is just there to second the nomination.
  • Write in benefits. What’s in it for me? If you speak to people about the benefits and with donors that means about how they are saving the world or could save the world they will respond.
  • Sound conversational, not institutional. Newsletters are very akin to direct mail. They are correspondence between you and your donors, so they should be conversational in tone, if possible.
  • Speak to the four different aspects of donor personality: amiables respond to intimacy and heavy use of the word “you.” Anecdotes are important to them, as are photographs of people whose eyes can be seen.

Expressives want to know about the new, exciting things the organization is doing. Analyticals are skeptical and need reassurance. Give them facts. Bottom-lines want you to tell what your organization does and how they can help. FAQs are good.

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