"7 Fatal Flaws in Donors Newsletters", courtesy Tom Ahern

7 Fatal Flaws in Newsletters

Courtesy Tom Ahern
modern compass



Research has shown that donors like to receive newsletters...the problem is that they are not always read.

Author Tom Ahern says this is because so many newsletters are simply not interesting. Tom has has identified seven fatal flaws that nonprofits continually commitwhen they prepare their donor newsletters.

Catch these flaws, correct them, and see how your newsletters finally do their job of keeping donors informed,enthusiastic about your cause, and writing checks for the long haul.


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1. Your donor newsletter fails the "You Test." A good donor newsletter is friendly, even intimate, in tone. Use an institutional voice and see your readership fall off.

2. Your donor newsletter skimps on emotional triggers.

3. You claim it's a newsletter, but it's really just an excuse to say hi. The giveaway here is when you include (on the front page no less) a ponderous letter from your executive director or the chairman of your board.

4. Your donor newsletter isn't donor-centered. It doesn't make the donor feel needed or wanted.

5. The donor newsletter isn't set up for rapid skimming and browsing. You actually expect people to read long articles. Your readers don't have the time.

6. Your donor newsletter has weak or dysfunctional headlines. This is the "most deadly" fatal flaw. Writing headlines is not hard but it does take attention, and some knowledge of what works well.

7. Your donor newsletter depends far too much on statistics (and not enough on anecdotes) to make your case.

Tom Ahern is the author of The Mercifully Brief Real World Guide to Raising More Money With Newsletters Than You Ever Thought Possible,another in the series of Real World Guides by Emerson & Church.



Last modified: Monday, 4 February 2013, 9:37 AM