Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Article: How to Raise Money with a Newsletter

Chronicle of Philanthropy

We received the following question from a director of development who requested anonymity for both her organization and herself.

"[...] Do you ever recommend sending both the print and e-mail versions of the same newsletter to your donors and prospective donors? Or should they just receive one of the other? In the past, we have mailed the print newsletter to our higher-value donors and prospects and sent the e-mail version to the rest of our supporters, but I am wondering if that is the best approach."

To answer the question Tom Ahern, a direct-marketing expert and author of four books on communications with donors. He writes:

"E-mail newsletters and print newsletters are not equivalents, as you suspected. They are very different reading experiences, for one thing. E-mail newsletters are a clicker's medium, quickly dismissed. Printed newsletters are physical, and readers tend to sit down to read them (assuming that what you've written is worth reading).

Then there is the money. Few charities I know make much money from their e-mail newsletters. On the other hand, lots of charities I know make serious money from print newsletters. In fact, some charities make more money from their printed newsletters than they do from their direct-mail appeals, improbable as that might seem. (Those newsletters usually contain a return envelope and instructions for how to give online, making it easy for donors to give.)

The best practice is to send printed newsletter to every donor, not just the higher-value ones. The primary purpose of a printed newsletter is to report results so you can improve donor retention. Obviously, you want to retain all donors, not just the wealthier ones."

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