Author Tom Ahern, in a March 2013 article posted on Guidestar, asks “What does a newsletter do for a charity? It helps retain donors. Not because they read the articles and decide they’ll stay, but because you show how you love and need them as they skim the photos and headlines.”
He goes on to say “I do a lot of audits, evaluating the donor readiness of nonprofit communications. The big problem is always the same. Nonprofits want to talk about themselves…. how good they are at their work….how they do their work… how their people are eminently qualified. They don’t often talk about the donor, except as a bystander who can be placated with perfunctory thanks. This gravely undercuts the potential of most communications programs.”
“CEOs need to realize that there are two very different types of communications a nonprofit can produce.
- Corporate communications which are all about how great the organization is, or
- Donor communications which are all about how great the donor is
“Most nonprofits incorrectly choose #1. It is a bad strategy. Corporate communications raise the LEAST amount of money. DONOR communications raise the MOST. I watched a hospital improve giving to its donor newsletter 1000% between one issue and the next, to $50,000 in gifts per issue, by simply changing from a corporate communications strategy to a donor communications strategy.”
“Writing to donors is like writing advertising copywriting, which is straightforward, action oriented stuff. Copywriting seeks to please and win customers. Who is our customer? In fundraising, the customer is the donor. Every attempt to communicate with donors should begin with the same question: What do they need—-and want—to hear?”
You can read Mr. Ahern’s entire article “Are you Boring Your Donors” at: http://www.guidestar.org/rxg/news/articles/2013/index.aspx