Newsletter Writing 101

by Allison Hall Drew, Development Specialist


As flourish’s work within the non-profit community expands, so does our involvement in fundraising. In a fast paced, online world, we as fundraisers are continually challenged with the best way to reach out to our giving communities. Face-to-face relationship building is still the best approach to show gratitude and need, but more and more organizations are getting online to manage their campaigns.


A very popular method of outreach is with an eNewsletter. This can be extremely useful method! It gives you the ability to reach a large number of people within your constituency, while providing you the analytics to see how many have been opened any particular communication or how many clicks to your website your newsletter generates. Then you can evaluate the successfulness of the newsletter by comparing that information to donations received. Here are the important things to remember to maximize the effectiveness of eNewsletters:


This newsletter isn’t about you! It’s about your donor. This can be a challenge because we want to use this as a tool to sing our own praises or highlight our upcoming event, but it should be used to highlight the donor. The donor has a role in your organization that is just as critical as any other. Don’t forget it and don’t letthemforget it.


Outreach is the goal. Use the newsletter as a way to educate the donor about the work and the need. Don’t be timid about the ask, but don’t use these solely as a tool to recruit funds. Balance is key.


Tell a story. These stories don’t always have to pull at the heart strings. Let these be stories about growth and change made possible through your donors. Make your story something that the donor can both relate to and feel compelled by. In some cases, this can be a life saved or simply a legislation that has been passed.


Use Visuals. Everyone is guilty of this: we skim. Not all readers are skimmers, but most of us are. So, use visuals and highlight quotes to catch people’s attention and tell a condensed story. Statistics say that your average donor is a 60-year-old woman (or, in my case, a 30-year-old woman who acts like a 60-year-old), so write for them! Use a larger font, use visuals and keep it short.


It’s worth repeating, KEEP IT SHORT. While you might have a lot to say, your donors don’t always have all the time in the world to read through everything. So, tell a condensed story. Everything can be edited. If it can’t, perhaps an eNewsletter isn’t the suitable format for what you’re trying to impart.



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