A fundraising newsletter can often seem like the email version of a PBS Pledge Week: A tiny bit of interesting content continually interrupted by seemingly endless requests for money. Apply these top five types of effective content and your fundraising organization’s email newsletter will actually galvanize and excite rather than just supplicate and cadge.
1. Action Alerts – You can ask your supporters and donors to take direct action on a specific issue of interest to your organization that does not entail writing a check, such as emailing their Congressman, signing an online petition or organizing an event in their own community. By providing explicit instructions on how that action should be taken, you will facilitate their completion of the desired task. For greatest effect, tie in this direct action with an explanation of how it is beneficial to your organization’s overall cause and goals, and how their team effort will provide a tangible and measurable benefit.
2. Success Stories – Sharing your success stories with your supporters and donors will help you explain what you are doing with their donated funds and their investment of time. When you give your readers credit for your organization’s success and demonstrate to them that they are critical to that process, you will further engage your reader. Without resorting to braggadocio, you can portray the image that your organization is involved in activities that really do have a tangible benefit. This evidence will keep your donors and supporters involved over the long term.
3. Behind the Scenes – Providing a “back stage pass” in your email newsletter content will allow your donors and supporters a glimpse of what happens in your organization from an insider’s viewpoint. Transparency is a key term, as any form of obfuscation or elusiveness will cost your organization dearly. Your readers know that pobody’s nerfect, so if you have committed an error in judgment then you can use your email content to explain what happened, what you have learned from making that mistake and the procedures you’ve implemented to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.
4. Urgency – Creating a sense of urgency is necessary in any organization’s newsletters and it is best achieved by discussing events that are coming up in the next few days or so. If all of the event or occurrence dates that you currently have are months in the future then consider creating intermediate milestones to promote timeliness. You can create commemorative deadlines such as a countdown to that month’s 100th donor or your organization’s 10th major media mention. You may even want to set up mini-events like online seminars, symposia or lectures leading up to a major affair such as your annual meeting or an international conference.
5. Greater Scope – Your organization’s fundraising efforts are directed towards soliciting revenue to keep your operations and advocacy programs functioning but your mandate can be greater than a strict focus on your “bread and butter” goal. You can help improve the professional and personal lives of your supporters and donors by suggesting various things they can implement in their everyday activities to help make a better world, such as green tips, energy saving ideas, health & welfare advice or ethics guidance. By showing your readers how actions taken on their own time can help contribute to a greater cause, you can help to interest and intrigue your readers.
Mixing up these five types of content will not only help advance the goals of your organization’s email marketing campaign, but your readers will be better able to stave off donor fatigue. It’s a win-win strategy!