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Reply Envelope in Your Fundraising Newsletter?

I had a great question recently from one of my students.

She said

“I am finding it very hard to include a return envelope with my newsletter.”

I think her question was “Should I put an envelope in my newsletter?”

To Ask or Not To Ask – that is the question, isn’t it?
There are really two things going on here: 1. Whether or not you should ask 2. How you feel about it.

Here’s the truth about fundraising and newsletters: When you send a well-done, donor-focused newsletter, and your newsletter is part of a well-rounded year of asking and thanking, there’s nothing wrong with putting an envelope in a newsletter.

It’s called a soft ask. It’s soft because you aren’t calling attention to your request for money.

If people read something in your fundraising newsletter that moves them, you’ve made it easy for them to respond.

Unfortunately, most nonprofit newsletters are crap.

Sorry, but it’s true.

They’re focused on the organization, they’re crammed full of useless information, and there’s not a single thing in them that connects the reader with the good work the organization is doing.

My theory is that you have too much to do in a day. The newsletter falls to the bottom of the priority list until it becomes a burning issue, then you throw something together just so you can get it out the door and check it off your list.
I know because that was the way I once did newsletters. And I’ve seen lots of my clients do it that way, too.

You have to realize that a newsletter serves some very important purposes:

 

  • Gives you a way to stay in touch with your donors. In other words, out of sight, out of mind. Your newsletter is a good reminder that you’re still here and still doing good work.
  • Gives you a way to connect emotionally with your donors and remind them they care about your mission. Your work is not quite as important to your donors as it is to you. You have to get in front of them regularly with stories that move them. When you pull their heart strings, they’ll remember that they care and want to help.
  • Gives you a way to educate your donors about your cause. Your donors don’t know the ins and outs of your mission the way you do. And you have to give it to them in small doses. When you inundate them with information, it’s overwhelming and they’ll tune out.

 

How often can you send a newsletter?

That depends. It depends on how you’re sending it and what else you’re sending. I believe you can send a print newsletter quarterly. You can send a shorter, email newsletter monthly.

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