Donor Newsletters are a great tool for communicating impact and stewarding philanthropic supporter. Unfortunately the vast majority of newsletters are pretty underwhelming, which is a huge missed opportunity!
Whether you send your newsletters monthly, quarterly or even once a year, don’t let this opportunity pass you by to provide donors with great, value-added content that they will actually enjoy reading.
There are a variety of content that you could share in your newsletters. Photos, profiles, updates, interviews, and of course stories. While all of these types of content can be effective, stories do the best job of giving donors a tangible example of the work in action. This in turn connects them to the impact that they have had.
3 Stories to Share in a Donor Newsletter
A Client Success Story
This is a classic story that I think every non-profit newsletter should include. A client success story is a tangible example of the impact that is made possible by donations. It is a great opportunity to show donors what your mission looks like in action. A great client success story should include:
- An explanation of the problem the client had
- How this problem was impacting their life
- How they ended up receiving help from your organization
- What their life is like now
The Why Story
Sharing a why story in your donor newsletter is an opportunity to underscore why you do the work you do. This story answers the question: why does this matter? But what is truly great about this type of story is that it communicates your values. Connecting to your donors on a values level is an opportunity for you to reflect back to them that their philanthropy matters and why. The core of successful philanthropy is helping donors find a match to their values and interests in the world. Through telling stories we can continue to communicate those values and build relationships with donors.
The Future Story
Storytelling offers tremendous power to non-profits because through it we can paint a picture of what is possible in the world through our organization’s work. We answer questions like:
- What would our community be like without this problem?
- How will the world be different for our children?
- What else is possible?
These are just three examples of stories that you can use in your next donor newsletter. If you’d like to learn more about great donor newsletters, check out these five examples of great nonprofit newsletters.
Have you told any of these or other types of stories in newsletters? How did your donors receive them? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.
Liz Bartlick says
For our last e-newsletter, I wrote a story (with a photo) of our Compassionate Companion volunteer Eileen visiting Doug in hospital. I included the story from both sides – how much Doug looks forward to the visit and how healing it is for him, as well as how much Eileen is appreciating using new skills as a volunteer. The story highlighted successful aspects of our program and has a lot of heart. The e-newsletter had our highest opens yet! (Thanks Vanessa, I’m learning from you….) You can read the story at http://pilgrimshospice.com/eileen-doug-a-special-relationship/
Vanessa Chase says
Hi Liz! Thank you so much for sharing your newsletter with us! I’m so glad to hear that you’re applying what you’re learning about storytelling. Your newsletter is great. I hope you are getting lots of positive responses from your donors.