Ken Goldstein, MPPA

Ken Goldstein has been working in nonprofits and local government agencies from Santa Cruz, to Sacramento, and back to Silicon Valley, since 1989. He's been staff, volunteer, board member, executive director, and, since 2003, a consultant to local nonprofit organizations. For more on Ken's background, click here. If you are interested in retaining Ken's services, you may contact him at ken at

Monday, May 15, 2006

Seven Donor Newsletter Flaws

Tom Ahern has a new book called Raising More Money with Newsletters Than You Ever Thought Possible, with an excerpt posted on on the seven donor newsletter flaws that are killing you.

This short piece contains some good information and things to remember when putting your newsletters together. One of the most important, in my estimation, is Flaw #5: "The newsletter is not set up for rapid skimming and browsing. On the contrary, you assume people will read long articles. Here's the harsh truth: most of your audience won't have time to give your newsletter more than a glance."

I fully agree, and have often told people that it's a mistake to assume that anybody reads anything anymore. As a writer, I find that terribly sad. But true.

This piece of advice is important to remember, not just when seeking donations, but in all your communications. Do you have important information to get out to your clients, suppliers, volunteers, collaborators, or anybody else?

Rather than using text-dense letters, break up the message into bulleted lists, using bolding, italics, and underlines (each sparingly) to draw out the key points. Longer explanations, if needed, may follow, but make sure any necessary take-aways (next required meeting, due dates for applications, changes in regulations, etc.) can be easily picked out without reading the full letter.

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