Personalising newsletters to make a true difference to donors

While your donors have become accustomed to receiving correspondence asking for support, the newsletter should land a little differently for the recipient.

While your donors have become accustomed to receiving correspondence asking for support, the newsletter should land a little differently for the recipient.

The correspondence should be informative, educational and give the reader the confidence that yours is the charity making a difference. But while newsletters are produced generically, you can still put personalisation as a priority to help build the relationships that lead to donations.

Keep your audience in mind

The first sentence

Emails display the subject and the first few words of the opening sentence, so you have to intrigue the reader. Check out which emails you open first and analyse the opening lines. Try them out on short emails once you have tested a few ideas and see how the data stacks up. Check with colleagues and find out what motivates them?

Call to action

Choose a call to action and make it clear. Impress on your supporters the need for urgent action. If your newsletter appeal goes onto the supporter’s “I’ll check it out properly later” list, you have probably lost them.

Clickable action buttons

Ensure the clickable button appears several times in the newsletter because people seldom read the whole thing but skim read. They liked your image, the headings have convinced them, and they want to donate. BAM, there’s the button right in front of them. Whenever they decide, the button should be right there, in colour, ready to click.

Accessible text

Make paragraphs short and avoid overly complicated sentences. Also, avoid jargon.

Mobile friendly

Around 69% of content is read on mobile devices – so the images and text need to be optimised for phones. If it is not downloading fast, enough people will hit the delete button.

Clean layout

Thousands of messages bombard a person daily. Use headings, colour, clear layout and a few well-chosen images to grab attention.

Check the metrics

Check bounce rates, open rates, shares, unsubscribes, and donations to get a clearer picture. The replies or comments can provide information on what your supporters want.

Offer incentives

“Your donation will be doubled.” “Win a prize.” “A chance to have your say.” All these encourage people to look forward to your newsletter.

It is easy to include too much when running a not-for-profit, so test the newsletter on those who will give you an honest answer before pressing send on a mass email. After all, you want your charity to fit so well into supporters’ lives that they’d miss it if they don’t receive their regular newsletter.

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