You might, of course, charge your readers for it.
But assuming you don’t have this in mind, how else might you obtain donations and earn income with your organization’s newsletter? Here are two ways with examples to generate fresh thinking about this versatile and often overlooked income tool. You may have other ways that I missed—if so, please share below!
1. Drive Home Efforts. To grow revenue, sync your newsletter with your income development efforts.
How might this work? Let’s consider Andy’s example.
Along with his plan to mail an annual appeal letter in November, Andy develops this four-month sequence of newsletter content:
Andy drafts text informing readers that the letter contains a surprise they won’t want to miss.
Andy asks three donors for their mini-testimonials about their giving experience. In the process, he warms these relationships, learns more about these donors, and offers readers three inspirational stories.
Andy writes a one-paragraph story about a customer’s transformation. To encourage gifts, he includes an envelope in the print version and a “donate now” button in the electronic newsletter.
Andy writes text and includes several pictures of how gifts already create amazing results.
2. Stand Alone Support. Your newsletter is also a tool to earn financial support directly. Use it in all or some of the following ways:
As Andy writes about the Legacy Society, he writes with the goal of having readers call him to learn more. Two readers call.
Andy hunts for information about his cause to educate readers and to support his goal of making the newsletter the place to turn for cause information. He includes stories and facts that educate and establish the possibility of reciprocity.
Should he include an envelope in the print newsletter? Andy decides to find out. He divides the mailing list. Half of the recipients’ receive a donation request and coupon in the text. The rest receive the same text plus an envelope. Andy also remembers to measure the results—which can be the hard part because of the time delay. He learns from his constituency the cost of the envelopes fails to be met by their inclusion.
After sending the newsletter, Andy reviews it and contacts seven people who have interest in the context to get their feedback. A week later, he reviews all of bounced emails. He contacts people to learn if they’ve moved and what’s important to them now. From those, he makes three appointments.
Andy seeks to create a cadre of business supporters. Not only is the potential for income important, he knows that business supporters will help with some political issues. He uses the newsletter ad opportunity as a possible benefit to the local business owners he contacts.
Can you make money with your newsletter or support your income? Yes. Will you? It’s up to you. Make your newsletter as a multifunctional tool in your income development arsenal. What ways have you found to use your newsletter to grow or enhance income?
Karen Eber Davis provides customized advising and coaching around nonprofit strategy and board development. People leaders hire her to bring clarity to sticky situations, break through barriers that seem insurmountable, and align people for better futures. She is the author of 7 Nonprofit Income Streams and Let's Raise Nonprofit Millions Together.
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