June 27, 2022 Doug Shaw

Income producing newsletters? I couldn’t believe it! It was in the mid-80s, and I was sitting in the offices of a new client who proudly showed me a copy of their monthly newsletter. It was an 8½” X 11” 8-page newsletter folded down to fit a #10 envelope, and it was mailed with a reply device and a return envelope! I didn’t like the concept. I thought, “Why do that to this lovely newsletter? These folks are trying to make newsletters do the work of direct mail appeal letters. Boy do they need my help!”

I couldn’t have been more wrong . . .

This entire issue of Donor Focus is dedicated to sharing with you the strategic, creative, and production aspects of both printed and digital newsletters that will produce significant income for your nonprofit. We are not recommending newsletters as a replacement for direct mail appeals or social media, but rather as VERY SIGNIFICANT, direct response income producers.

If you have been raising funds through your newsletters for years now, you might wonder why I would allocate so much energy to such a fundamental concept as this. But I have to tell you—almost every week, I see newsletters that are folded in half, a wafer sealing them closed, and I realize that many great nonprofit organizations are not aware of the things they can do to turn their newsletters into income rather than an expense.

I learned two very important lessons on that momentous day back in the 1980s. First, you can always learn from your clients. It’s a partnership, not a vendor relationship. And second, I don’t have all of the answers when it comes to raising money through direct response channels. If you’re not maximizing the income potential of your organization’s newsletters, I hope this issue of Donor Focus serves you well.

Thanks for being a part of what is right with the world!