June 27, 2022 Doug Shaw

Recently, we asked ourselves: Is there a better way to do newsletters so they can have a greater impact on your donor file, while also increasing the funds they raise?


The typical eNewsletter for a nonprofit consists of a single email with a brief intro from the organization’s leadership and a few highlighted articles, stories, or areas to take action. But this style of messaging relies on a single send date and time, and it requires people to click through individual articles to read the full stories. What if that message hits at a bad time . . . or someone isn’t pulled in by the title and blurb to click and read the rest of the content? We theorized that if we broke the same highlighted articles out into individual emails—sending three separate messages with only one article featured in each—we might be able to increase the number of people seeing the content and how many give.


        • Unique opens increased by 185%
        • Unique clicks increased by 329%
        • Revenue increased by 57%


Ultimately, more people got into the messages, read the full articles, and decided to give—I’d say that was a successful newsletter test! And thankfully, it’s one that’s easy to try out for your organization as well. If you have an eNewsletter, use the exact same content, split your list, and see how this works on your file.

It’s also worth mentioning that while the eNewsletter is an essential part of your communications plan, it doesn’t replace the printed newsletter. Your donors are connected to you in multiple ways and on multiple channels, so your stories of impact and reporting should take place in multiple locations as well.

We’ve worked with several organizations who have considered going entirely digital for their newsletters in hopes of saving costs—but doing so has a big reduction in the overall revenue your newsletter can bring. For example, when one of our clients decided to go fully digital, their eNewsletter only generated 10% of what they typically received when also doing a mailing. This is why testing any major change is so important. Thankfully, this nonprofit went back to multi-channel communications, which reopened the door to the revenue they need to accomplish their mission.

Your donors care about the stories you have to share . . . they want to hear about how their donations are making a difference and how they can be part of what’s right with the world. However, they also choose very specific ways they prefer to connect with your organization—whether via print, email, or through your social networks. So, keep sending those great impact stories across all channels—and in digital, I hope you’ll try out this new format. You may be surprised by how a simple change can pay off in a big way.