Don’t Ask for Money in your Newsletter

Photo by elvinj via Flickr

Some organizations will put a fundraising appeal in their newsletter. I think that’s a bad idea. Your newsletter is one of the many ways to thank your donors. It should showcase your programs and clients – demonstrate to donors how their money is being spent (without actually saying that). Your newsletter is not an appropriate fundraising venue for a couple of reasons:

  • A good portion of your communications with donors and other supporters needs to be something other than a fundraising appeal. Many donors feel that the only time a nonprofit organization is in touch with them is when they are asking for money.
  • A fundraising appeal can get lost in a newsletter. To get the most out of your fundraising appeals, send separate, specific messages. Instead of including a reminder in your electronic newsletter for people to send in their annual appeal, send a separate e-mail message.

Even worse than including a fundraising appeal in your newsletter, is sticking a donation envelope inside your annual report. Your annual report is the ultimate thank you to your donors. It’s a place to list your accomplishments, tell stories about your clients and programs, show how your funds are being spent, and even include a list of donors. It’s not a place to ask for money.

I once received a donation envelope inside a holiday card that I received from a nonprofit organization. Not good. Holiday cards are great way to reach out to donors and other supporters, but leave the fundraising appeal out of it.

Of course, fundraising is very important, but don’t include donor appeals in your newsletter or annual report. Send out separate appeals. They will be more effective if you do.

2 thoughts on “Don’t Ask for Money in your Newsletter

  1. I work with quite a few non-profit companies and they are divided about the practice of including an appeal/envelope in their newsletter and annual report. In some cases the appeal/envelope generates significant revenue. Do you have any research that speaks to the practice of including an appeal/envelope?


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