Your Attention Please

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve written about the importance of engaging your donors.  One way is regular communication with them.  You may have created a plan and chosen donor-centered content, which is great.  Now you need to get their attention to get your messages across. 

Think short
You might have better luck with shorter more frequent messages.  Aim for every week or every two weeks.  If you only send out a monthly e-newsletter, your donor might miss your email due to a number of reasons – vacation, work, family.

You only have a few seconds
When sending email choose subject lines that will capture your donor’s attention.  February Newsletter is not as enticing as Learn How You Can Help Prevent Childhood Hunger.  The same goes for headlines in your newsletter and website.

Consistency is key
All your messages and materials, both electronic and print, should have a consistent look.  Your donors will start to recognize your brand, and hopefully see you as a reputable source.

Make it easy
Your donors are busy and are receiving messages from a variety of different sources besides your organization.  In most cases, they are going to scan your message, so make sure they still get the gist of what you want to convey.

Your messages should be easy to read and scan.  Use a white background with black type.  Use lots of white space and bold headings.  In addition, use at least a 12 point font (bigger is better).

Make it visual
Photos and graphics can tell a story in an instant, but in certain venues such as email, they can create problems.  Here are some ways to prevent this. Top Five Worst Nonprofit Email Marketing Mistakes: #3 Assuming Users Will See Your Graphics and here is a creative way to enable images. How to get donors to enable images in email
Photos are great in print pieces and on Facebook.

You need good content
That might seem obvious, but if your donor has come this far and is ready to read your message, don’t shortchange them. Put yourself in your donor’s shoes.  What would they be interested in?  In most cases personal stories triumph over a bunch of statistics.

When creating content, remember the four Cs – be clear, concise, conversational, and compelling. The 4 Cs of Writing Good Content 

Think multichannel
Use different channels.  Besides email, communicate by social media, on your website, and through the mail.  Measure which channels work best for you.  You can communicate the same message through different channels. For example, include links to your newsletter on social media.

Be mobile friendly
Many people read email and look at social media and websites on their mobile devices or tablets.  I am not a technology expert, but I do know that when I read content on my iPhone, I’m much happier when it fits nicely on the screen.  This will make your donors happier too, and that’s what you want.

Here are some resources about going mobile.

Be known but don’t be annoying
Some organizations are afraid of annoying their donors by communicating too often, but most don’t communicate enough.  Remember your donors might miss some of your messages. 

Staying in touch once a week and sending out short, engaging messages will help you get your donor’s attention.
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