Megan Carder, VP & Managing Director  ●  1/9/2020

The Best ‘Maximum Impact’ Ratio for Your Donor Newsletter


You’re doing amazing things for your organization — no one can argue with that! Starting new programs, bringing on new sponsors, increasing your volunteers … it’s all in a day’s work. Your donor newsletter is the best way to spread the word about your charity’s expanding impact.

With four pages and so much information to share, how are you supposed to decide what gets included and what gets cut?

A balanced, impactful donor newsletter follows the 90/10 rule.

Dedicate 90% of your content to stories of impact and 10% to other news and updates. Let that sink in: 90% — almost the entire donor newsletter — dedicated to stories.

Panicking about having enough story resource? Checkout our blog post on How to Curate Impactful Donor Newsletter Content.

Nonprofits often think about newsletters outside their direct response strategy — they deploy direct mail letters that fundraise, and newsletters that inform. Exclusively. But this mentality doesn’t reflect the donor’s experience. To her, every communication she receives either brings her closer to, or further from, your mission.


This evokes the phrase “death by a thousand cuts.”

Using the donor newsletter as a catch-all can very quickly lead to a piece with little donor-focused content — in this case, “death by a thousand ads.” After save-the-dates, sponsor lists and highlights, volunteer recruitments, board member lists, and planned giving ads, there just isn’t space left to show the donor how much impact she has on those being served.

Putting your newsletter through the 90/10 filter will help you avoid death by a thousand ads, so you can create a newsletter that brings your donors closer to you. Telling stories and sharing photos not only make her feel good about her past support, but also provides additional emotional and cognitive rationale for her to continue supporting you into the future.

Check out our six tips Move Donors to Give More and Give Longer With a Winning Newsletter.

And don’t worry, you’ll still have 10% of your newsletter real estate for sponsor highlights, volunteer recruitment, upcoming events, etc. Strategically limiting the space dedicated to that type of content will ensure your results — and donor relationships — won’t suffer.

Don’t put your newsletter on the sidelines of your fundraising strategy. Make it an intentional part of your donor’s experience. Use it (or 90% of it) to show your donor how her support is changing the world, and she will continue to help you do just that.


Want to create amazing, donor-focused newsletters? Watch our webinar on the 10 commandments of donor newsletters.


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