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Member, Association of Fundraising Professionals
Member, American Society of Association Executives
Resources – Newsletter Archive

September, 2007

Welcome to "Karen's Fundraising Tips." The September 2007 issue gives tips for writing a newsletter for your nonprofit organization. And the hot tips section section has a few events that may be of interest to you – one of which occurs online in just two days!

     Each issue - which you can read in 3 to 5 minutes - has a main article, a hot tips section, a charitable quote just for fun, and perhaps another item or two tucked in. Everything this humble copywriter shares is for the purpose of making your work as a fundraising professional a bit easier.

Online Newsletters – Another Fundraising Tool [470 words]

Kirsten, a reader of Karen’s Fundraising Tips, sent in a question.

She’s brand new to a nonprofit – I don’t know which one – and one of her main tasks is to write an online quarterly newsletter. They used to mail out a hardcopy but are changing for budget reasons.

Her organization “provides a wide range of services to the homeless and those living in poverty in the area.” She went on to say “… with no experience in writing newsletters I’m looking for any helpful tips to get me started and assist me in filling the pages with worthwhile information and news.”

Two significant questions must be answered immediately before Kirsten can write a single word:

  1. What’s the purpose of the newsletter?

    A general appeal? Update on a project? Is it to encourage advocacy? Whatever it is, you must know the purpose so your copy is focused. And include “asks” throughout.

  2. Who will it be sent to?

    To donors who give money? Or to people who provide “gifts in kind?” These different populations would lead to very different newsletters, for example.

And all these questions impact the copy.

Speaking of copy . . . it must be donor centered.

  • What do donors want you to be doing?
  • Where’s their general perception? You must address it even if you don’t adjust your mission. Even if your veteran staff “knows best,” if the donor perception of what you’re doing or should be doing is different, you need to address it.

In the nonprofit world the donor is the center of the universe. There’s a lot of competition for those donor dollars and that’s why the nonprofit industry really is competitive. And that’s partly why it’s all about the “donor.” Keep the donor at the center of all your communications, including your newsletter.

Few more quick tips . . .

Kirsten, look at the archive of print newsletters from your organization. Start there. If it was a 4-page newsletter with 6 stories, get all 6 in two online email screens. Only have a little bit of scroll.

Open with a HOT LEAD paragraph with a link to "read more."

Each story is a short enticing opening paragraph with a link to read the rest of it. Remember; keep the email to two short screens.

Have “asks” peppered throughout your newsletter. And ask for donations in different ways: Click here to help us provide more warm beds in our shelter. Click here help ensure job training is available …. etc.

My final suggestion is for you to subscribe to as many other nonprofit newsletters as you can. Minimize your learning curve by modeling yours after theirs.

Good luck, Kirsten. These basics should get you started. And please drop me a line to let me know how you’re doing!

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Just for fun - a quote for you

"“No person was ever honored for what they received. Honor has been the reward for what they gave.”" (Calvin Coolidge, Former President of the United States)

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Have a Burning Question? [165 words]

How else can I make your job easier? Please don’t be shy. Don’t hesitate to tell me how I can serve you better.

The purpose of my newsletter is to give you – a fundraising professional – tools, ideas, and resources to make your fundraising efforts easier. And directly answering the challenges you face is an ideal way to make this newsletter relevant for you.

Please send your questions TODAY. Send them right now to this address. Take a few minutes and rattle them off before something distracts you.

And thanks for subscribing to "Karen's Fundraising Tips" newsletter!


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Hot Tips of the Month [189 and 67 words]

1) This is a ‘cut and paste’ from an email I received. I registered for the webinar because it’s relevant, and I know the talented reputations of 2 of the presenters: Kimberly Seville and Robin Riggs.

The FundRaising Success Educational Webinar Series presents "Brand New Meets Tried-and-True -- Advanced direct-mail techniques for fundraisers."

This webinar is sponsored by RMI Direct Marketing, Inc., and will take place on Thursday, September 13, 2007, 2:00p.m. ET.

Attendees will learn the latest approaches to this steadfast tool – direct mail – and receive practical, actionable advice from industry experts that can be put into use immediately.

It will be moderated by Margaret Battistelli, the Editor-in-Chief of FundRaising Success magazine, and will feature guest speakers: Robin Riggs, Chief Creative Officer, Robbins Associates with an overview discussing the importance of keeping direct-mail strategies fresh; Willis Turner, Copywriter, Huntsinger & Jeffer on prospecting; Kimberly Seville, Copywriter/Creative Strategist on donor retention; and Steve Maggio, President/Chief Creative Officer, DaVinci Direct on testing.

This webinar will be archived for 90 days after the live event. With your webinar registration, enjoy the ability to access this event on-demand as often as you'd like:

2) Passing on another announcement I received by email. has several fairs scheduled for the next 3 months around the country in 16 different cities. The first one is on September 18th in Philadelphia.

The fairs are “a resource for all new, aspiring, and mid-career nonprofit and public service professionals who want to learn more about their graduate education options.”

Get the details and complete schedule at .


Feel free to forward my newsletter to a colleague. Plus, here's how they can sign-up to receive it directly:

     1. Just click on this link, In the email message to me, please include the first name and email address of your colleague. I'll take care of signing them up.

Or ...

     2. You can sign them up directly on my website by following this link:

"Karen's Fundraising Tips"

Thanks for joining me and until next time . . . keep all your communications centered on your donors.

All the best,

Karen Zapp, Fundraising & Sales Copywriter
Perceptive Karen

P.S.  Have a project coming up soon? I’d love to explore the possibilities with you. Call or send me an email today. I look forward to helping your mission prosper!


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Call anytime and we’ll chat about your needs: 800-794-1609
I look forward to helping you prosper.

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