Michelle Sanders Brison

Individual Giving Virtual Summit

Michelle Sanders Brison

The Good Side of Getting Things Wrong – Lessons learned from that time we changed our newsletter

After seeing a slight dip in the ROI of our monthly print newsletter directed to donors, our agency partner recommended a rehaul of the design and content. While I wasn’t happy about making such a drastic change, and honestly, protested greatly, I lost the battle. However, I did win the war… but it came at a cost.

For six months, we drastically changed our monthly print newsletter.

Instead of an 8-page, 4-color, a full-bleed newsletter that contained the following: lead story (cover and inside spread), feature stories on volunteer, supporter, and influencer, a letter from the president, and urgent needs and events) and focused on thanking donors–we were charged with the task of creating a newsletter that was 4 pages with a flap.

The content would be focused on asking for money, as opposed to thanking donors. (IMHO it was a glorified direct mail piece.) While this style of newsletter might work for a nonprofit that doesn’t have a strong, solid history of newsletters, it didn’t work for us. Our organization, which has a long history of telling stories and thanking donors, was not successful with this revamped newsletter. The ROI was horrific.

During this session, I’ll walk you through the process of the decision, the changes we made, the results we got, which led us to go back to the previous format with some slight modifications, and what those results look like today.

Maybe you can learn from our mistakes.