Nature Canada wanted to reinvigorate their donor newsletter. Our mission was to develop a new template that was donor-centred, as well as enjoyable and easy to read. We also wanted to make it express Nature Canada’s URG (Unique Reason to Give). Our belief is that every piece of donor communications and fundraising should resonate and echo what makes your organization special, and how, with the support of your donors, you achieve stunning and impactful results.

We started with the masthead. We wanted a fresh creative approach, and something that, from the start, made it clear that this was about donors and action. The title, natUre, has a colour change on the “u”, so what it’s saying is there is a “you” in nature. And the by-line, “Your Action Report for the Supporters of Nature Canada” puts donors at the heart, and you know you’re reading about impact.

The template has a few other key features. The lead article is an overview of what you’ll read inside, ties all the threads of the piece together, and also builds a feeling of community. You’re part of something bigger, you’re in this together…

We also added photos of each author beside their articles. Not only is it great eye contact, but we’re also showing the authors as real, smiling and friendly people who are also enjoying the outdoors in their photos.

Nice, big type and lots of white space Critically important for older donors. And, of course, lots of photos of nature in all its spectacular colour.

There’s also a cover letter, which is personalized, and builds just that little bit more of a conversation, a dialogue, with the reader. There’s also a coupon and a reply envelope. Your newsletters should compliment your other direct response programs, and give your donors an opportunity to give, if they are so inclined.

That’s all good stuff. But here’s the critical strategic piece. The content all looks and feels natural – you’re reporting back on some of the latest projects and campaigns that your donors were a part of. You’re giving donors a way to take action – they read about what they can do to take care of birds in their own backyard. You’re creating a feeling of community, of togetherness, without having to say it outright.

And you’re teasing out some of what your donors will be hearing more of in the future. In this case, we planted a seed around this idea of “Is Science Endangered” and we followed up with e-appeals and social media content that echoed and amplified this message.

Finally, you’re inviting – and wanting – personal contact. Jodi encourages people to contact her directly in the legacies article. There is a call-out for feedback and ideas. You’re reminding your readers that this is a dialogue, a relationship.

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