“In all our material, we talk about how ‘you’ made it possible. It doesn’t say ‘we want you to give money,’ but it says ‘your gift made it possible for someone to change his or her life.’ On the lead story, I always make sure to include a ‘you’ statement in some sort of way.”
– Michelle Sanders Brinson, Communications and Media Manager, Nashville Rescue Mission

How a Printed & Mailed Donor Newsletter Generates Over One Million in Revenue with Michelle Sanders Brinson

Session 66

It’s easy to picture printed publications as relatively old-fashioned or even wasteful these days, especially if you spend $250,000 on them. But that’s exactly what Michelle Sanders Brinson and the Nashville Rescue Mission did – and it resulted in raising over $1.6 million in nine months from print publications alone. Michelle joins the show to share how, when executed effectively, print publications can reach and motivate people in ways that electronic mediums can’t. No matter the medium, however, the core of any send-out is the content. Giving readers a few segments that are featured every publication creates anticipation and helps drive conversation and interest. Michelle feels the strongest content stems from supporters’ stories – how and why they got involved in the organization, whether it be an employee, volunteer, or donor. The key to making an impactful publication is striking a balance between recurring segments and time-sensitive events or themes that need to be highlighted.

Michelle and Beth discuss:

  • How a successful newsletter evolves and changes over the years
  • Print publications and electronic mediums filling different needs
  • The extent to which design guides a reader’s feelings on a publication
  • Using readers’ interactions with publications as a springboard into other engagement
  • Crowdfunding as a different form of donating
  • When the best times are to send out physical newsletters and giving forms

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