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Your donor newsletter & impact report need great picture captions!

Published about 2 months agoΒ β€’Β 3 min read

This is the 119th Fundraising Writing Newsletter.
If you find value here, please tell your fundraising friends.
​(Your fundraising friends can ​subscribe here for free.)​

In this issue:

βœ… Your donor newsletter and impact report need great picture captions!

βœ… Upcoming newsletter webinar for you? Great donor newsletters: digital & print. Retention's best friend. (They can make SERIOUS money, too!)

βœ… VIDEO: 'Win It in a Minute' from the archives: Tom Ahern answers a popular question about donor newsletters from a past webinar attendee

βœ… Randomly yours: to inspire and recharge you

​

Wednesday, January 17, 2023

​

Hi Reader,

If my life were being narrated movie-style, I'd want the narration to sound awesome β€” so my story really popped.

Wouldn't you?

I think of photo captions as similar to movie narration.

For example, I can imagine someone taking a photo of me working in my home office and captioning it:

  • "Julie Cooper at work"

Boo. No fun.

I mean, c'mon, that's not much of a story.

I'd much prefer something like:

  • "Julie Cooper tweaks her slideshow presentation, making the most of every free moment before the start of her big webinar."

Okay, this would be humble bragging. Not my thing. But I wouldn't mind if someone else did the bragging for me!

In a way, such is our job as fundraising writers. We get to "brag" about the impact our donors are making.

So I urge you:


Your donor newsletter and impact report need great picture captions!

Your captions should tell a micro-story worth reading.

A newsletter or impact report ought to be a compendium of stories worth reading: feature stories, headlines, subheadings, and captions.

Other reasons captions are important:

  • Attention: Most busy donors skim your communications. Captions draw their eye. And, since captions are short, they're low-commitment. They're valuable real estate.
  • Impact: Captions are another wonderful opportunity to thank your donors. Don't waste that.
  • Layout: Captions allow your donors to jump around the newsletter and still gain valuable information.
  • Accessibility: For donors who may find longer texts daunting or for those with limited time, captions provide a quick way to glean info and feel great about their impact.

A simple caption formula

context about the image + thanking the donor

Examples

The captions below are from donor newsletters and impact reports we wrote.

Notice how the first 5 captions tell a micro-story that follows the formula above. Each provides narrative context about the image + finishes by thanking the donor.

Sometimes, you might need to use stock photography in your newsletter and impact report. The context part of the formula will not apply. So make these captions all about thanking donors.

Such a simple tweak, right?

Your lovely donors will feel the love! πŸ’›


Donor newsletter webinar next week ... for you?

Great donor newsletters: digital & print. Retention's best friend. (They can make SERIOUS money, too!)

Have you signed up for Tom Ahern's newsletter webinar on January 25th? This once-a-year super webby will get you all fired up and prepped to write money-making donor newsletters (digital and print).

Tom updates his slideshow constantly with the latest data and examples. And you can get all your questions answered at the all-you-can-eat "all day" Q&A. Just keep asking, until you can't ask no more. (The Q&A alone is worth the price of admission.)

The fabulously knowledgable, experienced, and successful Denisa Casement will be our special guest panelist fielding questions with Tom. And yours truly (me, Julie) will be your host.

Hope to see you there! Learn more and register here.


Win It in a Minute:

From the archives: Tom Ahern on Letters from the Executive Director in Donor Newsletters

video preview​

This video is a snippet taken from the Q&A session Tom Ahern conducted after his 2022 webinar all about fundraising newsletters. You'll see Tom answer an attendee's question regarding what percentage of a fundraising newsletter to devote to a Letter from the Executive Director.

You can (and maybe want to?) subscribe here.


Randomly yours: to inspire and recharge you

For your brain, heart, and funny bone...

  • Fundraisingly Informative β€” The Easy Way to Raise More Money by Being Relevant to Each Donor by Jeff Brooks via Moceanic (a blog post to make your asking as smart as possible by calculating the perfect ask amounts)
    ​
  • Boldly Challenging β€” Philanthropy Redefined: Dr. Cecilia Conrad via Guy Kawasaki's Remarkable People (a thought-provoking 60-minute podcast episode about challenging the traditional power dynamics at work in today's philanthropy)​
    ​
  • Aerobically Amazing β€” The brain-changing benefits of exercise by neuroscientist Wendy Suzuki (a TEDTalk about how exercise not only helps your focus and mood but also protects your brain against neurodegenerative diseases and normal cognitive decline in aging)

Until next time: May you seize every fundraising storytelling opportunity ... because even teensy stories can do a world of good.

Grateful,

PS: We wrote a new book β€” and it's free! Click here to access Heartable Fundraising Writing.

Subscribe to the Fundraising Writing Newsletter

Hi! We're Julie Cooper and Brett Cooper, fundraising copywriters for great causes. Does your fundraising bring in as much money as it could? You can send donor communications that stir hearts to action. We'd love to help. πŸ’› Start by subscribing to our FREE weekly newsletter.

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