Call it "The Case of the Message That Disappeared." It goes something like this (based on a true story)....
Quick bit of advice....
Donors give to your organization for their own good reasons. And those reasons are often firmly attached to a set of personal core values; for instance, feeling a religious duty to help the poor.
New donors who've responded to a message such as "follow in the footsteps of your faith" will likely respond to the same kind of message again. And again. And again.
Don't save those messages just for appeals. Litter those messages across all your donor communications including newsletters.
Some of your donors, maybe most of them, are "values donors." They follow in the footsteps of their faith in all their philanthropy: when they give to the arts, when they give to education, when they give to social justice.
Core values run deep and seldom change. Adrian Sargeant discovered that donor loyalty depended on just seven things. One of that handful: "Your donors share your beliefs."
By the way, organizational silos were the true villain in "The Case of the Message That Disappeared." It's a big charity. The direct mail group is on one floor, working for the fundraising department. The newsletter people are on another floor, working for the communications department. And never the twain happened to meet.
Newsletter editors: have samples of your organization's successful direct mail in front of you as you write. Look for key sales messages like "follow in the footsteps of your faith." Use the same kinds of messages in your newsletter headlines. Reaffirm the values that first brought your donors aboard.
Adapted from my forthcoming book on donor newsletters, scheduled for publication in 2012 by Emerson & Church.