Your donors are busy. They’re tired. They make decisions all day in a world where everyone is clamoring for attention. Here’s a simple way to help them “catch” your stories.

Have you ever opened an email from a nonprofit and the thing just kept going on, and on? Or it was formatted to look like their print newsletter, and turned into a maze of misshapen text on your phone? Did you fight through and read it? If you did (most won’t), could you recall anything it said?

The idea of sending a regular newsletter is not a bad one. Printed. Sent through the postal service. With a return envelope for donations. The problem comes when we try to send that same newsletter by email. First, the formatting is going to be a bear.

The real problem is when we try to put a bunch of stories into one email, readers can’t “catch” them.

They open the email (maybe), see how long (or crowded) it is, and move along to the next thing in their inbox.

Even if they love you.

Try this instead:

Write your beautiful print newsletter. Include all the key stories a newsletter needs. Then, spread those stories out over several emails.

One story. One email.

If your newsletter has a constituent story, a donor story, and a volunteer story, that gives you three emails to send with content from your newsletter.

Think of storytelling like a game of catch, and each story is a ball. I toss you a story; you catch it and read. If I toss you several balls at once, how many will you catch? Even if you’re super-motivated and nimble, it’s likely you’ll miss most of those balls.

However, when I toss you just one ball at a time, you can easily catch it and respond.

Your donors are busy. They’re tired. They make decisions all day in a world where everyone is clamoring for attention. Balls coming at them. all. day. long. You can be the bright spot in their day by tossing them just one ball at a time.

When you try to cram several stories into one email message, other stories dilute your primary story and your call to action.

Treat your emails like a game of catch. Send one story at a time.

Try it and let me know how this works for you!

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