Your donor has just sent in another gift! Hurray!donor love Heart

So you reply with a wonderful, personal thank you note. And then you call her to say thanks. In addition to the paper letter that you send.

Then what?

You have to communicate with her . . .  so you can continue to build that warm, close relationship with her.

You’ll send your newsletter. And you’ll send email alerts and updates.

But will it matter? Will she pay attention? Will she care?

Here are 5 smart tips from my favorite communications expert Kivi Leroux Miller on how to make her pay attention and love you even more.

1. Ask donors to do something besides give money.

One of our great rules in fundraising is “Involvement breeds investment.”infographic people who volunteer

You and I both know that involving our donors is an important goal. But how many organizations really pull this off?


  • Inviting your donors to volunteer – then they’ll experience your work in action – and everything just may change.
  • Asking your donors for feedback about your organization. (try a survey)
  • Asking your donors to take some sort of action to help the cause.


2. Use a clear call to action.

When you are inviting your donors to get involved – don’t be vague.

Ask your donors to DO SOMETHING in a clear call to action!

Ask your donors to DO SOMETHING in a clear call to action!

Kivi says that these words are not clear enough: Participate, Engage, Believe, Understand, Support, Help, Promote, Share . . .

Instead, be extra specific about what your donors can do to help.


  • Making your call to action so specific that you could take a picture of someone doing this.
  • Giving your donor step by step instructions on what to do: Get a Kit, Make a Plan, Be Informed in an Emergency.


3. Don’t bore them!

Want to know what bores your donors? Lengthy articles! Dense print. Kivi says that the days of 1000 word newsletter articles are over.

Will your donor even read your stuff?

Will your donor even read your stuff?

You and I both know that long, complex communications don’t really fly with donors. But how many people are tackling this seriously?

How many traditionally long newsletters am I seeing both in snail mail and email? Wayyyy too many!


  • Sharing short videos. (I’m really intrigued with this idea!)
  • Sending short, sweet and interesting news tidbits.
  • Breaking up your newsletter into 3 or 4 different pieces that go out at different times.
  • Sending a tiny infographic to your donor.

4. Send them snail mail in addition to emails.

Are you cutting back on your print mailings in order to save money? I’ve seen too many nonprofits who have eliminated their print newsletter so they can cut down on their expenses.

Many donors WILL read your snail mail - don't cut it out to save money!

Many donors WILL read your snail mail – don’t cut it out to save money!

We both know better – but the urge to save all those postage and printing costs is just too great! PLEASE don’t cut back too much on your print materials!


  • Many donors will read both types of communications – building up your wattage in their attention span.
  • Older donors tend to actually read print materials – and they are the ones who give the most.
  • Communicating via different media channels reinforces and amplifies your message.

5. Find the stories.

Kivi says that telling a story in a series of different communications is a wonderful way to draw your donors in and keep them interested.

We all know that humans are wired for stories – look at the success of People Magazine! I know whenever I’m giving a workshop and my audience looks tired – then I switch to telling a story and every eye in the room is riveted to me. Everyone just wants to know what happens next!


  • Finding the funny moments and sharing them with your donors.
  • Creating a “story arc” – that you spin out slowly over time. (Love love love this idea!)
  • Find clients and people you’ve helped to tell their own story.


You as a fundraiser need to get much better at how you communicate – because it’s these happy touches that will prime the donor to be ready to give again.

Fundraisers these days can NOT rely just on a strong appeal letter!! Instead you have to give your donor an entire experience via your communications.

Then you can create your pool of consistent donors who provide ongoing sustainable funding to your nonprofit. Hurray!

Kivi Leroux Miller of is one of the smartest communications gurus anywhere.

What I like about Kivi’s approach is that she cuts to the chase – no fluff, no bull. It’s straightforward advice on how to shape your messages so donors – and the world – will listen up!

Kivi Leroux Miller is our Go-To Communications Guru!

Kivi Leroux Miller is our Go-To Communications Guru!

Today Kivi’s giving us a magic Bullet – how to break through ONLINE to our donors’ hearts and minds.

Online is where the action is, right?

Even though donors are still giving far more via the mail – you know as well as I do that it’s just a matter of time before we live and die online.

What’s worse: so many smart capable fundraisers are awful at messaging and communications in general.

Here’s how you can shape up your online communications so your donors will pay attention and stick with you.

Are you a Mini-Media Mogul?

Long gone are the days when a quarterly print newsletter was all you had to think about. Today, nonprofits are mini media moguls, publishing and broadcasting in multiple channels, from print and email to social media and the airwaves.

Sending your donors little morsels of information works!

Sending your donors little morsels of information works!

And our donors are on the receiving end of all this stuff. Do they listen to you? Do they read it all?

Try Sending “Marketing Morsels” to Your Donors

Here’s Kivi’s revolutionary tip that can get your donors’ attention online:

Send your donors out little pieces of information in small digestible bites.

Kivi calls them Marketing Morsels. Here’s how she describes this strategy:

One important step in getting control of your communications is to stop obsessing about long newsletter or website articles and spend more time creating Marketing Morsels.

The smart communicator breaks down all that stream of info to your donors into little bite-sized morsels.

The majority of people who see your communications will pay attention to only the tastiest little bits of it.

The tastier the little morsels, the better, because then they will continue to read or to click for more.

Marketing morsels come in all shapes and sizes.

When it’s text like subject lines and headlines, it’s called (in marketing jargon) microcontent.

But morsels are other things too! They are every single social media update you post – because of the small spaces you are working in and the fast pace at which those news feeds are reviewed by others.

Morsels are also

  • visuals and photos
  • short videos (think snippet sized, like Vine on Twitter or Instagram videos)
  • animated GIFs
  • infographics.

Morsels are also what we see on mobile devices, simply because of the smaller screens.

Here's how you can get your messages to stand out from the crowd!

Here’s how you can get your messages to stand out from the crowd!

Here’s why I think this concept is so important and even revolutionary:

We all labor to create lovely long magazines, newsletters, reports etc.  But our donors don’t read them! 

There’s that fancy 4-color annual report, your good-looking magazine, your expensive newsletter – all going into your donor’s recycle bin untouched.

It’s time to face the fact that this stuff is not working for us. What WILL work for us is to parcel out the information in small chunks, little by little.

What do you need to do to create more morsels?

Kivi says it’s possible for us all to create cool morsels of interesting bite-sized content.

Here are the skills we need to develop so we can produce good morsels – and if I can do it, then you can do it too!

  • Get good – really good – at headline and subject line writing. (You know I pull my best subject lines from the cover of Oprah magazine!)
  • Learn how to make graphics fast (e.g. overlay text on a photo and post it in under 20 minutes, tops. It’s really not that hard. Use these picture/text images in lots of places!)
  • Get comfortable with your phone camera and editing/filters. (Quickly snapped photos can be amazingly powerful – especially when you use them to connect your donors more deeply to your work.)
  •  As you write longer articles or stories, think about how you will break that longer content into morsels. (Always always keep stuff short and sweet. Break it up! Who wants to read long, long online newsletters or stories?)

If you want more help for your online marketing, consider joining Kivi’s webinar for us on Monday, April 14 at 2pm ET.  “Creating a Smart Online Marketing Plan That Works!” Kivi will share her 5-step process for improving our online communications.

I trust Kivi’s advice more than any other. Definitely join us if you think it can help you! If you can’t make it on on Monday you’ll still receive the powerpoint, audio, video, and transcription afterwards.