No matter how vital your fundraising, you won't build a groundswell of support unless you communicate your key messages clearly and powerfully. UK charities generate more than £46bn each year because they are adept at eliciting a positive emotive response to their fundraising campaigns. Schools, too, need to think about how they can connect with and engage potential supporters on an emotional level.
An eye-catching single page newsletter (digital or hard copy) is a simple way to draw all your fundraising communications together into one bulletin, with regular updates published throughout the year. It functions both as a call to action and a way to acknowledge and thank supporters. It also ensures that important fundraising news doesn't get lost among the plethora of school correspondence.
However, you need to be selective in your approach. Your readers and supporters are busy people who will appreciate key information being delivered in a quick and easy-to navigate format. So, avoid overloading them and asking for too much all at once. Prioritise your wish list by identifying school improvement projects that will have the greatest impact on your pupils, or address the greatest areas of need (you may have identified these already in a fundraising plan).
When considering what to write and how to write it, remember less is more. Choose your words carefully and make your core messages as succinct and emotionally impactful as possible. Take you guide from recent political slogans - Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives - repeated endlessly to drive a message home. Keep reminding readers about the difference the project will make to children at your school. If writing is not your bag, put out an appeal for skilled writers in your school community.
The purpose of your newsletter is to provide a narrative of your fundraising journey and persuade people to jump on board. It should inform as wide a potential supporter base as possible about the progress of campaigns - and persuade individuals and organisations to donate or support in kind.
Whether digital or hard copy, your newsletter needs to stand out and be instantly identifiable. So take time to get your branding and layout right.
Plan the frequency of your newsletters realistically so as not to overload readers' inboxes. One newsletter near the start of every half term is a good routine to work towards, as this is regular enough to build a presence and pattern in supporters' minds. You can also add your newsletter to your 'Support us' page, as well as publishing it on social media.
Create a draft schedule outlining what stories you are likely to share and when. But be flexible and always be ready to respond to - and celebrate - the unexpected.