Planned Par­ent­hood Rhode Island: donor newsletter

Exhibited by
Tom Ahern.
June 12, 2009
Medium of Communication
Direct mail
Target Audience
Awareness, individuals, corporations, granting organisations
Type of Charity
Children, youth and family
Country of Origin
Date of first appearance
June, 2007

SOFII’s view

Donors may not always like and welcome direct mail and other fundraising communications but they do like and welcome a good newsletter. This may not be the very best newsletter in the world but it's certainly a very good example of how to get this important communications vehicle right.

Creator / originator

Tom Ahern.

Summary / objectives

PPRI had several goals:

  • To provide a useful newsletter that reported on achievements that had depended upon (been paid for by) donor contributions.
  • To be provocative, because an advocacy group should have a strong voice.
  • To drive people to give online more frequently (hence the reminders on almost every page).
  • To improve donor retention by building a strong case for support.
  • To build relationships.


PPRI used an already established newsletter formula since it has proved successful at bringing in extra revenue.

Special characteristics

This is a standard two-colour four-page newsletter – a traditional format used widely by fundraisers.


In Tom Ahern's view, it's hard to find a donor newsletter that's very strong. This attempt by PPRI has sought to be an example of best practice in newsletter design and content.

Other relevant information

PPRI allowed and encouraged the newsletter's producer, Tom Ahern, to follow his concept of best practice (as outlined in his book on donor newsletters, The Mercifully Brief, Real World Guide to Raising More Money With Newsletters Than You Ever Thought Possible (Emerson and Church 2005). Tom's book is based on a critical examination of hundreds of nonprofit newsletters. It may have a lousy title, but it's a good book!