Back in my youth, I worked in periodical publishing. One phrase that was always heard ringing down the halls was “ad/edit ratio.” In order to mail on a periodical permit, magazines must maintain a particular ratio of advertising to editorial content.
The ad/edit ratio is an important concept in all types of nonprofit communications, as well. Have you ever visited a nonprofit’s website and seen nothing but a donation appeal on the home page? Have you received a fundraising email that didn’t talk about the organization’s mission in any meaningful way? Have you ever stopped following a nonprofit on social media because every post was a solicitation?
Soliciting individual donations is important. It’s how most nonprofits keep their doors open. But donation appeals (the “ads”) must be combined with storytelling about your organization’s mission in action (the “editorial”).
Stories about your organization’s work don’t detract from a fundraising appeal; they strengthen your appeal.
Your constituents want content. Give it to them. In words, photos and videos, tell the stories that make them care about your mission. It’s that kind of editorial content that will make your fundraising appeal resonate.