One of the best bloggers I know, Jeff Brooks of Donor Power, had some interesting data to share about his efforts to personalize newsletters. I’d proposed that nonprofits write their newsletters specifically for the donor — for example, naming the newsletter “How Katya Has Helped X Organization.” He hasn’t done the title like that before, but he has personalized by name in a number of ways, including in headlines (two steps ahead of moi, naturally). Here’s what he says:*The personalized newsletter didn’t do much for the large nonprofit he tried it with. Results were slightly elevated over normal results, but not enough to cover the extra cost.*The approach seems to work better for smaller and localized organizations.*The approach works wonders for urban rescue missions. Jeff has also experimented with a newsletter for high-dollar donors that not only used the donor name, but also gave different content (stories and photos) based on the donor preferences and giving history. The impact on revenue was very good, but the costs were high. The program was very time-consuming to manage, though.I think the most important thing to keep in mind is that personalization is important even if you can’t pull off naming the newsletter after the donor. Think of your donors as people, not ATMs, and write about what THEY care about. It’s not about your programs, it’s about the difference your donors made. Remember, they want to feel important. That’s the kind of personalization we can’t do without. And if you’re an urban rescue mission, try putting the donor’s name in the e-Newsletter title!