Recently while I was doing research on the differences between real estate email newsletters and print newsletters, I came across an interesting parallel to the real estate industry in the “industry” of fundraising.

Like real estate agents, organizations that solicit donations have a long marketing horizon. Well-qualified donors tend to give repeatedly, but only over time, sometimes years apart.

Sound familiar? Real estate clients also tend to buy and sell houses repeatedly, but only years apart. According to fundraising experts, the best way to keep in touch with donors during the long gulf of complacency between donations is a good newsletter.

Given the similarities in the marketing window between real estate clients and donors, I dug in deeper to see what suggestions the donor newsletter experts would have and how those might benefit real estate agents.

One fundraising newsletter expert, Tim Ahern, author of The Mercifully Brief Real World Guide to Raising More Money With Newsletters Than You Ever Thought Possible, offers this advice for developing fundraising newsletters. Wherever you see the word fundraiser in the following list, replace it with real estate. According to Ahern:

  • Your newsletter must pass the “you test.” A fundraising newsletter needs to have a friendly and somewhat personal feel to it. A corporate tone results in a drop off of readership.
  • Your fundraising newsletter must use emotional triggers that warm the heart.
  • Fundraising newsletters that carry a letter from the editor on the front page tend to feel institutional.
  • Your fundraising newsletter must be about them and the things that make them feel good, not about you and why you need money.
  • A fundraising newsletter isn’t a forum for expounding on issues. Don’t expect readers to slog through long articles. Keep to shorter and interesting tidbits that allow for skimming and scanning.

In another interesting parallel between real estate and fundraising, there seems to be a familiar debate about the virtues of print vs. email newsletters.

Here are a few comments from a Twitter fundchat (#funchat) in June 2013.



Most real estate agents have a technologically heterogeneous client base. Some are on social media minute-by-minute. Others barely glance at their email once a week. A print newsletter is the only sure way to reach all of them. In some cases, as with Tom Freeman in Carlsbad who’s list of clients was generated entirely online, you can get away with an email newsletter. But, just as with fundraising newsletters, in most cases print real estate newsletters get better results in terms of real interaction and referrals.

Do you have any thoughts about the difference between email and print newsletters in real estate? Or about the similarities/differences between real estate clients and donors? Please share them here.

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Linda Schneider
Linda Schneider

Linda Schneider, a real estate marketer, author, and former agent for 30 years. She thrives on helping agents make money using creative and affordable prospecting tools and real estate newsletters. Get her latest book, Door to Door Real Estate Prospecting on