How Important is Email to Nonprofit Fundraising? Very!
18 ways to grow your email list for fundraising, cultivation, part 1 and part 2. Karen provides us with this lesson:
First and foremost: Email ought to be as integral to your fundraising and cultivation efforts as direct mail and your nonprofit website. Earlier this week I posted asking about the health of email in the nonprofit world. The post and the comments agree with the premise that email is far from dead. In fact, it’s still the number one most cost-effective form of online media. To be effective, however, it must be done right. If you do the right thing, but don’t do it the right way, then… why bother?
Here are my favorite email list-building tips from the aforementioned blog, with a few of my own comments:
· Give folks a good reason to sign up. It doesn’t have to be long. But folks need to know what they’re signing up for. Why will it benefit them?
· Make it easy to sign up. Add a sign up page (above the fold) to every website page (and to Facebook, and to the end of YouTube videos, and, and, and…), and don’t ask for too much information. Get their name and email. You can ask for additional information later on. And don’t forget landing pages!
· Ask for an email address in direct mail. Don’t miss an opportunity to include this with your remit device. And let people know they’ll be saving trees!
· Whenever someone calls you (including calling the reception desk) ask if you can have their email address (and, of course, tell them why you want it and how it will benefit them – and the planet).
· Make it easy for folks to share your emails on social networks and via email so they can forward your great communications to their friends with a single click. And add a line encouraging email subscribers to share. You can even give them incentives to share, like a sneak preview, a discount to an event, or a coupon from a business sponsor. This is a great way to find new connections.
· Make your email mobile friendly. This was the topic of yesterdays blog post, Lost in Translation: When Email Hits Mobile, Then What? .
· Integrate email with other communication channels. You’re hoping to drive traffic from one portal to another.
· Analyze your email so you know what works best.What subject headlines work? What time of day works best? Who should the email come from? You can even call folks at random to ask them what their preferences are. Just don’t assume anything. And don’t rely on data from other organizations. You are uniquely you.
· Deliver relevant, quality content and personalize it as much as possible. If you don’t do this, your subscribers will quickly become unsubscribers.
These are just some basic tips, and no doubt readers have other creative ideas to share. The basics are important though. Before we get too inventive, let’s make sure we have a strong, fundamental program in place and some policies and procedures that we regularly follow to assure we stay on track.
hen it comes to nonprofit newsletters? What is it that you want your readers to do/feel as a result of receiving your newsletter? Have you experimented at all with applying these tips to online newsletters? Do you think the same tips would apply? Please share!