Have you been tempted to abandon your email strategy? Or avoid starting one in the first place? Convio released results from a study earlier this year that suggested that might be a bad idea.
They partnered with the ASPCA to test some different strategies. Those donors who received emails in addition to other communications gave more than those who did not receive emails. Here’s what they found:
– Gave 112% more on and offline
– Gave 85% more gifts
– Saw a 54% increase in recency
– 15-20% higher average gift
But how do I get people to give me their email addresses? And what do I do with them once I get them?
Your first task is to identify what it is your donors / soon-to-be donors want. Talk to them – ask them. Then provide the information they are looking for and make it available in a regular email (and no, quarterly is not often enough).
While you’re at it, take a look at your website too. Are you sharing stories? Is it about changing lives or simply an online brochure that lists what you do (Hint: people are generally more interested by stories and transformed lives).
Where do you get the email addresses? One starting point is to have a line on your reply device that allows people to enter their email address so that they can receive communications from you (but make it a compelling reason for them to give you that information). Another source is when you’re speaking. Have a sign-up sheet to make it easy for people. And, don’t forget to add a sign-up box to your website. Wherever you’re interacting with people, make it compelling and make it easy.
The next step is to communicate regularly. If you wait too long between communications, people tend to forget that they signed up for the list. And guess what they do when that happens. Yep. You get marked as spam. Communicate regularly and with good information that they will find useful.
As you embark on this activity, make sure that you’re complying with all of the regulations and guidelines surrounding online communications. There are several resources online, but The Association of Fundraising Professionals, under the ethics section on their site, has a Code of Ethics for online giving.
I’m excited for you as you journey down this road. What other thoughts do you have to add?