Sunday, 20 January 2013

How to use email effectively in fundraising

Email is one of the most cost-effective ways to stay in touch with supporters and to keep them involved with your cause. Yes, many charities tend to exploit this communication tool effectively to increase donor engagement and to fundraise online. 
Have a look below and see how you can improve the effectiveness of your charity's emails: 
Start segmenting your email list. If you are running a robust direct mail programme you are probably segmenting your database and sending different asks to different donor groups. So, why send everyone in your email list the same fundraising ask? Now is the time to customise your email campaigns based on how you acquired the email addresses and the relationship you have with them. 
A good place to start is to divide your list into some broad segments and determine some source codes for future email segmentation.
 Integrate your direct mail appeals with your email appeals. Follow up your direct mail letters with email appeals a few weeks after sending out the paper appeal. Share the appeal stories and fundraising asks in these special emails and encourage the supporter to give online. Send a second round of emails to past donors who have not responded to the appeal or the previous email.  
Test the marketing mix of your emails frequently. You can take advantage of the simplicity of A/B tests and the low cost of email testing to test the creative mix, the key messages, the fundraising offers etc with different email audiences. You can see very quickly how donors respond and then re-launch the emails that have performed better than others. 
Create easy and simple to navigate landing pages. You can send out some great emails and link them to your website but if donors have to click three or four times to get to the donation page then you would have lost most of them.  So link your emails to landing pages that tell your charity impact story, ask for a donation and allow the donor to complete the giving transaction without clicking through to another page. 
Add links to podcasts or videos  in your emails. Many donors want to experience your charity's work in one way or another and videos or podcasts can help them to see your work for themselves and to meet the people whose lives them are impacting with their gifts. 
Make it easy for readers to share your messages on social media sites.  Place social media buttons prominently within your e-mails and encourage your readers to share the stories or photos.
Become more intentional in gathering email addresses. Incorporate a request for email address in various printed communications, if you are offering resources etc make special offers available online, think of something of value that you can offer to supporters in return for their email address. 
Make your emails mobile friendly. These days probably half of your donors are checking and reading their emails on their mobile phones. So keep your content short and the design of your emails simple. 
Use email to turn contacts and one-ff donors into regular givers. Design a set of three emails that focus on converting non-donors or one-off donors into regular givers. Share a strong impact story and emphasise why and how regular gifts can change lives. Use these emails at regular intervals with different segments of your email list. 
Please feel free to suggest other ways of using email effectively for fundraising and marketing your charity's cause. 

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