I just read the email fundraising strategy post and had a question. [editor’s note: read the post here]
I saw the break-down recommendation for what each email blast should be about and wondered if you suggest keeping them separate or combining them? For instance, if we do a post educating people and sharing a story about a family in our program, we then often have an ask or a “How can I Help?” section at the bottom. Do you suggest keeping emails to one topic but having them be more frequent?
Brilliant question and fabulous opportunity to clarify my earlier recommendation. Yes – I suggest keeping emails to one topic. In addition, I strongly recommend including a relevant “Call to Action” or CTA in every single email communication. You’ve taken the time to write something brilliant, right? Be sure to make it count by providing an opportunity for recipients to engage, respond, and, of course, contribute.
With each email, I encourage you to try various placements and degrees of urgency for the Call to Action. If you are looking for a smart and simple way to test and learn what works best for the audiences you are working to engage, check out Network for Good’s fundraising software (specifically the easy-to-read open/click rates listed in the communications section).
Here is an example for past event attendees:
Ask/Call to Action: Register for the Event
Thank/Call to Action: I look forward to seeing you at the event! Follow “#EventName” on Instagram for VIP updates before the big day!
Report/Call to Action: Interested in volunteer opportunities? Click here to learn more about how you can help.
I think the best strategy is to test and learn what works best for your audience(S). I capitalized “S” because I’ve discovered multiple variables that contribute to open, conversion and response rates. More than an email recipient’s age, time/date you send the email, or preferred communications platform, the duration of involvement and depth of the recipients’ engagement (Board Member, $25 donor, brand new volunteer, etc.) can influence open rates. As time allows, experiment with different segments to determine what works best for your organization.
If you’re still in doubt about the ideal frequency or format, my favorite recommendation is simply to ASK. Use your fundraising software to create a simple five-question survey, including screenshots of sample emails. Invite your donors to provide feedback on the type of communications they would like to receive from your organization.
Here is an example for monthly donors with survey:
Ask/Call to Action: Become a Monthly Donor
Thank/Call to Action: Take a minute to complete our NEW Monthly Donor survey
Report/Call to Action: Sign up for our next CEO/Board Chair webinar to hear the latest on programs supported by your gifts.
Ask a Fundraising Coach is Network for Good’s weekly advice column, where Personal Fundraising Coach Andrea Holthouser tackles your toughest challenges in the world of fundraising, nonprofit management, donor relations, and more.