This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
A WHITE PAPER BY EUGENE SEFANOV
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS LIST OF CASE STUDIES PREFACE Chapter 1. WHAT IS E-MAIL FUNDRAISING FOR NONPROFITS? Economical Instantaneous Relevant and Intimate Allows for Segmenting and Testing Provides Quick Results Results Are Easy to Analyze 2. DEVELOPING AN E-MAIL ADDRESS DATABASE Obtaining E-mail Addresses Offline Treat Every Opportunity Like Gold Promoting the Benefits of E-mail Addresses Obtaining E-mail Addresses Online Promoting the Website Online Registration Viral Marketing Works Wonders E-mail Address Appending 3. CLEANING AND MAINTAING E-MAIL ADDRESS LISTS
vi vii viii Page 1
7. DEVELOPING E-MAIL CAMPAIGN GOALS 8. IMPLEMENTING SUCCESSFUL E-MAIL CAMPAIGNS Integrating Direct Marketing Campaigns E-mailing Frequency Know When Enough is Enough The Best Time and Day to E-mail 9. SEGMENTING E-MAIL LISTS AND TARGETING THE CONSTITUENT 10. DEVELOPING EFFECTIVE E-MAIL MESSAGES Subject: The First Thing That Gets Read E-mail Graphics and Layout Above the Fold E-mail Message Length Encourage Recipients to the Website Personalize the E-mail Message Dear Sam A Personal Touch 11. TESTING E-MAIL MESSAGES BEFORE DELIVERY Testing Within the Organization Different E-mail Clients Testing Links Testing Outside the Organization Examining Initial Results Checking the Handling Process
12. TESTING AND ANALYZING RESULTS 13. THE FUTURE OF E-MAIL FUNDRAISING 14. CONCLUSION Appendix 1. Collection of e-mail fundraising campaigns 2. Industry website addresses REFERENCE LIST
73 81 88
94 115 117
21 23 37 45 47 49 51 60 83 83 84 87
CASE STUDIES Page Case 1. U.S. Fund for UNICEF: Promise to Children Pledge Partners Case 2. American Civil Liberties Union: Spy Campaign Case 3. Humane Society of the United States: Stop Slaughter of Horses Case 4. Humane Society of the United States: Petition for Poultry Case 5. Texas Watch’s Anniversary Card Campaign Case 6. U.S. Fund for UNICEF Case 7. United Methodist Committee On Relief (UMCOR) Case 8. Catholic Relief Services (CRS) Case 9. Doctors Without Borders Online Donation Form Case 10. ASPCA 2003 Holiday Campaign Case 11. Heifer International Case 12. Big Brothers Big Sisters of America: An Ongoing Partnership 7
22 44 45 48 50 59 82 85
Direct marketers who work with nonprofits need to know and understand the importance, features and benefits of e-mail fundraising. E-mail is fast, economical and can be
implemented in record time. Individuals all over the globe, particularly this new the United States, and have started it to embrace generate
additional funds and at lower costs.
professional and non-professional, who need the essential tools and knowledge to develop e-mail fundraising campaigns for nonprofit organizations in order to raise funds and awareness. Although it should act as a reference guide for basic e-mail it fundraising should not strategies be the and only techniques resource for used.
Utilizing other material will only assist the reader in making better choices in the future when it comes time to raise funds through e-mail fundraising.
In this paper, e-mail fundraising will be discussed as a supplemental channel to generate funds, and not one that
replaces other fundraising methods. Some of the material indeed comes from my opinions; however, I will support my comments and statements with real-life examples and case studies that certainly confirm my beliefs and ultimately lead the reader to agree with my stated path. Magazines, trade publications, newspapers, books and whitepapers will all be used as support documentation.
CHAPTER 1 WHAT IS E-MAIL FUNDRAISING FOR NONPROFITS?
inception of the Internet, e-mail fundraising has developed into a powerful method of generating much-needed funds. It has proven to be fast, affordable and immediate.1 With
printing and mailing costs continuously on the rise, it is important that there are ways for nonprofits to still
generate the money they need, even at a moment's notice. From delivering medical supplies in natural disasters to simply feeding hungry individuals, nonprofits can quickly and inexpensively create effective e-mail fundraising
campaigns in order to make the world a better place.
Michael Stein, "Put Email to Work (Without Becoming a Spam Artist)," January 1, 2004. www.getactive.com/pdf/whitepapers/put_email_to_work.pdf. (accessed July 8, 2006).
appeals role in
Kiernan, director of communications for Save the Children. "Use of the Internet helps keep costs down while giving donors the latest information about our response efforts on our Web site."2 Specifically, e-mail fundraising is one of the most cost effective methods that can be used for
nonprofit fundraising. “It can cost as little as fractions of a penny per e-mail.”3 It is far more inexpensive when compared to direct mail or telemarketing fundraising.
However, it is not recommended as a total replacement for direct mail, telemarketing or any other fundraising method. Instead, use them together. E-mail fundraising can
complement other fundraising channels very well, since each has their strengths and weaknesses.
Dianna Dilworth, "Deliverability Aids Middle East Children," DM News, 7 August 2006, 2. 3 Gail Goodman, "E-mail Energizes Nonprofit Efforts," DM News, 21 August 2006, 12.
Unlike direct mail campaigns, which can take several months to develop and deliver, e-mail fundraising is as
instantaneous as one would like it to be. In just a few steps, an e-mail fundraising appeal can be in a prospect's inbox ready to be viewed. Not only that, but we also live in a world that is susceptible to unforeseen events, such as natural disasters and it is e-mail fundraising that
truly comes to the rescue. For example, if an earthquake strikes or a tsunami very hits, it is possible with so e-mail that
emergency assistance can be provided in those damaged areas as soon as possible.
RELEVANT AND INTIMATE
tend to respond more to appeals when they find it relevant to them in some fashion. Targeting e-mail fundraising
messages is very important and there are numerous ways to target donor individuals database. especially if one has an established on donor
4 history fields for targeting is a must in e-mail
E-mail fundraising also allows one to personalize messages based on the personal information provided, such as a name. It is important to make recipients feel as if they are truly important, and are not just a number. With today's technology, it is crucial to personalize at every
opportunity. More about personalization will be discussed in future chapters.
ALLOWS FOR SEGMENTING AND TESTING
Sending and testing different e-mail messages to multiple segments of a mailing Creating list and can be done quickly and
messages that correspond and relate to the various target audiences allows for the preliminary results to be analyzed and the message to be modified as needed before sending to an entire mailing list. Segmenting and testing will also be discussed in later chapters.
5 PROVIDES QUICK RESULTS
An enormous benefit of the Internet is its immediacy. The Internet is an extremely rapid form of communication. As soon as someone responds can to be an appeal and via the
Unlike direct mail, there is no longer a need to wait for several weeks or months before finding out the results of a campaign. And because of the Internet's immediacy, changes can be made to a campaign as needed before losing too much ground. With a fundraising channel like direct mail, it is simply not possible to adjust a mailing without losing much time and money.
RESULTS ARE EASY TO ANALYZE
success of a campaign. As an example, tracking open and click-through understand rates provides an effective method to
content attracts certain
individuals. If specific links are being clicked on more than others, it might make sense to generate more content of that nature to increase those rates. Success is
about giving the reader what they want to see. If there is
6 no interest among an e-mail campaign’s recipients, little success will be achieved with the campaign.
organizations can be a great tool for fundraising. However, it should not act as a replacement for other fundraising channels, but rather an additional form of raising money. E-mail fundraising is a fairly new media when compared to direct mail or telemarketing, so it is important to
understand and learn its new techniques. Always learn from other nonprofit organizations, but remember that what works for one organization might not work for another and vice versa. This paper will enumerate the reasons why e-mail fundraising for nonprofits is so beneficial and what it takes to develop e-mail campaigns.
fundraising for nonprofit organizations and has displayed a tremendous amount of success with their clients. Below are several campaigns they have implemented for them.
U.S. Fund for UNICEF: Promise to Children Pledge Partners
giving program for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF.
As part of the effort to increase the number of online sign-ups prepared become message, for this sustainer donors In and program, other e-mails supporters to the were to
inviting monthly more
givers. than 270
average monthly gift of $27. Because sustainers often continue on the monthly giving program for years - and often increase their monthly gifts - their lifetime value can be enormous.
American Civil Liberties Union: Spy Campaign
Calling for an end to the Bush Administration's “abuse of power”, the ACLU has run a series of newspaper ads and filed a first-of-its-kind Agency, lawsuit to against a the
searches that has been in place since shortly after
8 September 11, 2001. To raise money to fund the ACLU's legal work, legislative advocacy and ongoing public
campaign, they prepared a set of fundraising e-mails that garnered nearly 3,000 gifts and thousands of
additional gifts through its website.
Figure 1. American Civil Liberties Union: Spy Campaign
Humane Society of the United States: Stop Slaughter of Horses
In 2005, HSUS created a multi-channel campaign to save wild horses in the Western United States, including a campaign to contact legislators considering a ban on horse slaughter, a fundraising drive to support the Humane Society Legislative Fund, and organized house parties in key Congressional districts. As legislation to ban horse slaughter worked its way through
Congress, HSUS members sent 215,000 individual e-mail messages to lawmakers and raised more than $150,000 for lobbying efforts. Although the house party drive took place in the middle of the Hurricane Katrina
crisis (during which HSUS raised over $18 million to rescue pets and other animals), more than 100 house meetings $40,000. were organized and together they raised
Figure 2. Humane Society of the United States: Stop Slaughter of Horses
Humane Society of the United States: Petition for Poultry
Donordigital helped develop the Petition for Poultry concept, web and landing page designs, and a series of e-mail advocacy and fundraising appeals. Segments of HSUS's urged list to were asked to sign to the petition, The then
71,360 signatures from people already on the list, and another 41,170 new names from tell-a-friend. This is a multi-year campaign that continues to successfully
raise awareness and build HSUS’s e-mail list.
Figure 3. Humane Society of the United States: Petition for Poultry
CHAPTER 2 DEVELOPING AN E-MAIL ADDRESS DATABASE
Without someone’s home or work address, it is impossible to send them direct mail. The same goes for e-mail. Without an e-mail address, it is impossible to send an e-mail message. That being said, obtaining valid e-mail address can be a daunting task in itself that can ultimately make or break your e-mail of of campaign. names e-mail and Most nonprofit but a organizations lack a solid large file
have myriads percentage
of prospect and donor e-mail addresses is indeed difficult, but there are techniques to help establish one.
Before describing the techniques, here is a perspective of how many e-mail addresses one will need for a very
successful program. In order to receive 10 donations, a minimum of 1,000 individuals need to receive an e-mail
message. Of those 1,000 individuals, 250 of them must open the e-mail message and 50 of them actually need to click on the link that takes them to the donation page.4
Madeline Stanionis, The Mercifully Brief Real World Guide to Raising Thousands if Not Tens of Thousands) of Dollars with Email (Medfield, Massachusetts: Emerson & Church, 2006).
14 Nonetheless, lower response rates are very acceptable since sending e-mail messages is very inexpensive, whereas
traditional direct mail is not nearly as affordable.
OBTAINING E-MAIL ADDRESSES OFFLINE
The simplest way to gather e-mail addresses is by adding material to other existing fundraising efforts. It should not cost any extra money and could be the best source of fresh e-mail addresses. It is crucial to ask for e-mail addresses at all points of communication with prospects and donors in order to maximize the file.5
TREAT EVERY OPPORTUNITY LIKE GOLD
can prove to be the most effective method of generating email addresses. Every time an acquisition or renewal
mailing is sent, it is vital to ask for the recipient's email address.6 Nonetheless, it should be voluntary so that individuals are not turned off.
Groundspring.org, "Online Fundraising Handbook," http://www.groundspring.org/learningcenter/handbook.cfm.(accessed August 2, 2006). 6 Ibid
15 When an organization is telemarketing, it is always a good idea to ask for e-mail addresses from donors and prospects.7 You already have them on the phone, so why not ask? The more communication access points one has, the better the chance of receiving an action.
If the organization holds events such as walks, those could also be the perfect opportunity to gather e-mail
addresses. For example, a laptop could be set up to allow attendees event.8 to enter their e-mail addresses while at the
PROMOTING THE BENEFITS OF E-MAIL ADDRESSES
No matter how and where one is trying to gather e-mail addresses, it is important to let individuals know why they should provide their e-mail addresses. Let them know how they will be used, and that they will save the organization money when sending communication pieces. Recipients will
benefit by receiving relevant and important news flashes and updates pertaining to the organization. They will also
16 appreciate that the organization is trying to save money. Reinforce the fact that all parties benefit.
OBTAINING E-MAIL ADDRESSES ONLINE
Another smart way to gather e-mail addresses is through the organization's own website. Individuals have already come to the website to seek additional information about the organization, so this provides an ideal opportunity to ask for their e-mail addresses. Also, these Internet surfers prove to be better responders. They generally seem to be more comfortable with the Internet; therefore, they can
possibly be more receptive to receiving and responding to e-mail messages.
PROMOTING THE WEBSITE
that an it
best uses to
organization makes sense
address on all communications. After all, an organization can only benefit as well from as receiving the more awareness of from a
additional funds and new e-mail addresses. Also, if there
17 is space on the communication piece, it could be beneficial to let the public know what resources are available to them on the website. Last but not least, it is important to make sure the website is continuously updated – there is a huge opportunity loss if visitors to an organization’s homepage see the same displays each time they visit. Keep it fresh, keep it live; this proves the organization is dynamic and “on the move.”
Encouraging individuals to sign-up or register online when entering an organization's website is very important.9 It is an easy way to capture the most recent and correct
information and best of all, it has no direct cost. If a prospect considered registration registers a strong form, it online, lead. is they When can automatically an be
online on the
information you are seeking. The more information you can receive the better and the more targeted your message can be. However, a registration form that takes a long time to fill out can work against the organization. Individuals are busy and might not have the time necessary to complete all
18 the fields. If a question can be answered in more than one way, it would be ideal to provide an example of how you would like the information to look. For example, if you are looking for the date to be filled in a certain format, explain how you would like it to look. It will eliminate any confusion and it will help standardize the information you receive. Drop-down boxes are often helpful for guiding the applicant in the form-filling process, and ensure
In addition, they sometimes speed the
information gathering process.
Always explain to the reader why they should register. Let them know how their information will be utilized and how the organization will benefit from it. Are there member benefits, premiums or freebies?
registration form. A quick registration form is a simple form that requests only the most essential information, for example, an e-mail address. It takes very little time to fill out, but still provides the organization with an
opportunity to reach out to them. A quick registration form can be displayed in a pop-up or somewhere static on the homepage.
The positioning of online registration forms is critical, and is one of the most will important carry. features links that to an the
registration page whenever possible. All in all, the more names and e-mail addresses the organization can capture, the more they can take advantage of the benefits of e-mail marketing.
VIRAL MARKETING WORKS WONDERS
It is no surprise that viral marketing, also known as wordof-mouth marketing, can have an enormous impact on an
organization. What we hear from our friends or associates carries an immense amount of weight. We take what they say into consideration because we tend to trust the people we know. Viral marketing can play a very positive role in any organization. about the The more individuals the who talk positively
messages should encourage individuals to pass them along to the people they know. For example, a "Tell-a-Friend"
link within the e-mail message is an excellent way to get other individuals acquainted with the organization and it
20 is possible to get them to join your e-mail mailing list.10 E-mail messages that come from friends or people we know are almost guaranteed to be opened.
Sheeraz Haji, and Emma Zolbrod, "Creating an Effective E-newsletter," http://www.ephilanthropy.org/site/DocServer/QuickTips_2.pdf (accessed August 4, 2006).
21 Below is an example of a successful approach to using viral marketing with e-mail. It was implemented by the American
Jewish World Service. On the following two pages is a viral marketing e-mail campaign that was created by Texas Watch, a non-partisan advocacy organization working to improve
consumer and insurance protections for Texas families.
Figure 4. American Jewish World Service: Tell-a-Friend
22 Texas Watch’s Anniversary Card Campaign
included a viral campaign to grow the organization’s file of email addresses. Built around the first
anniversary of Texas homeowners’ insurance reform, the campaign began with an email to Texas Watch’s existing email file of just over 4,400. The email encouraged recipients to click on a link and sign a “card” to Texas Governor Rick Perry, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst and House Speaker Tom Craddick that called for more stringent insurance reform. The email also encouraged recipients to forward the message to others — the
“viral” component of the campaign.
Figure 5. Texas Watch’s Anniversary Card Campaign
The Texas Watch e-Mail Campaign Results 2,935 (67%) of recipients opened the initial email 767 (17%) clicked through to sign the anniversary card 745 (17%) signed the card 2.03 viral index (for every one constituent, 2.03 additional individuals opened a forwarded message)
24 E-MAIL ADDRESS APPENDING
It is not uncommon for organizations to have large donor and prospect databases containing home mailing addresses
but very few e-mail addresses. However, there are services available that offer e-mail appending, which ultimately
attaches a known e-mail address to a person’s name and home mailing address. Of course, many e-mail addresses might not be known or even be legitimate, but an acceptable portion can usually be developed. It is crucial to note that
having an e-mail address does not mean that person wants to receive e-mail from you. The laws of permission marketing should always apply, and these will be treated in Chapter 5.
CHAPTER 3 CLEANING AND MAINTAINING E-MAIL LISTS
Once an organization has accumulated a sufficient quantity of e-mail addresses, e-mail Many they it is vital is of to focus little on their it
quality. An is invalid. addresses and
individuals can change
Maintaining and cleaning an e-mail list database will help significantly improve response rates.
UTILIZING AN E-MAIL DELIVERY SYSTEM TO TRACK BOUNCES
delivery system can be used to track the delivery of e-mail messages and addresses. A system that flags hard and soft bounces will let the sending organization know which e-mail addresses should be taken off the list and which ones
the e-mail message should be re-sent to.
26 UPDATING DONOR INFORMATION ONLINE
personal interests might change regarding what type of email messages they want to receive and at what
frequency. Allowing donors and prospects the opportunity to update their personal information in a simple online format can save an organization time and money. At the bottom of every e-mail, it is a good idea to include a simple
reminder to go visit the website in order to keep their personal information recent. The same message can be added to other communication pieces across all direct
UPDATING DONOR INFORMATION OFFLINE
should be a method in place in order to make the essential changes possible. to one’s If profile someone’s in the database as soon as the
e-mail message bounces,
organization should contact them via phone or mail in order to quickly obtain their correct e-mail address.
CHAPTER 4 GATHERING DEMOGRAPHIC AND PSYCHOGRAPHIC INFORMATION
helpful in determining who receives what e-mail messages. It can also serve as a guide to what types of individuals respond better one to has certain on a e-mail donor or messages. prospect, The the more more
personalized their message can be. Besides data such as name and e-mail address, information about their likes and dislikes, educational background and attitudes will allow an organization to target e-mail messages to specific
groups of people who really care about certain topics. With personalization significantly and relevance, response will rates see will that be the
organization is listening to them.
GATHERING VIA ONLINE SURVEYS
The easiest way to gather personal information is through online surveys.11 Ask questions and they will answer. Once all this information is received, it can be processed in the database and then used for list segmentation and/or back-end analysis.
GATHERING VIA CLICK-THROUGH DATA
information is content of
messages. This will provide the organization with valuable information, such as what content was looked at more than others.
COMBINING ONLINE AND OFFLINE DATA
If an organization has more than one database, it is a good idea to combine their information. For example, one
database might contain certain information about a donor's
Madeline Stanionis, The Mercifully Brief Real World Guide to Raising Thousands if Not Tens of Thousands) of Dollars with Email (Medfield, Massachusetts: Emerson & Church, 2006), 22.
29 interests might that was sent online, about through while a a another database
information was sent
donor's direct for
demographic mail piece.
(and other communication channels) to be more targeted and personalized. It will also allow the organization
to shorten the time it takes to develop e-mail campaigns, which in turn saves the organization a tremendous amount of money. Once the data is centralized, fewer individuals will need to be involved in the entire creation of the e-mail campaign.
CHAPTER 5 THE IMPORTANCE OF PERMISSION-BASED E-MAIL MARKETING
The rapid the
growth of of
inevitably impacted to donors and
prospects. Individuals and organizations that abuse e-mail marketing damage the credibility of even the most reputable organizations. This has caused e-mail service providers to fight back and protect their e-mail systems and users.12
must now adopt these new strategies and techniques in order to effectively implement e-mail fundraising campaigns.13 to from
allows organizations themselves
abusers. It will also help boost response rates.
Bill Pease, "E-Mail Deliverability in the Age of Spam: Navigating New Paths to the Inbox," December 2004, GetActive Software, www.getactive.com/pdf/white-papers/Email_Deliverability_020105.pdf (accessed July 12, 2006). 13 Ibid
31 GETTING PERMISSION
website do so to sign up to receive specific information on an event, news story or to receive a specific offer.
However, signing up for one of these features does not mean they automatically signed themselves up to receive all email messages from the organization.
It is important to spell out all the details on the e-mail registration form, so that the responder knows how their email address will be used.14 The following are various
methods of asking for permission to e-mail someone:
THE OPT-IN TECHNIQUE
Opt-in is a method of asking the donor or prospect if they would like to It receive is the e-mail most basic messages form of from the
marketing and should be utilized at the very least. An optin can be a simple box located on the registration form that
Michael Stein, "Put Email to Work (Without Becoming a Spam Artist)," January 1, 2004. www.getactive.com/pdf/whitepapers/put_email_to_work.pdf. (accessed July 8, 2006).
32 mail communications. If the approved organization wants to share an e-mail address with another organization, a
different box should be placed on the form that asks for this additional permission.
THE OPT-OUT TECHNIQUE
The opt-out technique is almost exactly the same as the opt-in, except that the opt-out box is generally checked beforehand to receive e-mail message from the organization. One is required to uncheck the box for them not to receive any messages. Unchecking the box simply means opting out. Some organizations use the opt-out technique because there is a higher chance of someone accidentally missing the box, providing the organization with the opportunity to send
them e-mail messages.
validating permission makes sure that the opt-in box was purposely checked.
33 THE CONFIRMED OPT-IN TECHNIQUE
Once the recipient opted-in to receive e-mail messages from an organization, another e-mail message to confirm their registration simply is sent a to them. that The e-mail the message would to
unsubscribe if they did not mean to subscribe in the first place. If everything goes as planned and they still want to receive e-mail messages from the organization, they do not need to take to any action. again Providing is just to them make with sure the they
intentionally signed up. It is a kind gesture on behalf of the organization and gives them additional assurance of the organization’s anti-spam policies.
THE DOUBLE OPT-IN TECHNIQUE
The best and most effective way to ensure delivery of email messages and achieve higher response rates is by
using the double opt-in technique. This method will make sure that those who signed up still in fact want to a
receive an user has
organization's up, an
communications. Once is sent to
confirming their registration; however, the recipient must
34 click on the link within the e-mail in order to give
permission to the organization to send e-mail messages to them. Using this particular method could steer users away since it gives them more time to think about whether or not they want to receive e-mail messages. Nonetheless, those who sign up and click on that link will have a very high interest in the organization and will probably be more
likely to donate in the future.
People change their minds often, so it is important to give them an ongoing opportunity to unsubscribe from an
organization's e-mail list.15 Any e-mail messages sent after the individual unsubscribed can be viewed very negatively and can ultimately hurt the organization’s credibility.
A link to unsubscribe should be included in every e-mail message. In truth, to this technique but might in the motivate some
long run the
organization will have gained trustworthiness that is vital
Groundspring.org, "Online Fundraising Handbook," http://www.groundspring.org/learningcenter/handbook.cfm. (accessed August 2, 2006).
35 to their success. Plus, the response rates of those who remain should be higher.
confidential unless otherwise noted.16
No one likes to read documents they do not understand, so it is necessary to explain what the organization wants
their readers to know in layman's terms. In simple terms, describe how their information will and will not be used. If the organization has partners with whom they share their lists, that should also be divulged. Clarity and simplicity
Michael Stein, "Put Email to Work (Without Becoming a Spam Artist)," January 1, 2004. www.getactive.com/pdf/whitepapers/put_email_to_work.pdf. (accessed July 8, 2006).
36 is very important when it comes to creating a privacy
ultimately stay untouched because the user will likely only know what they read the first time.
applicant, as well as what they do with that information.
CHAPTER 6 BYPASSING THE SPAM BOX
Determining what is considered spam and what is not, is a difficult task. It is impossible to guarantee 100 percent e-mail message delivery; however, it is an organization's responsibility and in their best interest to try and
achieve the highest delivery rates as possible.
KEEPING THE MESSAGE RELEVANT
Individuals consider irrelevant e-mail messages that they receive to be spam. It is extremely important to manage the e-mail messages an organization sends out and make sure that each one sent out is one that is considered relevant and to the point.
BEING AWARE OF FILTERS
When most people think of spam, they often relate it to pornography or other offensive subjects. Filters generally look at the e-mail message's content to determine what is
39 considered spam. Certain words and phrases usually trigger the filter, and today's technology tends to prevent the
trigger from going off just because one or two "spam" words are found. Nonetheless, it is still necessary to avoid
using specific words that could possibly set the spam alarm off.
Spammers employ several techniques and strategies to try and bypass these spam filters. As examples, the words in the subject line will be misspelled, or in upper and lower case letters or even contain random punctuation insertions. However, today's technology has learned to recognize these gimmicks, so it is important to get up to par with them and avoid employing these attributes in the organization’s email messages.
AVOIDING THE “SPAM” LABEL
To avoid being considered spam, the subject line could use the organization's person from name for credibility there are and any possibly a
regarding what might be considered spam, software is now available to help determine how similar an organization’s email is to spam.
Assuming the organization’s e-mail does get through spam filters, it is still necessary to prevent recipients from tagging the e-mail as spam after the fact; otherwise, they will get blocked in the future. To minimize this event, make sure that the individuals who signed up to receive the organization's e-mail messages are completely aware of how their information will be used. In addition, always provide them with the opportunity to unsubscribe or opt-out by
clicking a link or unchecking a box.
If someone chooses to unsubscribe, there is no choice but to accept his or her request. Sending e-mail messages to individuals who do not want to receive carries significant risk from both an organizational and legal perspective.
Moreover, Internet service providers view organizations and individuals that have high bounce rates (caused by bad and rejected addresses) as spammers.17
Bill Pease, "E-Mail Deliverability in the Age of Spam: Navigating New Paths to the Inbox," December 2004, GetActive Software, www.getactive.com/pdf/white-papers/Email_Deliverability_020105.pdf (accessed July 12, 2006).
41 Therefore it is important to put serious efforts into
removing old, bad and opt-out e-mail addresses.
GETTING EXEMPT FROM FILTERS
Nonprofit organizations typically send e-mail messages to an individual’s personal or home e-mail address rather than to their business or work e-mail address. Sending e-mail messages perfectly taken to one's personal as long or as work e-mail address is are as
Hotmail or Gmail have very strict filters and they are all used in good faith inbox. e-mail to In prevent order messages to spam to from avoid as reaching getting spam, their the an the
provider has a "white list of email marketing companies that agree to abide by its policies, and it will allow them to send graphic-laden emails.”18
Jim Hu, "AOL Shift E-mail Graphics Policy,” November 14, 2004. http://news.com.com/2100-1024-5107785.html?tag=cd_top. (accessed June 8, 2006).
CHAPTER 7 DEVELOPING E-MAIL CAMPAIGN GOALS
In order to successfully implement an e-mail fundraising campaign, its objectives need to be set before any work begins. What is the objective of the e-mail message? Is it trying to raise money or simply trying to inform donors and prospects of some important news?
informs and solicits funds is an e-newsletter.
publication, which could be done on a monthly or quarterly basis, keeps donors aware of the current issues that
surround the organization in order to build a more solid relationship with them. It also serves as an opportune
vehicle for letting supporters know how much they mean to the organization, and even asking for an additional gift.
campaigns can these
familiar with the organization, a series of e-mail messages can be sent that discuss more specific and pressing
important issues; for example, a developing country that
43 has recently asked for financial support from the
Although not common, natural disaster e-mail messages tend to be very successful in generating lots of money. When a disaster strikes, such as the recent Asian tsunami, an email message can be sent out to ask for urgent support. These types of e-mail messages scream urgency and need, and people definitely react positively to them. According to Madeline Stanionis from Donordigital, “Upwards of $350
million in relief funds poured in online within weeks of the Asian tsunami. And hundreds of thousands of people
donated online for the first time.”19
software the the
time of the tsunami in Southwest Asia in December 2004. Much of the money to raised after the tsunami sent struck to was the
Madeline Stanionis, The Mercifully Brief Real World Guide to Raising Thousands if Not Tens of Thousands) of Dollars with Email (Medfield, Massachusetts: Emerson & Church, 2006), 31.
U.S. Fund for UNICEF
involved in relief efforts, including the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, to help them quickly mobilize efforts to raise funds and communicate online.
organization of more than
including over 260,000 online donations totaling about $40 million.
The U.S. Fund for UNICEF sent over 120,000 e-Alert communications, set-up five unique online donation
forms, launched a dozen workplace giving site-lets for corporate partners, and launched a Friends Asking
Friends® grassroots marketing campaign.
Figure 7. U.S. Fund for UNICEF The U.S. Fund for UNICEF raised more than $18 million online in the first week from an estimated 117,000 online donors, greatly aided by the new website that UNICEF launched earlier in 2004.
United Methodist Committee On Relief (UMCOR)
receiving live and
contract 31 to with
relief to the area, UMCOR was also concerned about the safety and security for their online donors.
$711,000 within the first week.
million, including more than 10,000 online donations totaling over $1.8 million. The group also added over 2,500 individuals to their mailing list from the
Figure 8. United Methodist Committee On Relief (UMCOR) “Things have gone well in this, our first major experience with online giving," states Glenda Survance, director of information services at the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries. "We know it is the wave of the future, and we are ready at UMCOR."
Catholic Relief Services (CRS)
For Catholic Relief Services, Kintera created online donation forms and other webpages featuring the CRS look and feel, and redirected the web traffic to a new Kintera Sphere™ empowered site.
Since the December 26, 2004 tsunami, CRS has raised more than $75 million, receiving over $13 million
with an average online donation of $216.
Figure 9. Catholic Relief Services (CRS)
50 Doctors Without Borders
Not only did generous contributions help change the lives of millions of victims of the tsunami, an
interesting trend emerged in the nonprofit community with regard to accountability, to supporters: transparency organizations and are
telling donors when they have raised enough.
By January 4, 2005, Doctors Without Borders had posted a note saying it had collected enough funds to manage its relief efforts has there. The U.S. $20 branch of for the the
crisis, with over $16.8 million contributed via the Internet.
Figure 10. Doctors Without Borders Online Donation Form
CHAPTER 8 IMPLEMENTING SUCCESSFUL E-MAIL CAMPAIGNS
Like with any direct marketing channel, an e-mail direct marketing plan is almost always needed in order for a
nonprofit’s e-mail fundraising campaign to be successful. An e-mail fundraising campaign can entail one single e-mail message example, or it can be a series might of e-mail to messages. send it For a
specific group of individuals based on the number of past donations, donation amounts or specific interests.
There are numerous steps to take when developing a powerful e-mail fundraising campaign, which will be discussed within this chapter.
INTEGRATING DIRECT MARKETING CAMPAIGNS
A seasoned nonprofit organization likely has several direct marketing campaigns or programs going on at the same time. It is important to promote intra-company coordination
between these activities. If another campaign is planned to launch at the same time as an e-mail campaign, it might
53 make sense to work together in order Often to create an
fundraising can complement other fundraising efforts very well and can bring that much more success to the
organization.20 For example, if a direct mail campaign is being launched in a particular month, it might be a great idea to create an e-mail fundraising campaign at the same time.21 This could include a follow up e-mail message to a direct mail piece, or an e-mail thank-you follow up to all responding donors of a direct mail campaign.
necessary to make sure no one else in the organization will be using those e-mail addresses at the same time. The last thing an organization wants to do is send multiple e-mail messages to a donor or prospect at one time - a negative feeling can arise from such a mistake.
Bronto Software, "Ask and You Shall Receive: Nonprofits and Email Marketing,” http://bronto.com/solutions/resources/papers/nonprofitsand-email-marketing. 21 Ibid
54 E-MAILING FREQUENCY
organization should send out e-mail messages) is relevance. Different types of occasions call for different times of delivery. If an urgent event occurs, such as a natural
disaster, an e-mail message can be delivered any time on any day. These types of occasions are not on a planned schedule, so they have different frequency requirements.
Nonetheless, it is important for the organization to be able to decipher what is considered an urgent event. If the organization considers many events urgent and gives them the urgent-like treatment, it will be very difficult to convince donors and prospects to donate.
On the other hand, news and updates from the organization could be sent on a monthly or even bi-weekly basis.
Anything more might be viewed as unprofessional and will ultimately receive resentment.
KNOW WHEN ENOUGH IS ENOUGH
organizations and even our good friends. We often mentally note when we receive too many messages. Some individuals like to receive them more frequently than others, but most of us can agree that there is definitely a limit.22 That “limit” needs to be established by the organization. It might take several months, if not longer, to truly
understand how often a particular organization should email its donors and prospects. The best way to know
whether or not an organization is sending e-mail messages too often or not enough is by listening to their promoted audience. An organization's donors and prospects will let the organization know when enough is enough, and it would be very wise to hear them out and take action. Even if an organization does not hear from their promoted base, they would be wise to do some limited market research to ensure that their e-mail promotion levels are not offensive. It is also very important to find out if donors feel they are
Michael Stein, "Put Email to Work (Without Becoming a Spam Artist)," January 1, 2004. www.getactive.com/pdf/whitepapers/put_email_to_work.pdf. (accessed July 8, 2006).
56 being abused by direct mail or telemarketing campaigns, and whether any negative feelings halo into e-mail campaigns.
THE BEST TIME AND DAY TO E-MAIL
Over the years, there have been many debates about the time and day an e-mail message should be sent. It is generally accepted that weekends are not good days to send e-mail messages, and Mondays and Fridays are not the best either. These days tend to be the busiest for most individuals; therefore, the e-mail messages do not get the attention they deserve, and tend to be deleted or forgotten. On the flip side, during the mid-week and daytime hours tends to be the best time to send e-mail messages, and they have proven to generate better response rates.
CHAPTER 9 SEGMENTING E-MAIL LISTS AND TARGETING THE CONSTITUENT
their response rates while decreasing costs. In general, the “key to making e-mail campaigns work is relevancy
through sending targeted messages that address a segmented market.”23
targeting sending donors out
important to an
organization’s organizations to
that is more likely to be read, rather than sending content to individuals that have nothing to do with their interests or concerns.24 The more information an organization has on its donors can and be prospects, the and the more more relevant respect it will the e-mail from
Dianna Dilworth, "Show Starts With E-mail Marketing Day," DM News, 14 August 2006, 25. 24 Bronto Software. "Ask and You Shall Receive: Nonprofits and Email Marketing," http://bronto.com/solutions/resources/papers/nonprofitsand-email-marketing.
58 In order to be able to segment and target e-mail messages most effectively, donor and prospect interests and concerns need to be captured. needs to To gather this ask information, supporters such as an to
preferences for specific causes or regions in the world, which will then allow e-mail messages to be more
Besides segmenting by interests and concerns, a powerful way of segmenting the base is by RFM, which stands for Recency (when their last gift was made), Frequency (how often they give), and Monetary amount (how much they gave). The ranges of recency, frequency and monetary amount vary by organization, but it is almost universally found that the “better” RFM segments perform better in future
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), segmented and personalized email messages generate far more revenue than untargeted
non-personalized e-mail messages.
Sheeraz Haji, "Meet, Beat Challenges to List Growth," DM News, 21 August 2006, 12.
Below is a summary of an e-mail campaign that the ASPCA implemented in 2003 to find out the impact relevancy and personalization has on individuals.
Case in Point: 2003 Holiday Campaign
Based on user profile information, the ASPCA campaign segmented constituents into three groups: dog people, cat people and non-specific constituents for whom no profile information was available. Recipients were
asked to sponsor a pet and send in a donation to the organization. Appeals were sent both to past donors and to non-donor online prospects for whom the
organization had profiles.
An overall “Help us find safe homes for the holidays” message was altered slightly in the subject line to personalize it for the dog people and the cat people, and the order of appearance of dogs or cats on the
60 message was different based on which category of
recipient was receiving the message.
Figure 11. ASPCA 2003 Holiday Campaign The ASPCA campaign segmented constituents according to their interests, then modified the predominant messages accordingly.
Based on the ASPCA’s experience, it is possible to measure the impact of targeting groups with profile information appeal. To and personalizing the impact an of email this fundraising particular
campaign, the organization measured response rates for personalized appeals (dog or cat) vs. non-personalized appeals (neutral recipients), both in general and in the context of donors vs. non-donors.
61 Response rates for personalized appeals were
significantly higher than those for recipients who had not provided an advanced profile. Among donors, the response rate was 230% higher on average for the
personalized message, and among non-donors, it was 86% higher on average for the personalized message.
CHAPTER 10 DEVELOPING EFFECTIVE E-MAIL MESSAGES
most important element is the creative and actual e-mail message content. It is extremely important to have a strong message that will encourage recipients to read it and
hopefully take action.
SUBJECT: THE FIRST THING THAT GETS READ
The subject line is like the outer envelope of a direct mail piece. What you write on the outer envelope forces the recipient to make the decision whether or not to open or throw away the piece. In order to get the recipient to
open the e-mail message, there are several techniques and strategies that can be used. Never use more than 50
characters in the subject line or shouting symbols ($,!,
63 CAPS,*).26 Any subject line too long looks unprofessional and furthermore, some e-mail messaging programs have length limits. Shouting symbols can easily trigger spam filters so it is best to avoid using them when possible.27
The subject line should always tell the recipient who the message is from and what it is regarding. It is a good idea to clearly identify from whom the message is coming.28 Is there name a specific be person the e-mail in the as message is line? as it from The whose more
and sweet, the greater chance that the e-mail message will be opened.
E-MAIL GRAPHICS AND LAYOUT
The way an organization designs its e-mail message will inevitably Markup have an impact or on response is the e-mail rates. HyperText most commonly
Madeline Stanionis, The Mercifully Brief Real World Guide to Raising Thousands if Not Tens of Thousands) of Dollars with Email (Medfield, Massachusetts: Emerson & Church, 2006), 55. 27 Ibid 28 Michelle Keegan, "10 Tips on Getting and Keeping Permission," http://www.constantcontact.com/email-marketing-resources/hintstips/volume6-issue8.jsp. (accessed August 6, 2006).
64 allows an organization as well to incorporate colorful styles of images fonts or and
colors. It is more intriguing and easier to read than plain text, plus it gives the organization the opportunity to
display their brand by inserting their logo into the e-mail message.29
HTML format. Because of this, it is important to use e-mail software that that detects whether or not a person can read HTML e-mail messages. If someone cannot accept e-mails with graphics, the software that supports multi-part e-mail
distribution will send a text e-mail message instead.
ABOVE THE FOLD
Many e-mail message programs now allow users to preview their messages before even opening them. Some users only like to preview the first few sentences, while others like to see up to a quarter of the entire message. Whatever the preview size may actually be, it is important to display the most central aspect of the message, one that usually
Groundspring.org, "Online Fundraising Handbook," http://www.groundspring.org/learningcenter/handbook.cfm.(accessed August 2, 2006).
65 talks about the action that needs to be taken. This could be displayed at the top of the e-mail message to maximize efficiency.
E-MAIL MESSAGE LENGTH
In direct mail, it is widely understood that there is no rule in regards to the length of the letter. The letter needs to be as long as it takes to get the point across. The same goes for e-mail messages, except there are some aspects generally that need to their be considered. e-mail Recipients online, are so
scrolling is necessary at times. To make it easy for the recipient to read, the e-mail message should be limited to less than two screen lengths in order to reduce the amount of scrolling. Preferably, the message should be brief
and to the point.30
ENCOURAGE RECIPIENTS TO VISIT THE WEBSITE
Since it is important to keep the e-mail message brief, if the message needs to be longer, it is always possible to
Madeline Stanionis, The Mercifully Brief Real World Guide to Raising Thousands if Not Tens of Thousands) of Dollars with Email (Medfield, Massachusetts: Emerson & Church, 2006), 57.
66 write just a few lines or paragraphs and include a link to the organization's website (or a landing page) where the “full” version of the message can be read. Sending
recipients to the website or a landing page has another advantage tracking. in Has that it allows traffic the organization through to do
referrals?31 The organization will also be able to see what links have been clicked in the website and how often. These indicators will let the organization know what the
recipients' highest interests are. With that said, it not good to just get them to the organization's homepage – you should send them to a landing page where they can read the rest of the story and immediately take action, such as to donate money.
PERSONALIZE THE E-MAIL MESSAGE
E-mail messages have the ability to be personalized and relevant to donor and prospect interests and other
variables. Based on these interests, beliefs, location and other personal information, it is possible to deliver to
67 their inbox content that they see as worthy to be opened and read.32
Like direct mail, e-mail embraces the idea of personalizing messages. The most basic personalization technique is
addressing the recipient by name – it is simple and very welcomed. Addressing the recipient by name can sometimes make a world of a difference in terms of response rates. Most e-mail fundraising software available today allows the organization to input names and other variables within the content, which adds a personal touch.
A PERSONAL TOUCH
content for the recipient. When developing e-mail messages, it is critical to pay attention to any information that recipients provided, such as interests and beliefs, and
should be recognized whenever developing e-mail messages. The
68 utilizes, the higher the response rates will be. This is why it is so important to ask questions and build profiles for an organization's donors and prospects.
CHAPTER 11 TESTING E-MAIL MESSAGES BEFORE DELIVERY
Now the organization has come up with the e-mail list and the actual e-mail message, the next thing to do is test its compatibility and overall effectiveness.
TESTING WITHIN THE ORGANIZATION
Sending the e-mail message to several individuals within the organization will allow it to undergo scrutiny, all in order to save the organization from any disaster once sent off into the real world. Internal staff should check for certain things to make sure everything is the way it should be, in addition to making sure that it makes overall sense and properly communicates.
DIFFERENT E-MAIL CLIENTS
messages in a different manner, it is important to set the organization's testers up with e-mail accounts on various e-mail platforms in order to make sure the message is
70 displayed properly on each one. If the e-mail message looks funny or not as appealing on a particular e-mail service provider, it might be a good idea to adjust the message to maximize its functionality and appearance.
links within the e-mail message. The links can lead the reader to a donate page or another landing page where they can find additional information about a particular issue. Whatever that link may be, it is necessary to test those links and make sure they work properly. Every single link in the e-mail message should always be checked because they are often critical to the success of the program and
therefore need to be working properly.
TESTING OUTSIDE THE ORGANIZATION
e-mail it to a
message should be
within outside on
the the the
briefly group of
71 targeted e-mail list(s).33 it If their a response need for rate is
EXAMINING INITIAL RESULTS
Sending the e-mail message to a small group of targeted recipients also allows the organization to do some limited testing. For example, an A/B split test can be performed in order to see if one particular subject line or message
performs better than another. Creating a small split A/B test before going out to the entire mailing list will allow the organization to maximize results.34
CHECKING THE HANDLING PROCESS
performs, testing to a small group of individuals on the email list also allows the organization to see how well they can handle responses. The test will make sure the
organization has enough employees or volunteers to answer
33 Sheeraz Haji, and Emma Zolbrod, "Creating an Effective E-newsletter," http://www.ephilanthropy.org/site/DocServer/QuickTips_2.pdf (accessed August 4, 2006). 34 Madeline Stanionis, The Mercifully Brief Real World Guide to Raising Thousands if Not Tens of Thousands) of Dollars with Email (Medfield, Massachusetts: Emerson & Church, 2006).
72 incoming e-mail messages and telephone calls. If the
organization sees that they are not equipped to handle the initial response, they will have time to adjust so that once the final e-mail message is out to the entire list they will be ready to respond in an efficient manner. The last thing an organization wants is to have an overflow of response (good or bad) that they are not able to properly take care of.
CHAPTER 12 TESTING AND ANALYZING RESULTS
The beauty of direct marketing is that its efforts can be measured with fundraising enables the success hard direct numbers. Therefore, marketers to test each and and e-mail measure every
campaign implemented and analyzed, it is possible to refine future strategies that create even more successful
measurement tools that allow the organization to measure campaign effectiveness.”36 It is critical to keep track of these results in order to compare campaigns against each other. Just as with direct mail, a control is always needed for comparison purposes. Once results come in, it is
important to evaluate them and see how the organization can beat them the next time around. When analyzing results, it
35 Madeline Stanionis, The Mercifully Brief Real World Guide to Raising Thousands if Not Tens of Thousands) of Dollars with Email (Medfield, Massachusetts: Emerson & Church, 2006), 95. 36 Gail Goodman, "E-mail Energizes Nonprofit Efforts," DM News, 21 August 2006, 12.
74 is recommended to look at the following variables and
title should be clear and easy to understand, so that it is quickly recognized. As an example, “Pediatric
Nutrition 2006” can be an appeal name.
2. Subject: the content placed into the subject line of the e-mail message. It has a tremendous impact on
response, so it is important to make sure it is well thought out.
3. Segment/Target Audience: the group of constituents who are being targeted with the appeal. It can be current donors, prospects or even a more specific group such as past donors who have gone without donating for 12 or more months (i.e. lapsed 12+ months).
4. Date: the calendar date the e-mail message was sent to an audience.
75 5. Day of the Week: the day the e-mail message was sent. As mentioned previously, the best single day to e-mail is still a largely debated matter.
6. Time of Day: the exact time the e-mail message was sent. Many people believe certain times of the day are better to send e-mail messages than others because of individuals’ habits. For example, many nonprofit
organizations feel that in the early morning, people tend to overlook e-mail messages that do not relate to work.
7. Number of E-mail Messages Sent: the total number of email messages that were attempted to send.
8. Number of E-mail Messages Received: the total number of e-mail messages that were delivered. includes those going through spam filters. This number
9. Bounce Rate: There are two types of bounces. A soft bounce will occur if the recipient’s mailbox is full or there is a problem with the server. These e-mail messages will be attempted to deliver again. A hard bounce occurs if there is no such e-mail address. Hard
76 bounces should be kept on file and deleted from future mailings. The bounce rate is the percentage of bounces that occurred from the total number of sent e-mails.
10. First Online Gifts: the number of constituents who made a donation online for the very first time.
11. Conversion to Giving: the number of constituents who went to the donate page and actually donated, rather than simply exiting the page.
12. Total Revenue: the total revenue that was generated due to the e-mail message.
13. Average Gift: the average donation amount that was received due to the e-mail message. It has been noted that gifts donated via the Internet are generally
higher than those donated via offline channels.
14. Open Rate: the percentage of individuals who opened the e-mail message by actually clicking on it as well as those who saw it through a preview mode. The open rate is not an indicator of those who truly read the
77 e-mail message, but rather a good estimate of the
subject line's impact on recipient base.
15. Click-through Rate: the percentage of individuals who click on any link that is within the content of the email message that takes them to a different page for additional information or to place a donation. The way to track click-through rates is by placing trackable links in the e-mail message. This will allow the
organization to see the click-through rates for every available link there is. In order to obtain a clickthrough rate, divide the number of clicks by the
number of e-mail messages sent. This metric allows the organization interest particular to see if a particular than link had If more one
recipients had a
through rate, it is important to understand why. Was it the placement of the link? Was it a breaking news story? Was the link embedded in a photo? Once it is understood why, future e-mail messages can be adjusted to maximize the click-through rate.
response rate. The response rate is the percentage of
78 individuals who actually fulfilled the e-mail
message's objective or call to action. The objective of an e-mail message could be to get recipients to donate money, fill out a survey, sign a petition or something else. The response rate is a true indicator of the e-mail message's success.
17. Abandonment Rate: the percentage of recipients who opened the e-mail message and did not click through or those who have clicked through the e-mail, but
never took any action. This is an important metric because it can tell an organization where they are having problems. If recipients are opening the e-mail message and clicking through, why are they not taking any action? Is the message not clear? Is the call-toaction not strong enough? Whatever the reason may be, the problem should be fixed so that the response can be maximized.
18. Unsubscribe Rate: the percentage of recipients who receive the organization's e-mail messages, but decide to no longer receive them for one reason or another and ultimately unsubscribe. All e-mail messages should include an unsubscribe link so that recipients can
79 opt-out attention at to any the time. Organizations rate should it pay can
possibly mean that too many messages are being sent or that the messages are no longer relevant. However, it could also just mean that the recipient does not have the time to read any more e-mail messages and would rather not overfill his or her inbox. Nonetheless,
before coming to any conclusion and deciding how to react to a larger than usual unsubscribe rate, it is a good idea to go back and evaluate the relevancy of your e-mail messages. Periodically ask your donors and prospects what information they would like to receive via e-mail and the frequency at which they would like to receive them.
19. Forward forward This
Rate: their of
percentage messages marketing it to is is
other very an
individuals. important method to of
obtaining additional donors as well as building their e-mail address list. Remember, when a recipient
forwards an e-mail message to family or friends, it is more likely to be read than if it is directly from an organization.
20. Average Time on Landing Page: The average time spent on a landing page can tell you how effective that page really is. If the average time spent on one particular page is far less than another, why is that? The longer an individual stays on a website or landing page, the higher the chance of them taking positive action is.
CHAPTER 13 THE FUTURE OF E-MAIL FUNDRAISING
organizations is hard to predict, but we are seeing more and more new and innovative ways for organizations to
generate funds with e-mail.
Some organizations have already implemented interactive and multimedia e-mail fundraising campaigns that truly engage the donor or prospect. With the number of e-mail messages that pile up every day in our inbox, it is a battle for which ones actually get opened.
technology that brings the e-mail message to life. They are supposed to grab one’s attention and hopefully get them to take action. The idea is that they are supposed to be
interactive, different and unusual – just hope not too many organizations are doing the same type of thing because it will just become stale. Interactive and multimedia e-mail messages can be moving greeting cards, video messages,
movie clips, as well as other types of rich media.
82 Several companies have been on top of the interactive and multimedia e-mail fundraising trend more so than others, such as Beaconfire. Below are several case studies from Beaconfire’s website that discuss the successes different nonprofit organizations have had with interactive and
multimedia e-mail fundraising.
Heifer International's Gift Catalog is likely its most well recognized and successful program. The concept is simple and catchy: donors support the organization and its mission of providing livestock and training to communities in need - by giving a gift in the name of a friend or loved one. All over the world, users are logging in to send baskets of chicks, goats, and yes - even Heifers - in recognition of birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions.
Heifer sought a new way to excite its donors to give again and make others aware of its giving program. The Heifer "Moo-vie" was a humorous piece that highlighted the
difference between Heifer's meaningful gifts of hope and the often bizarre gifts that people sometimes receive. The piece blended humor with mission education to create a
83 movie that compelled thousands of individuals to give
holiday gifts through Heifer.
Figure 12. Screenshot of Heifer’s "Moo-vie”
Figure 13. Screenshot of the End of the “Moo-vie”
Figure 14. Screenshot of Heifer’s Gift Catalog
85 Big Brothers Big Sisters of America: An Ongoing Partnership
Beaconfire partners with a number of its clients, such as Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, in an agency-style relationship to conceive and execute their online marketing programs. They assign a dedicated team that works week in and week out across program and needs ranging from email site
improvements, and special creative projects to integrated efforts with other mediums. Beaconfire's retainer-based
services provide clients with predictability around costs and a dependable, creative client team at their service.
Sisters of America (BBBSA), the oldest and largest youth mentoring volunteers organization to carry in out the its United mission. States, However, needs the
organization also has major fundraising needs to create and support "Big" and "Little" matches. With no direct mail program, BBBSA looked solely to the Web to reach out to new volunteers and donors.
The Solution: Beaconfire began working with BBBSA in the summer of 2004 to help promote its Centennial and was later retained on a monthly basis to serve as the organization's
86 online marketing and fundraising partner. Sample projects include:
Holiday Photo Card Campaign: For the 2004 holiday campaign, Beaconfire approach to developed reach the to messaging BBBSA's for an innovative they
invited them to "Be part of something BIG!" by signing and uploading Greeting notifying Brother or their Card. them Big photos The that card they By to was had the World's sent Biggest to new with Online Littles a Big to
upload a photo to the card with a donation of $10 or more, Beaconfire interactive elegantly wove a The fundraising results: "ask" into the
signatures, 135 uploaded photos, and donations that again far exceeded BBBSA's expectations.
Figure 15. BBBSA’s Holiday Photo Card Campaign
CHAPTER 14 CONCLUSION
The purpose of this paper was to discuss the features and benefits of e-mail fundraising, and how to approach its implementation. I am by no way an expert in the field of email fundraising; however, from my research I have learned a great deal about this relatively new and developing form of fundraising.
my of to
sincere e-mail dozens
organizations. Since then, I have received several dozen email messages from them. I scrutinized each e-mail message to better understand the organization’s approach and
technique. In the end, I even began predicting the way email messages were going to look for some organizations and what day I was kept going their to receive them, copy since and many
strategy consistent with each delivery.
Many nonprofit organizations are currently utilizing e-mail fundraising, but there are even more that do not yet
89 realize its benefits. Despite the fact that e-mail
fundraising is relatively new (when compared to direct mail and telemarketing), a nonprofit amount organizations of success have already this
information.” However, in practice, this does not appear to be the case. More and more money is being donated over the Internet. In fact, research has indicated that the average gift is higher via the Internet than any other media
With time and new technology, we can only assume that email fundraising will get more advanced, and therefore
achieve more impressive results than ever before.
There is much information available on the Internet about e-mail fundraising. There are white papers, case studies and articles. There are also One several I books written by is
Madeline Stanionis, The Mercifully Brief Real World Guide to Raising Thousands if Not Tens of Thousands) of Dollars with Email (Medfield, Massachusetts: Emerson & Church, 2006).
90 called The Mercifully Brief Real World Guide to Raising Thousands (if Not Tens of Thousands) of Dollars with Email by Madeline Stanionis. The more research and reading one does about e-mail fundraising, the better they will serve their nonprofit organization.
The following is a summary of key points:
results are easy to analyze.
order to build a solid e-mail address file. Be sure to maintain and care about the e-mail addresses you have. Many organizations neglect their e-mail addresses,
leading to a decrease in overall response rates.
Play by the rules. Obtain permission from supporters, allowing the organization to send them e-mail
messages. If you do not have permission, do not send them anything.
Get to know your donors and prospects. Find out who they are and what they like. The more you know about
91 them, the better the relationship you will have with them, which ultimately leads to higher response rates.
Learn the techniques and methods on how to get your email messages delivered. There are many obstacles you might have to go through (SPAM, bounces, etc.) in
order to get your e-mail messages successfully passed the spam or undeliverable box and delivered to the recipient’s inbox, but they are absolutely necessary in order to achieve success.
A solid campaign plan needs to be developed so that the correct steps can be taken to fundraise. Without a plan, it will be extremely difficult to know where to go, how to get there and when to stop.
criteria allows the right people to receive the right message. Without question, this enhances the
organization’s relationships with its constituents and opens the doors for better results.
Certain times can be better than others to send out email messages. In an event of a disaster, e-mail
92 fundraising can secure a lot of donations. Specific times and days of the week should be tested to see if better results are achieved.
Creating effective e-mail messages is more than just an art form. There is a science to it as well. Certain techniques can be used to get people to open e-mail messages and respond. Writing e-mail messages is
different than writing direct mail; not to mention the power of e-mail hyperlinks that do not even exist in direct mail.
Integrate direct marketing campaigns when possible. If there is a direct channel mail, being telemarketing implemented at or the other same
time, see if you can incorporate e-mail fundraising. Different channels can complement each other very well and help yield higher response rates.
The beauty of e-mail fundraising is that it can be tested over and over again. It is important to always test and try to enhance the results. There are many
metrics to help analyze the effectiveness of e-mail messages and for the most part, they are not that
93 difficult refinement marketing exception. to learn. the Ongoing keys and to testing, success evaluation in any and
direct is no
APPENDIX 1 COLLECTION OF E-MAIL FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGNS
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Subject: We Need You On Our Side Sent: 8/8/2006 11:01 AM
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Subject: Be Their Voice in 2006 Sent: Tue 7/11/2006 11:01 AM
CARE Subject: Have your gift DOUBLED to help impoverished women Sent: Wed 8/23/2006 12:35 PM
CARE Subject: CRT works to prevent famine in Africa Sent: Thu 8/10/2006 11:55 AM
CARE Subject: Crisis in Niger: CRT responds Sent: Tue 7/11/2006 4:49 PM
Doctors Without Borders Subject: Doctors Without Borders Monthly E-mail Newsletter Sent: Wed 3/29/2006 10:46 AM
Doctors Without Borders Subject: Doctors Without Borders Monthly E-mail Newsletter Sent: Fri 4/28/2006 5:04 PM
Earthjustice Subject: Protect our forests - double your impact today Sent: Fri 7/7/2006 4:09 PM
Earthjustice Subject: LAST CHANCE: Match to save forests ends today Sent: Mon 7/31/2006 9:04 AM
Heifer International Subject: Help Heifer fight AIDS Sent: Thu 6/22/2006 7:33 PM
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Subject: Why Does the Military Come to the Museum? Sent: Fri 8/18/2006 1:35 PM
The Humane Society of the United States Subject: A humane world starts with you, Eugene Sent: Mon 4/17/2006 5:20 PM
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Subject: July E-mail - St. Jude Friends Sent: Thu 7/13/2006 10:01 PM
MoveOn Subject: So close! Sent: Wed 8/23/2006 2:13 PM
Planned Parenthood Federation of America Subject: ***Newsflash*** Victory for Plan B! Sent: Thu 8/24/2006 10:38 AM
109 Planned Parenthood Federation of America Subject: Planned Parenthood Newsletter: August 2006 Sent: Wed 8/23/2006 6:53 PM
Project HOPE Subject: Project HOPE Today - Ten Years of Clinics and Carino in the Dominican Republic Sent: Tue 7/11/2006 3:04 PM
American Red Cross Subject: One Minute Update - August 2006 Sent: Wed 8/9/2006 1:38 PM
Save the Children Subject: The African Food Crisis Rages On Sent: Tue 3/21/2006 6:37 PM
Save the Children Subject: Help Us Help Child Survivors of Deadly Earthquake in Indonesia Sent: Sat 5/27/2006 4:31 PM
Save the Children Subject: Save the Children Assisting Children Impacted by the Middle East Conflict Sent: Thu 8/17/2006 2:32 PM
APPENDIX 2 INDUSTRY WEBSITE ADDRESSES www.dmnews.com www.emaillabs.com www.clickz.com www.constantcontact.com www.bronto.com www.convio.com www.mailmerge.com www.engagemail.com www.returnpath.net www.marketingsherpa.com www.freshaddress.com www.lyris.com www.mailermailer.com www.getactive.com www.kintera.com www.groundspring.org www.donorpowerblog.com www.marketingprofs.com www.charitynavigator.com www.charitywatch.com www.intellicontact.com www.nptimes.com
www.guidestar.org www.malwarwick.com www.verticalresponse.com www.imediaconnection.com www.emarketer.com www.eroi.com www.espcoalition.org www.the-dma.org www.emarketingassociation.com www.womma.org www.exacttarget.com http://exacttarget.typepad.com/chrisbaggott/ www.philanthropy.com www.targetmarketingmag.com www.fundraisingsuccessmag.com www.beaconfire.com
Bronto Software. "Ask and You Shall Receive: Nonprofits and Email Marketing," http://bronto.com/solutions/resources/papers/nonprofitsand-email-marketing. Dilworth, Dianna. "Show Starts With E-mail Marketing Day." DM News, 14 August 2006. Dilworth, Dianna. "Deliverability Aids Middle East Children." DM News, 7 August 2006. Gilbert, Michael. "The Gilbert Email Manifesto (GEM)," April 10,2001. Nonprofit Online News. http://news.gilbert.org/gem. Goodman, Gail. "E-mail Energizes Nonprofit Efforts." DM News, 21 August 2006. Groundspring.org. "Online Fundraising Handbook," http://www.groundspring.org/learningcenter/handbook.cfm. Haji, Sheeraz. "Meet, Beat Challenges to List Growth." DM News, 21 August 2006. Haji, Sheeraz and Emma Zolbrod. "Creating an Effective Enewsletter," http://www.ephilanthropy.org/site/DocServer/QuickTips_2.pdf Hu Jim. "AOL Shift E-mail Graphics Policy,” November 14, 2003. http://news.com.com/2100-1024-5107785.html?tag=cd_top. Keegan, Michelle. "10 Tips on Getting and Keeping Permission," http://www.constantcontact.com/email-marketingresources/hints-tips/volume6-issue8.jsp. Kotler, Philip, and Kevin Lane Keller. Marketing Management, 12th ed. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2006. Nash, Edward. Direct Marketing, 4th ed. New York: McGrawHill, 2000.
118 Pease, Bill. "E-Mail Deliverability in the Age of Spam: Navigating New Paths to the Inbox," December 2004. GetActive Software. www.getactive.com/pdf/whitepapers/Email_Deliverability_020105.pdf Sharpe, Alan. "Email Fundraising Serves Four Strategic Functions," 2006. http://www.raisersharpe.com. Stanionis, Madeline. The Mercifully Brief Real World Guide to Raising Thousands if Not Tens of Thousands) of Dollars with Email. Medfield, Massachusetts: Emerson & Church, 2006. Stanionis, Madeline. "Online Fundraising benchmarks!," May, 2006. Mal Warwick. www.malwarwick.com/learning-resources/enewsletters/archives.html Stein, Michael. "Put Email to Work (Without Becoming a Spam Artist)," January 1, 2004. www.getactive.com/pdf/whitepapers/put_email_to_work.pdf. Stone, Bob. Successful Direct Marketing Methods, 7th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2001.
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