When I first became involved with non-profit fundraising in Las Vegas all my asks were made in person, over the phone, or by standard postal mail. Over the years, however, the face of non-profit fundraising has changed. Email is a critical item in the toolbox of almost every non-profit fundraiser. Even texting has its place. These methods provide a simple, easy, and efficient way for charities to stay in touch with their donors, share news, and keep their names visible.
At the same time, fundraising can feel cold and distant when there is too much email contact and too little human attention. Besides, donors can get annoyed if they receive too much email. Many non-profit fundraisers are looking for a way to determine precisely the right amount of communication to keep donors engaged without pushing them away.
Take Advantage of Technology
There’s no clear answer for the number of emails or texts to send to your donors. Different people have different preferences, and it can be a challenging balance to avoid sending too much email without fading away from your donors’ minds. It is important to remember, donors are people. Real people, human beings just like you. Treat them as you would treat your best friend and you will gain a friend who will become a donor too. Back to the dreaded technology. There is no way to get around it, the world is changing, and communication strategies are too. And, most modern email services provide an array of options that help you make different decisions about who to email. Segmenting technologies let you choose only a specific set of donors to email, based on whether they opened a past message, where they live or an interest they have indicated.
Also, if your email service allows donors to choose between receiving every mailing, a weekly summary, or a monthly newsletter, you may want to enable this option. This way, your most avid supporters will receive all your messages. But! In the end, good old-fashioned face to face communication will win the day every day. Be real, it’s the best way.
Don’t Be Too Conservative.
At the same time, it’s essential not to be overly conservative. Donors support your cause and care about your mission. It’s vital that they hear from you regularly to continue to feel engaged. While surveys may indicate that many people indicate their interest in a once-a-year appeal, this may be more applicable to hard-copy postal mail and annual reports than the more flexible options available with email. Some research indicates that appeals receive the highest response levels when sent once monthly. However, they also show no significant loss of engagement per email when mailing once or twice weekly, and the overall impact can be much higher.
Email can seem impersonal but taking the time to give your messages a personal touch can elevate an appeal and make it feel more like a genuine connection and less like a marketing message. Many email programs allow you to integrate donors’ names easily. These personalization options can make even frequent emails feel more like a message from a friend, which helps build that personal relationship at the heart of successful fundraising.
About Linda Smith
Linda Smith is a fearless and tenacious non-profit fundraiser, author and motivational speaker. She is a survivor of child abuse, a philanthropist who has raised over one billion dollars for charity, and a disability advocate inspired by her son, Christopher, who was born with Down syndrome. Her incredible journey and brave heart will be detailed in her upcoming book, Unwanted.
Contact [email protected] to connect with Linda for information regarding speaking opportunities, disability resources and Las Vegas fundraising efforts.