The Red Pen Challenge

We all write to donors from time to time, we know we need to communicate with them, to keep them informed about what’s happening. But, are we watching how we include them in the messages?

Often messages are full of “I”, “We”, “Us, there’s little use of “You” “Your”.

So here’s a wee test from Marc Pitman – The Fundraising Coach you can do to check your content.

Will you take the Red Pen Challenge?

Do the test and see how you score.

I’d be keen to know your results – share them in the contents below.

Email Marketing, Be on Point

We all get them, emails, email updates, simple to the point outlining what an organisation has been doing; then we get the solicitation emails – love them or hate them, they’re a fact of life and we have to accept that when we subscribe we will get them.

As an organisation, you’re relient more and more on emails as a means of communication, simply as it is cheaper than postal updates and appeals.

What is important is that you address them correctly, do you know how your subscribers/donors like to be addressed? Mrs/Ms/Mr, or is it ok to simply use their first name?

But, first off – The Subject Line is an all important part of an email – get this wrong and more will be sent direct to the bin – deleted, with all your hardwork wasted.

Have a read of what Michael Rosen says, yes, it’s in American speak, but he makes sense and has good points and, pointers on how you might get a better readership and response if you take time to plan what you want to send your subscribers and donors.

Click here and read

What are you doing with your email and DM campaigns, are you targetting everyone on your database or are you segmenting it to those who want updates and donors as two separate categories?

Are you further segmenting it to send something different to those who have given recently?

Donor Newsletters

How often are you communicating with your donors no, asking for money isn’t part of the communications I mean. How often do you update your donors about the work you are doing, and how are you doing this?

Some organisations are only communicating with donors when they want something, but donors want, deserve to know what you have been doing and how they (the donor) has helped you achive what you have done.

When it comes to communicating with donors it seems organisations are moving away from posted (mailed) updates to e-letters.

No matter what method you are communicating with donors, it’s important that the message you are sharing isn’t all about you, it shouldn’t be a ra ra about the CEO, it should be about the work you are doing and how without the support of donors you wouldn’t have got to where you are.

If it wasn’t for the support of donors you likely wouldn’t be where you are, you likely wouldn’t haven’t achieved much. So, the righly deserve to be seen as the ”heroes” of your organisation.

I’ve often thought that sharing donor stories is important, and have seen only a few organisations do this; and the response they get, from what I’m also hearing is brilliant.

When talking with donors about your work, it’s not a time to brag. It’s a time to give thanks, to share the ups and yes, the downs.

Recently I saw a newsletter from one organisation that shared several donor stories, it was a great read and made me want to support the organisation.

I asked the organisation what sort of feedback they get when they do their newsletters, and they said that generally they get good feedback and requests for information on ways people can do more to support them. This to me is a win.

Something I’m noticing too, is that organisations are moving away from posted updates to e-letters, but forgetting that not all supporters use email. So, some are missing out, this needs to be sorted.

Using the argument that mail is too expensive doesn’t cut it with me, donors whether they have email or not deserve to know what you are doing. Why is it ok to post out an appeal for money but not something about your work successes?

Sure, with an e-letter you can have a link to ask for support, but don’t make it the main purpose of the communication, same with a posted newsletter, include a portion for people to return a donation.

Also, think about the frequency of your communications, I’ve seen some organisations send an e-letter monthly, to me that’s a turn off and could soon be seen as simply spam, and result in donors switching off.

What are you finding with your donor communications, less is more? Are donor stories working for you?

FINAL DAY

Did that get your attention?

Emailing marketing can be an effective tool in your fundraising arsenal, but unless you do it well it can leave a sour taste, or be completely ignored by your supporters.

Doing  it right is the key.

How do you do it right, well, the simplest way to say this is as Nike does “Just do it” – but, measure, measure and measure some more.

If you’re not prepared to measure from the outset, if you think this is a hard task; don’t even think about doing a campaign. You’d measure a postal campaign, so why not an email one?

From my experience you need to have a few examples of contents, subject line etc and test these on different segments of your supporter database; what works for some may not work for others, remember one style does not fit all when it comes to any marketing to your supporters.

Being personal, personable and letting supporters know how important they have been to your organisation is important, but don’t be overly gushy with this; you want recipients to keep reading, not dive for the vomit bag.

If you find that the content is more receptive, that you get higher click throughs to your website, your donate now page, than other samples; use this … but don’t be afraid to keep testing what works.

Often, the subject line is all that needs a tweak, if you find one segment of your audience is more receptive to something that really pulls on their heart strings, use this on another segment and look at what results  you’re getting.

As Kerri Karvetski says on the Nonprofit Marketing Guide – Want to squeeze more mileage from a great fundraising or advocacy email? Send it again.

Kerri also says “Sending a fundraising or advocacy email again to non-responders — subscribers who did not open, click, donate or take action the first time — can sometimes raise as much, or produce as many actions, as the original send.” Something I agree with, and something you should take heed of.

In the article Kerri also says “When it comes to resends, which is what Kerri’s article is about, think about the plan behind the resend; “Sending a fundraising or advocacy email again to non-responders — subscribers who did not open, click, donate or take action the first time — can sometimes raise as much, or produce as many actions, as the original send. “

The next time you sit down and plan your next email marketing campaign, don’t just think about the “core” message, think about how you will monitor the campaign, what you will do to grab the attention of those you’ve identified you haven’t “reached” … don’t just write one piece and send it to everyone and end it there, have a plan for what you will do next.

It’s only a short article, full of tips – so head to Nonprofit Marketing Guide and read the full article

Are you monitoring and changing your email marketing, subject, content and more, if not why not?