Direct Marketing and Annual Giving Insights

Email Is Dead. Long Live Email?

The days of “click and send” email are dead. As fundraising…

The days of “click and send” email are dead. As fundraising professionals, it is no longer enough to simply send an email in the hope that our donors will respond. Static emails have become an outdated mode of communication. In today’s fast-paced and digitally-driven environment, we need to stay abreast of the latest trends in email marketing.

While there are still some basic techniques that should be applied to your solicitation campaigns like list segmentation or scheduling emails on Monday because they yield higher open rates, we need to take advantage of the next wave of technology to ensure our organization’s success.

There are three trends that annual giving staff can easily and cost-effectively implement today.

  1. What’s my favorite color?

How did you guess? You know me so well. Getting personal is critical in our business. Whether you’re building a relationship with a donor to secure a major gift or delivering an email, it’s all about listening to our prospects and knowing who they are and what they’re interested in. It’s not enough to know your donor’s name. You need their personal details like the fact that they give at the same time every year or that they’re interested in learning about specific areas of your cause. The more information you can gather about your donors and include in your messages, the greater return you will see. According to McKinsey, personalized emails can drive high returns.

  1. Thank you sir, may have another?

Everyone enjoys a second helping now and again. Transactional and automated emails that are triggered by donor behavior are another way to increase revenue. Using your existing automated e-receipt system, for example, you can secure second gifts immediately simply by offering additional areas of support (the old upsell) or use infographics which highlight giving impact. You can also track monthly website traffic to capture topical interest which then triggers your email solicitations and is based on your heat map analysis. Transactional emails yield greater revenue per email and see higher open rates too.

  1. Why is finger-painting fun?

Because you get your hands and mind involved with your artistic creation. Likewise, interactive emails are the next wave of digital innovation. Emails that include animated countdown timers create urgency. Animated GIFs that allow me to rollover images to learn the impact of my giving engage me at my seat whether I’m viewing an email in bed or riding the train during my morning commute. Once I become engaged in the action, I remain involved with the organization.

Email clearly has the potential to increase your fundraising revenue and is a relatively inexpensive vehicle. Rather than making email a secondary component of your direct mail strategy, try treating it as an entirely separate medium with its own opportunities for growth. I guess this means email is not dead; it’s just gotten a facelift.

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