You can, indeed, email your supporters every single day.
I realize you and your communications team members probably just fell out of your chairs. After all, they worked so hard on their email schedule. It took months to plot it oh-so-carefully in an Excel file after a series of scraps with colleagues to determine who gets to send their messages, and when.
So how on earth can you email your supporters every single day?
PROVIDE VALUE! If you do, your supporters will welcome your email communications the same way they welcome their best friend’s emails. They’ll get excited when they see them. Feel-good chemicals will flow in their brains. They’ll read the subject lines with anticipation. They’ll open them and even click on the links provided. Seriously, they will. But only if the communications provide value.
Sadly, most nonprofits fail to provide value in their emails.
And that’s precisely why nonprofit open, click-thru, and online engagement rates are so low. Also, that’s why so many people either opt-out of receiving your organization’s emails or ignore them altogether by filtering them into their ‘trash’ folders.
Are your emails like a crappy cousin?
Many nonprofits act like crappy cousins. Here’s what I mean:
Imagine you have a cousin who visits almost weekly, uninvited. She doesn’t knock on your door because, somehow, she got a key. So she enters when she pleases. Then she plops down on your couch. When you get home, she asks for food, a blanket, and money. You give her what she needs every time.
In return, she gives back very little. She doesn’t say ‘thank you’ promptly, she never asks you about you and how your day was, and she even tells her friends about your generosity so they can start asking you for stuff too. [Note: This is the same as nonprofits selling the names of their donors to similar yet competing organizations in cooperatives.]
As the weeks go by, you start to get tired of her.
Although you still love her very much and wish she’d change, she doesn’t.
You give her hints, so she starts to bring over planned giving e-newsletters you didn’t want or subscribe to and she shoves them in your face saying, “Look, I’m helping.” But you didn’t want those and you didn’t subscribe (opt-in) to receive them. So she isn’t really helping after all.
Then, she keeps visiting and asking for you to give to her without providing much real value in return. Until, finally, you throw her out and change your locks.
But what if she gave to you?
What if she asked you about your desires and what you need? What if she asked you to opt-in to gain her assistance? What if, then, she helped out around the house? What if she baby-sat so you could get a night out with your significant other? What if she provided useful advice and information so you could fix that leaky air conditioner? What if she cleaned out your gutters? What if she did your laundry or taught you how to cook healthier meals? What if she did anything but take!?!
See?… It’s about giving, not taking.
Too many nonprofits fail to give to their supporters via email. That’s the problem.
To them, giving is counter-intuitive. The leadership can’t imagine ‘wasting’ an email blast on anything other than asking.
Sure, they might cloak the ask in some sort of information. But your supporters know the game. They know you’re not really giving wholeheartedly. You’re just giving so you can get. They see through this and react accordingly.
The funny thing is, the more your organization gives, the more it will get in return.
If your communications team would just spend half as much time trying to provide real, serious value to supporters as they spend quibbling over ‘who gets to send what when’, everything would work out for the better.
Don’t know how to provide value?
Here’s a helpful checklist I created a long time ago to help nonprofits give more to their supporters. Go ahead and print it! Or, go here to see 10 ways you can deliver value to your major donors or legacy giving prospects.
Don’t believe me?
Consider this. My company (MarketSmart) found that we can email some people every single day too.
Many people sign up for my blog email notifications. Those go out about 3 times a week. Many also sign up to get free major gift motivational quotes every Tuesday. The unsubscribe rates are VERY low and the click-thru rates are VERY high. Plus we might send emails inviting folks to take advantage of our resources including:
Our emails rarely (if ever) ask you to buy from us.
Instead, we give, give, and give some more because we know that the law of reciprocity works contrary to common sense. When people gain value, they return the favor but in exponentially greater form. That’s why your organization might get a $100 donation in return for a 2 cent address label.
People who have gained value from our emails often ask us to show them what we do. Then, most of them buy from us. After that, they retain. They rarely stop buying. So their lifetime value to us is immense.
Conclusion: Stop blasting, start providing value and you’ll be able to email your supporters every single day.
>>Podcast episode: Email as a Fundraising Tool
>>Blog post: Most fundraisers use email the wrong way
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