E-mail Appends: The Good, the Bad and the Realistic
2. I’m afraid I’ll be wasting my money!
According to the article “Get An Email Address, Generate Income,” in the April 15 issue of The NonProfit Times, the average worth of an e-mail address on your file is $7.86 a year, per Convio’s recently published benchmark study on e-commerce between July 2006 and June 2007.
In fact, many nonprofits bring in $5 to $10 in contributions for every $1 spent on e-mail append processing, according to the article “Email Append: Hot online strategy or too hot to handle?” in NPT’s March 15 edition. Considering that you can append multiple e-mail addresses for $1, there is a low level of investment required to find out how valuable your e-mail addresses will be — and the research is in your favor.
3. I’m afraid I’ll anger my donors!
An e-mail append that gives your donors the chance to say no (opt out) to hearing from you via e-mail shows your donors that you respect their preferences.
Complaint rates for e-mail appends often are as low as half of 1 percent. Ask your vendor if it uses the Direct Marketing Association’s Email Preference Service list. What’s more, if you work with a vendor that has an aggressive suppression file, taking out those people who have hit the spam button or complained on e-mail appends for other clients just might whittle your list down to your friendliest donors.
Remember, these people are your donors because they care about your mission. Sending them e-mail updates between fundraising efforts is a great way to show them that you don’t just write when you need something, but that you value their participation. In reality, e-mail will strengthen your donor relationships, not weaken them.
4. I’m afraid an e-mail append will hurt my direct-mail program!
Think of it this way: There are two organizations in the same field — one has sent you a mail piece, and the other has sent you a mail piece and e-mailed you a reminder and an e-newsletter highlighting its successful use of donations. It’s likely that the organization making the extra touch will stick out in your mind. What’s more, many nonprofits are doing matchback analysis to keep track of how online and mail campaigns are working in tandem — and are thrilled with the results. In an increasingly competitive market, e-mail can bolster your direct-mail results.