Looking for New Donors? Consider an E-mail Newsletter
Many of today’s nonprofits are struggling with declining memberships, ever-shrinking budgets and a serious slackening of retention rates from their core donors. It’s an increasing dilemma among some of the largest, and smallest, nonprofits in the country.
What could be one bright spot in this increasingly dark world of donor prospecting and acquisition is the advantage of permission-based online direct marketing and branding for your organization.
These types of campaigns deploy opt-in email to highly targeted donors, which could help keep your retention programs strong, increase donor awareness of what your organization is doing and even develop your own unique nonprofit “gear” as an additional e-commerce funds generation device.
E-mail is one of the most powerful mediums that can enhance and expand your organization’s emotional attachment to its donors at one of the lowest costs per message in the current marketplace.
By sending an e-newsletter format to your donors, for example, your organization has the true potential of almost immediate replies to your messaging, with more than 80 percent obtained in the first 48 hours or so -- versus waiting for your remittance envelope to come back to in the following six weeks to eight weeks. E-mail marketing campaigns allow for highly targeted e-mails for pennies per e-mail and allow for more conversation with each potential or active donor.
An e-mail newsletter should be mixed with your other efforts, such as direct-mail annual giving, monthly appeals, special events and individual solicitations. As with any other aspect of direct mail, your list selection is key to a rewarding e-mail campaign.
A successful e-mail campaign is thought of just like a regular direct-mail campaign: You have your creative brief outlining expectations, costs, budgets, compelling copy and creative graphics in HTML-based design formats -- all combined with a good list broker that knows the strengths of a good e-mail list.
After vetting your e-mail strategy and budget limitations, you can then create a long-term strategy for branding your nonprofit organization, growing and expanding your e-mail house files, and reaching new, potential donors with your compelling story.
There are many organizations, agencies and list brokers out there that are especially keen at negotiating and navigating through the e-media world with confidence, while offering nonprofit clients support and tangible results from their online experiences.
Look to your organization’s core strengths and unique services, and seek out the right people to get behind your cause. You can elicit a strong emotional impact from donors through an e-mail newsletter -- with the right list, right help and right message.
James E. Sullivan is president and CEO of Optic Nerve Direct Marketing, a full-service direct-marketing agency serving both nonprofits and for-profits. Sullivan can be reached at 415.647.9462; or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit www.opticnervedirect.com.