Put All E-mails to Work for Your Organization
E-mail blasts that ask constituents for donations aren’t the only way organizations can use e-mail to advocate and fundraise. Another, perhaps less obvious, way is by including e-mail signatures in all the e-mails sent by your organization’s staff, a strategy discussed at great length by Nancy E. Schwartz, president of nonprofit marketing and communications firm Nancy Schwartz & Company, in her article “Nonprofits’ Most Missed Marketing Tool -- E-mail Signatures.”
An e-mail signature is information that automatically is added to the end of an outgoing e-mail that typically includes the sender’s name, title, company or organization, and contact information. Schwartz calls it an “online business card with ‘callback’ abilities.”
“If your organization has 30 employees, each of whom sends 15 e-mails daily outside the organization, then (assuming 250 business days) that’s 112,500 business cards or ads distributed annually, at no cost. If you have 100 employees, that’s 375,000 cards or ads annually,” Schwartz writes.
She recommends everyone in an organization uses the same signature line format -- from the elements themselves (organization name, Web site URL, tag line) to the order of the elements. A consistent signature line builds an organization’s brand or identity, and becomes a “cognitive flag” that connects e-mails received from various employees of your organization.
To create an effective e-mail signature line, Schwartz recommends organizations:
1. Keep it brief. A strong signature is about four to six lines long.
2. Include the employee’s name, title, the organization name, phone number and Web address. Other items that can be included are a tag line (a general one for the organization or for a special event or campaign) and basic graphical elements, like a line that separates the signature from the rest of the e-mail.
If you’re trying to motivate clients to support a campaign or learn more about your organization, Schwartz recommends adding a one-liner like a quotation that epitomizes your organization’s mission, a call to action to contribute to a campaign, an issue-related tag line to promote support of an advocacy campaign, an announcement of new services or programs, or an invitation to a special event or to subscribe to your e-newsletter. Just remember to make sure the one-liner is up to date, Schwartz says.