Sure, you want your new supporters to feel welcome, but a welcome package isn’t always the way to go.
In a white paper on cultivating new e-mail list members, Eve Fox, vice president of M+R Strategic Services, suggests organizations skip sending welcome messages to new list members. M+R is a full-service consulting firm that designs and runs legislative, media and policy campaigns for organizations. Fox cites data from tests the company conducted for some of its nonprofit clients that show welcome messages to be an ineffective first communication form for newbies.
Fox recommends sending new list members a typical action alert or fundraising appeal on a current issue or campaign facing your organization — and to send it within their first week on your list.
As Fox writes, “List members are most receptive and responsive to communications from your organization in their first six weeks on your list.”
She says open rates for the first message people receive are consistently higher than for subsequent alerts, so make your first communication with new list members quickly, and make it effective. And when trying to build a list of donors, organizations should make sure that the first message new recruits get is a fundraising appeal within their first week on the list.
Based on the tests, M+R found that a longer welcome series made list members more likely to unsubscribe, while those who received a fundraising appeal as their first message made more donations overall.
To view the complete white paper, www.mrss.com/news/Cultivating_New_List_Members_5-12-06.pdf