Tips for Growing Your E-mail List
Successful nonprofits convert individuals to supporters by choosing the right tool for the right purpose, e.g., action alerts, search engines, videos, contests, newsletters.
Perkins shared the following tips to help organizations grow and cultivate their lists:
- Collect opt-ins front and center. Have an e-mail signup box on your Web site and include it in a prominent place on every page. For example, Oxfam America collects e-mails on every page of its Web site and at Coldplay concerts.
- Send regular e-mails. The nonprofits with the highest online donations in the country send about four e-mails a month to each subscriber, including a monthly newsletter, a monthly action alert (not a fundraising appeal), a monthly or quarterly fundraising appeal, and an e-mail when something interesting happens (with urgency and a context for raising money). And be as personal and specific in the e-mails as possible.
- Send e-mails from a specific individual at your organization, and include their pictures and a straightforward request for recipients to do something. Perkins recommended testing and also paying attention to what other, larger organizations like Oxfam, Defenders of Wildlife or CARE are doing.
Perkins said organizations are better able to raise more money from people in person at live events than from social-networking tools. If you're going to use social networks and you're a small, local organization, focus on a strategy to build a social network and e-mail list with several thousand people to promote local events, and ask people to sign up for e-mail alerts at the events. Add those people to your e-mail list, upload them to your social-network profile and repeat.
He recommended nonprofits think like rock bands: Always build your list, be scrappy, leverage the work of volunteers who care about your issue (the value of a volunteer hour is about $18), and put your fans first and empower them to spread the word for you.