Focus On: E-philanthropy: E-volving with the Times
According to the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University’s Philanthropic Giving Index December 2003, 28.9 percent of fundraisers surveyed cast their e-mail initiatives to be more successful in the near future than they are today. A gradual sign of improvement, that. But for the organizations that have successfully utilized e-mail as a fundraising tool, it’s a delicate balance of nurturing relationships and urging action.
JNF defies the odds
Several years ago, the Jewish National Fund, a nonprofit organization benefiting the land of Israel and its peoples, launched an in-house, e-mail newsletter campaign that produced marginally impressive returns. In 2003, heeding the need to bolster its e-mail efforts, JNF partnered with Internet software and services firm Convio — the company that championed Democratic presidential hopeful Howard Dean’s success on the Web.
The first order of business was to personalize and regionalize all e-mail broadcasts, so a recipient in Los Angeles would receive an e-newsletter that addressed him by name and include pertinent southern California JNF news, as well as related national and international news. That e-mail also would be signed by the local JNF president.
“We wanted [our constituents] to read stories about people and places they knew and heard about to generate interest in the newsletters,” says Howard Horowitz, director of marketing for JNF. “It’s a matter of providing them with something familiar to relate to.”
The underlying goal of each newsletter is to motivate recipients to purchase Tree Certificates, Water Greeting Cards, bar- and bat-mitzvah invitations and Water Certificates — items available on the JNF Web site (www.jnf.org). Below the salutation of each newsletter is a redirect link that takes members to one of two areas on the site: a page that allows donors to designate an action area for their donation, or the JNF store page.