Create a Holiday Message That Dovetails Into the New Year
December 19, 2006

A holiday campaign isn’t just a more festive version of the campaigns you run the rest of the year. The holidays are a great time to link giving to your charity with the spirit of giving that defines the season. Amma Hawks, vice president of sales and marketing for San Francisco-based online fundraising service provider Entango, says her company works with a number of organizations to create holiday campaigns. Each does something a little different, something that often dovetails into their regular fundraising programs. Women for Women International, a Washington, D.C.-based organization that helps women in war-torn regions rebuild their lives through financial

Three Ideas for Creating a Winning Holiday Campaign
December 19, 2006

When creating a holiday fundraising campaign, it’s important to make your message as specific and tangible as possible, says Tom Gaffny, executive vice president and managing director of the fundraising division of relationship-marketing firm Epsilon. In 2005, Epsilon won five awards for creative excellence in the nonprofit sector from the New England Direct Marketing Association (NEDMA), one of which was a Gold Award in the category of Best Art Direction for its work on a holiday campaign for Volunteers of America — an organization dedicated to helping at-risk youths, elderly, abused and neglected children, the disabled and the homeless. Gaffny says there are

Tips for Getting New List Members to Stay, Donate
December 5, 2006

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

Is Your Message on MySpace?
December 1, 2006

Online social networks allow people to come together around shared interests or causes, such as making friends, dating, business networking, hobbies, interests and political discourse. The number of visitors to online social networks has grown exponentially in recent years. In June 2006 alone, MySpace.com had an estimated 55 million visitors. While most social networks attract a very young demographic (the primary age group for MySpace.com is 14 to 34), there are several networks geared toward older individuals; among them is Gather.com, which appeals to audiences such as public radio listeners.

Put Your Web Site to Work
November 1, 2006

Nonprofit organizations are facing more competition for support every day. Many are turning to the Internet to better differentiate their organizations, increase fundraising and operate more efficiently. By leveraging their Web sites, organizations will have the opportunity to build stronger relationships with their constituent communities — including donors, members, volunteers and employees — to support their missions today and in the future.

How to Make Your E-Newsletter a Superstar
October 31, 2006

Atlanta-based international humanitarian organization CARE was recognized as a “Superstar” by peers at GetTogether 2006, GetActive Software’s third annual user conference, in Baltimore in mid-September, for having the “best recurring e-newsletter.” Tobias Smith, Internet strategist for the organization, took some time to speak with me about what it is that makes the 4-year-old monthly e-newsletter, CARE Connections, successful. Smith describes CARE Connections as the anchor of CARE’s large, complex e-cultivation effort at raising funds and encouraging advocacy. The goal of the e-newsletter is to bring people back to the Web to view the content that’s there. The e-newsletter includes feature stories, educational content,

Speed and Relevance Key to E-Newsletters
October 31, 2006

According to the report “Email Newsletter Usability: 165 Design Guidelines for Newsletter Subscription, Content, Account Maintenance, and RSS News Feeds Based on Usability Studies” by the Nielsen Norman Group, a firm that helps companies develop customer-centered strategies and processes, individuals have stronger reactions to e-mail newsletters than they do to Web sites. For one thing, e-newsletters are more personal than Web sites because they arrive in recipients’ inboxes. They also have a social aspect in that they can be forwarded to friends and colleagues, according to the report. Because of this, e-newsletters present an opportunity to create a greater bond between recipients and

11 Strategies to Avoid Getting Your E-Newsletter Caught By Filters
October 31, 2006

As the amount of e-mails sent to consumers and donors has increased, the use of e-mail filters to sort spam and unwanted e-mails has as well. An e-newsletter that gets caught in a filter and fails to get delivered is a missed opportunity to touch a would-be donor or build a relationship with a long-time constituent. Nancy Schwartz, president of marketing and communications firm Nancy Schwartz & Company, says there are techniques that nonprofits can employ so their e-newsletters don’t get caught in filters. She touches on these in the article “Avoiding Filters — 11 Tips for E-Newsletter Success,” which appears on her

Six Tips to Boost Response
October 24, 2006

The best nonprofit donors are the people that are most targeted by competing fundraisers, said Herschell Gordon Lewis, direct marketing guru and president of Lewis Enterprises, in his session “Using Mail and E-mail to Boost Nonprofit Response” at the Direct Marketing Association’s 2006 Annual Conference & Exhibition in San Francisco last week. Trends for the 21st century, for marketers and nonprofit organizations alike, are increasingly emphatic persuasion; inclusion of validation; increasing informality; and the promise of fast action. Lewis offered the following tips for boosting response through mail and/or e-mail: 1. Pose questions asking people to donate, bestow or bequeath. Questions are automatically reader

Feuding for Free E-mail
June 1, 2006

For a few months now, you’ve been hearing about plans by companies such as AOL and Yahoo! to apply a new business model to Internet communications to afford e-mail senders a secure way to communicate with potential customers. Goodmail recently unveiled a certified e-mail program that AOL and Yahoo! plan to make available to e-mail senders that allows them to bypass spam filters for a fee and get guaranteed access to recipients’ inboxes.