Finding Your Direct-Mail Donors — Online
August 1, 2014

Most of the donors in our databases were acquired offline — through direct mail, events or other means. How do we target them with relevant online display ads to encourage them to take action online? Or donate online or offline? Magic? No … through direct-response, cookie-based targeting.

How to Achieve Out-of-This-World Open Rates (Plus 5 Tips to Avoid the Trash Altogether)
May 27, 2014

Donors are bombarded with emails every day. The only way to ensure your email isn’t immediately discarded is to be invited into their inboxes. To do this, your email must be categorized under one of the three buckets: "trusted sender," "stuff I care about" or "OK, you've got me …" Here are five easy ways to get your nonprofit’s email into one of the three coveted buckets: rate your subject lines, A/B test, get feedback, have a call to action and stay out of the third bucket altogether.

9 Ways Smart Email Marketers Are Using Preheader Text
May 22, 2014

Email marketers have another tool to grab subscribers' attention: preheader text. Here are nine ways to customize preheader text that will invite readers to open up your email and stay awhile: 1. Tease the content of your email. 2. Provide a strong call to action. 3. Elaborate on the subject line. 4. Write a personal message. 5. Give an incentive to open. 6. Repeating yourself is repetitive. 7. Keep it short. 8. A/B test. 9. Include an emoji.

Is December Really the Best Time for Fundraising Emails?
May 20, 2014

One of the more interesting findings from the recently released 2014 M+R Benchmarks Study was that fundraising emails did not have a higher conversion rate in December. The study found that December fundraising email conversion rates were 0.06 percent, slightly lower than the overall rate of 0.07 percent.

Over the past several years, you’ve likely heard a lot about the importance of sending a multichannel end-of-year campaign. We’ve seen that far more is raised online in December than any other month. And how people give larger gifts.

Online Fundraising Goes Mainstream
May 19, 2014

Online giving is still growing, but triple-digit annual increases are a thing of the past. Internet fundraising grew by roughly 13 percent last year, according to a survey of 100 of the largest nonprofits conducted by The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

The Chronicle surveyed all the organizations in its Philanthropy 400 rankings of the largest nonprofits measured by annual fundraising. Of the 100 that responded, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society topped the list, with more than $98 million in Internet gifts in 2013.

Why Email Still Rules!
May 16, 2014

Social-media strategists (OK, not all) love to discount email in favor of, you guessed it — social media. They have deemed email a dying communications channel, which is absurd. Email lists and email marketing continue to grow, especially for the nonprofit sector, where list size grew at least 14 percent in 2013, according to the 2014 eNonprofit Benchmark study. Here’s just a few reasons why email still rules …

Re: Using Emails to Effectively Thank Donors
May 1, 2014

There are four types of email thank-yous to consider when you’re developing an integrated direct-marketing campaign. I’ve outlined them here and added my 2 cents about how you can make each of these efforts even more compelling to get your first-time donor to want to learn more about your mission.