The Devil Is in the Details With an Email Welcome Series
Sometimes I worry that our industry misses out on the "no-brainer" stuff and even the "simple" stuff. An example of that is the welcome series. Many nonprofits actually have a welcome series for new donors through the direct-mail program. This is a very important strategy and is primarily focused on:
- introducing new donors to the organization
- building further awareness
- recognizing their initial donations
- restating the need for additional donations for the mission
- providing information about how their donations are being used
All this makes perfect sense, right?
Well, it is a best practice and something every nonprofit should do in direct mail. And, trust me, it has been proved time and time again — this "expense" is absolutely worth it for short-term return and long-term retention.
Why is it that we don't apply the same strategy in the digital world?
One reason: There are many more details that have to be managed in the digital world for a welcome series than in the offline/direct-mail world. And for those of you saying, "NOT TRUE, ANGIE," let me give you some examples:
- In direct mail, we basically create the direct-mail welcome series and it runs in a way that is easy to produce and schedule. In fact, it almost becomes a part of the schedule.
- Because direct mail requires a significant amount of prescheduling, it is also something that is prepared in a way that is generic enough to account for the time lapse and the fact that constituents might engage in between some of these strategic touches. And guess what? We have conditioned donors to understand the time lag/lapse associated with direct mail.
- For digital, consumers are much less forgiving. They have expectations that the digital world is almost "real time" — and they expect you to be more timely and more aware of their relationship in the digital world. They expect you to be aware that they have already given to an email last week versus treating them as if they have not given again.
- In other words, direct mail actually requires a little less coordination for a welcome series than an e-welcome series. In the digital world, we must have access to tools that can schedule work flows and set up trigger strategies that can make changes to strategy and segmentation immediately.
- The beauty of digital is that it can be managed in a fast-track manner. The challenge for some is that they are not prepared to create strategy and rules in this fast-moving environment. It is most certainly not like the world of direct mail, where we work on the March appeal in December, and once we have it done "it's locked and loaded" and we move on.
Vice President, Strategy & Development
Eleventy Marketing Group
Angie is ridiculously passionate about EVERYTHING she’s involved in — including the future and success of our nonprofit industry.
Angie is a senior exec with 25 years of experience in direct and relationship marketing. She is a C-suite consultant with experience over the years at both nonprofits and agencies. She currently leads strategy and development for marketing intelligence agency Eleventy Marketing Group. Previously she has worked at the innovative startup DonorVoice and as general manager of Merkle’s Nonprofit Group, as well as serving as that firm’s CRM officer charged with driving change within the industry. She also spent more 14 years leading the marketing, fundraising and CRM areas for two nationwide charities, The Arthritis Foundation and the American Cancer Society. Angie is a thought leader in the industry and is frequent speaker at events, and author of articles and whitepapers on the nonprofit industry. She also has received recognition for innovation and influence over the years.