Breaking the Ice: Your Nonprofit’s Email Welcome Message
Does your organization offer an email newsletter?
Imagine that a prospective supporter has learned about your organization, visited your website and been intrigued enough to sign up for your organization’s bi-weekly e-news. What comes next?
If you’ve set things up right, your new subscriber will receive a welcome email. Is this the kind of message they’ll receive?
Welcome to XYZ org. We are happy to have you as a member of our community. Your email address and interest preferences have been recorded in our database. In the future, you will receive periodic emails specific to your interests.
Privacy is important to us; therefore, we will not sell, rent, or give your name or address to anyone. At any point, you can select the link at the bottom of every email to unsubscribe.
It’s a little dry, no? It informs, but it doesn’t do much else.
Being the head of a small-shop development and marketing department with a staff of one (or fewer) means that you need to seize every possible opportunity for relationship-building. And your organization’s welcome message provides the prime opportunity to systematize—and humanize—the relationship-building process. It’s the first communication this person will receive from you, so naturally, you want to create a positive impression. Make it count!
If your welcome message is the standard, run-of-the-mill template your email service provider suggests, you’re missing out. And as a result, so are your peeps.
According to "The Rebel’s Guide to Email Marketing" by Jason Falls:
The answer is simple: The welcome email tends to have a much higher open rate compared to other emails in a campaign. In fact, according to some analysis done by the Experian CheetahMail Strategic Services Group, “Welcome emails generate four times the total open rates and five times the click rates compared to other bulk promotions.”
If you consider that the overall average email open rate is somewhere around 20 percent, this figure is impressive.
A welcome email is an ice-breaker that, if done right, can establish a long-term channel of communication between you and your prospective supporters. You won’t be able to start your email program off on the right foot without one. The welcome sets the stage and the tone for all of your subsequent emails.
And it’s a given: Communication is a crucial part of your identity. Your emails are just one aspect that conveys who you are to your supporters. Plus, failing to send a welcome email is akin to not thanking someone for a gift—it’s bad form, bad karma. And don’t forget: A welcome email can ramp up your fundraising and get people to spread the word, extending the channel of communication wider and further.
Your new subscriber has just taken the step of inviting you into his or her personal inbox. You totally need to take advantage of this awesome opportunity because it’s fate! Start off by giving him or her a warm and friendly welcome. And why not take it to the next level? Rather than a one-time welcome message, think outside the box and develop a three to five-part welcome kit auto-responder series.
Launching your auto-responder series, one that welcomes and inspires new signups via small requests, such as signing a petition, “liking” your organization on Facebook or watching a video, encourages consistency for the long haul.
Pamela Grow is the publisher of The Grow Report, the author of Simple Development Systems and the founder of Simple Development Systems: The Membership Program and Basics & More fundraising fundamentals e-courses. She has been helping small nonprofits raise dramatically more money for over 15 years, and was named one of the 50 Most Influential Fundraisers by Civil Society magazine, and one of the 40 Most Effective Fundraising Consultants by The Michael Chatman Giving Show.