Where Would Sustainers Be Without Email?
Last week, I traveled to Europe to present a training on sustainers for an international group based in the Netherlands. Socially distanced and masked, of course, as the rules and lockdowns are even stricter than they are on Cape Cod. The good news is that I was able to visit my 86-year-old mom as well, and I spent some time with my family.
During the sustainer training, a couple of things we spent quite a bit of time on was:
- The best ways to bring in new sustainers via email and social media.
- The importance of using all channels to keep sustainers engaged and keep them giving.
Generating sustainers via email was already big after the previous election, and it really helped grow sustainers since then. Now during COVID-19, it increased even more.
Email has become an incredible powerhouse for sustainer acquisition, cultivation, stewardship, retention, upgrading and extra gifts.
Email can be quick and urgent. It can play into something that just happened (it’s newsy). It can be short and sweet. Personal. Long. Engaging. Grateful.
Email can have headers, pictures or just plain text, buttons and/or underlined links. It can include videos. You can alternate using multiple signers. You can send follow-ups to non-opens. You can send targeted emails.
There is literally no end to the flexibility of email fundraising. You may just have to do more of it.
I still see nonprofits that send two emails a month, some send four emails a month, some send two emails a week. And then some send a few emails a day. It’s all over the map. Those nonprofits that send more a week have found that it works. People respond. People sign petitions. People respond to quizzes. People watch videos. People take action. People make donations. People make recurring gifts.
If you tell a good story and appeal to donors to help in any way they can, donors will respond, even with a monthly gift! But you must make it easy for them — provide a direct link to the monthly giving payment option, and you have to tell them that you’d like donors to give monthly.
Start with one extra button. Start with one extra email. What’s the worst that can happen? You get some donations and generate some monthly gifts? Then repeat and repeat again.
That’s how you grow your fundraising. That’s how you grow your monthly gifts.
Erica Waasdorp is one of the leading experts on monthly giving. She is the president of A Direct Solution, a company serving nonprofit organizations with fundraising and direct marketing needs, with a focus on monthly giving and appeals. She authored "Monthly Giving: The Sleeping Giant" and "Monthly Giving Made Easy." She regularly blogs and presents on fundraising, appeals and monthly giving — in person and through webinars. She is happy to answer any questions you may have about this great way of improving retention rates for your donors.
Erica has over 30 years of experience in nonprofits and direct response. She helped the nonprofits she works with raise millions of dollars through monthly giving programs. She is also very actively supports organizations with annual fund planning and execution, ranging from copywriting, creative, lists, print and mail execution.
When she’s not working or writing, Erica can be found on the golf course (she’s a straight shooter) or quietly reading a book. And if there’s an event with a live band, she and her husband, Patrick, can be found on the dance floor. She also loves watching British drama on PBS. Erica and Patrick have two step sons and a cat, Mientje.