Mon, July 18 2011

Email: More is okay and works well - if it’s good

Katya Andresen's avatar

Author, Robin Hood Marketing

Filed under:   Fundraising essentials •

A common question I get is: “How often should I email my supporters?”

It’s hard to answer, because it depends on the quality of what you’re sending - and to whom you’re sending it.

If you send wonderful messages to a highly engaged community, many messages can be a good thing.

If you send awful, endless spam to people who don’t really value you, that’s another story.

Some new data from M+R shows the first scenario shows great fundraising results, even at high volumes of messages.  The latter doesn’t work so well.

According to the eBenchmarks extras they’ve released, a study of forty nonprofits shows:

We saw no correlation between email volume and fundraising response rates. Organizations that send a lot of fundraising appeals have roughly the same response rates as organizations that don’t. There are many reasons why some emails perform better than others – but it doesn’t appear that message volume is one of them.

Our theory? The quality of the emails you send, and the list you’re sending them to matter far more than anything else. So if you’re consistently sending high quality emails, sending more of them might not be a bad idea! 

We also found that groups with high unsubscribe rates also had high fundraising response rates.  Why? Groups that have active supporters – who open and read their emails – tend to have high fundraising response rates. But the people who are paying attention to you are also the most likely to be upset about something that you said.

Groups with active lists are also likely to be doing a lot of recruitment to fight list churn and grow their base of supporters. We’ve found that new subscribers are very active – but for every fired-up new donor you convert, there’s a new subscriber who just isn’t that into you. Maybe they were confused about your mission when they signed up. Maybe they can’t even remember how they signed up for your list.

So if you see a spike in unsubscribes after a big recruitment campaign, don’t let it get you down – it’s all part of having a fresh, active, engaged list!



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