Harnessing the Power of Email

Here’s a fun fact…Over 200 billion emails are sent everyday and, on average, 120 of them land in your inbox each day. Everyone seems to want a piece of the pie, and people are being asked to make dozens if not hundreds of decisions about what to open, click, and act on every day.

For those of us involved in digital fundraising or advocacy, we have the daunting job of capturing the attention of our supporters and showing them what our organization has to offer.

On November 20th, Salsa took its FUSE conference on the road and hosted a one-day event in San Francisco. Our Client Manager, Adelaide Belk, led a session on email, “The Ultimate Digital Currency.” She covered all things email - including building your list, managing your list, and email optimization. Here are the key pieces of advice she provided, which apply to all nonprofits, large and small.

Keep on growing your list

More and more people are giving and taking action online year after year and email currently accounts for 1/3 of all online revenue. Bottom line - it’s not an area you can afford to ignore.

While this is exciting and promising - churn is real and it’s one of the biggest challenges we face with online engagement. Nonprofits churn through 13% of their list per year (!)- losing many supporters to unsubscribes or bounces. In order to beat this churn, an organization must constantly be seeking ways to grow their list in a smart, effective manner. The lifeblood of a nonprofit is the constant flow of new donors, advocates, volunteers, and members. Organizations are taking advantage of a number of powerful methods to reach new supporters such as paid acquisition (Change.org, Care2), cost-per-click advertising (Google Adwords, Facebook Ads), and organic signups (social media, website sign-up).

Maintain your list!

Maintain your list by keeping your network of supporters happy, interested, and engaged. Here are some tips to gradually and consciously move leads up the “ladder of engagement”:

  1. Segmentation: Create subsets of your supporter base using any data available. Check out more information from our previous post.
  2. Great content creation: Offer engaging and personalized stories and material that prompts people to take action and leaves them hungry for more.
  3. Testing: Test, test, and test again. Make your emails optimized for success by including at least one test in every email. Learn more in this webinar.
  4. Timing: Be prepared! Plan out your campaigns for the year by creating an engagement calendar to coordinate organization-wide communications.

Our session broke down the basics of how to effectively optimize your email strategy and messaging with a few examples from stellar organizations we’ve worked with. Save the Bay, for example, has done an impressive job of coordinating their list growth with their follow-up messaging and cultivation in a timely and engaging manner.

Save the Bay Sponsored Campaign:
Save the Bay subsequently reached out to their supporters including a fun, animated video on the #buttfreebay campaign and kept folks informed by sharing relevant press.

Many organizations like Save the Bay are dedicating time and resources to developing successful campaigns to reach passionate new supporters.

Check out the slideshare to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to actively grow and cultivate your email list. And keep us updated! How are you growing and maintaining your list? Share with us on Twitter @ChangeOrgs.


Want to learn more?