Standing Out From the Email Crowd

Early returns on end-of-year giving suggest numbers are, well, mixed.

As always, there are winners and losers. #GivingTuesday fundraising totals look stronger than ever, while online giving for the end of December is looking light (according to this preliminary report from M+R).

One of the chief concerns around online giving in December (and well beyond December) is the deliverability of email. Email has been the top source for online revenue since we started tracking online revenue numbers. So what now, if email is losing its ability to grab donors and dollars?

The first place many nonprofits turn is volume. While listening to the vocal (and often ill-informed) minority complain about receiving too much email, many fundraisers believe less is more with email.

But that’s probably not true. The problem is not that your nonprofit sends too much email - it's that every other nonprofit sends a ton of email and your nonprofit doesn't have a plan for standing out from the crowd.

So how do you stand out? Well, consider a 2015 study from Blackbaud’s TeamRaiser platform that discovered the following -

  • Emails from a known source (a person who you are familiar with) have a staggering 25 percent gift conversion rate

  • If you remove the known sender and instead use the organization’s name, that conversion rate tumbles to a miserly .08 percent

In other words, emails sent from known senders are 312 times more effective at securing a gift than the exact same email, when the email is sent from an organizational email account (JohnMyfriend@gmail.com v. SaveBigWhales@SaveBigWhales.org, for example)

The vast chasm between the conversion rates of emails sent from a known sender versus those sent by an org makes you wonder - why would we ever send emails from anything other than a known sender?

Well, at Groundwork, we think you should only be sending from known senders. And we have a strategy to ensure you can do that …while also generating tremendously engaging content for all your social media channels.

Introducing the “Student Content Team” (or volunteer content team for all nonprofits that don’t work with a student body). Think of the Student Content Team as the modern version of the phone program. Instead of connecting supporters with student callers over the phone, this new approach builds student personalities via video, email, and social media. The objective is creating a handful of well-known student personalities. So, when you send an email, you send from those well-known students. Since the email recipients recognize the students by name - because the students achieve a micro-celebrity status as Student Content Team stars - the emails are far more likely to be opened and clicked through.

Sound interesting? We think so. And we’ll be talking about this strategy in far more detail during our webinar on Thursday, January 17 at 2pm ET/11am PT.

Click the button below to register for our free “Multi-channel Fundraising to Engage the Modern Donor” webinar…