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More Email Equals Higher Donor Retention

Want to increase your retention? Email your donors MUCH more frequently.

Seriously. Data says so.

A M+R Benchmark study of 4,699,299,330 email messages and 11,958,385 donations tells us that EVERY additional fundraising message per subscriber was related to 0.2% increase in overall donor retention for the year. And there were no signs of that correlation dissipating as the emails increased. The formula looks simple: more emails = more retention.

Of course, while I don’t have data to prove this, it stands to reason that emailing your donor database every day with a subject line and body that basically says “Give again today!” will not lead to better retention. (Just a hunch)

So how do you develop a high-frequency email program that does encourage higher donor retention? As with anything, content counts. Here is what Groundwork recommends…

Treat email as a gateway, not a final destination

Assume people are checking and not reading email. Keep you emails short, succinct, and to the point. Link out of the email to your website where great content (preferably video) awaits the reader. Include only one call to action and highlight that CTA in bold with the hyperlink to your website. In most cases, we want an email to grab someone’s attention and send them to an online destination where they can “learn more,” “sign up,” or “give today!”

Key to this approach is producing great content for your website(s) and gift form(s). Investing in powerful video content is one of the most important moves a nonprofit fundraising organization can make. The relationship between high email volume and increased retention is just one of the many reasons why content is critical.

Always Be (A/B, get it?) Testing

A/B test to no end. The “gateway not a destination” recommendation I just gave above? Test it. Try long form emails with group A and three-sentence emails with group B.

But to bring this back to retention, conduct a year-long email retention test. Send donor group A your current planned frequency of email and then send donor group B three times that number. Do your best to provide quality content and keep the solicitation ratio equal across both groups. (Group A gets 4 soliciations and 8 impact of giving emails, group B gets 12 solicitations and 24 impact of giving emails) Which group retains better after 12 months of this approach? Everything can be A/B tested including this high email volume = better retention theory.

Thoughts? Is dramatically increasing email frequency a tough pill to swallow? We would love to hear from those who have experimented with email frequency in the comments below!

HOW TO Build Multi-channel Fundraising Campaigns

Whether a giving day, end-of-calendar-year campaign, #GivingTuesday, spring appeal ...whatever the cause for the solicitation, TRUE multi-channel fundraising campaigns are proven to significantly increase fundraising outcomes. (Online and offline)

So what is a "true multi-channel campaign?" We explain in the video below. Just click to watch... *NOTE: the content starts at the 2:10 mark. (There is nothing wrong with your audio!)

Do you want an expert leading your multi-channel fundraising strategy? Groundwork Digital offers packages to align and modernize your fundraising efforts across social media, email, direct mail, and phone. Click here to send us an email for more information. 

Introducing Groundwork Digital

Welcome to Groundwork Digital! We are a strategic consultancy serving nonprofit organizations and institutions. We use digital (online, social media, and video primarily) to help your development operation:

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  • Acquire new donors.
  • Retain current donors.
  • Rethink stewardship, especially of online-acquired donors.
  • Engage new, previously undiscovered segments of major donors.
  • Build a truly multi-channel approach to fundraising.

More than half the planet’s population is online. Two thirds of North America is active on social media. New donors are spending hours online everyday and waiting to be engaged on those platforms. Our firm is focused on strategies and technology that connects you to those future donors and engages them in a way that is meaningful (and data-backed).

For example, did you know online ambassadors can be more powerful for the major gift program than they are for the annual fund? Check out the video below with Co-Founder Justin Ware to see how:

When it comes to acquisition of new donors, giving days and crowdfunding have been the hottest new trends for many years now. And you can’t find a team with more giving day and crowdfunding program experience than Groundwork Digital.

But perhaps more importantly, how do you retain all these unique, first-time online donors? Our team is especially well equipped to help you answer these difficult retention questions as well. Have a look at the following video with Co-Founder Rosa Conrad for more on how we support modern stewardship:

Groundwork Digital’s team has:

  • Co-led the planning for more than three dozen online giving days.
  • Helped establish hundreds of crowdfunding projects.
  • Built more than a dozen successful online ambassador programs.
  • Worked with clients to produce major donor-engaging digital strategies that elevate cultivation, stewardship, and solicitation.

Keep your eyes open for more posts like this with tips and tactics on engaging donors at every level using modern media. To be sure you don’t miss any updates, follow us on…

And always feel free to email us at info@groundworkdigital.com.

We can’t wait to start brainstorming and reinventing philanthropy with you!