Internet Email Fundraising – Raise Funds Online With These Nine Email List Building Tips
The secret to raising funds online is not Facebook or Twitter or texting or even your website. It’s email. To raise money on the Internet you need the email addresses of folks who believe in your cause and want to see you in their inbox. Here are nine principles to follow in acquiring those addresses.
1. Only add subscribers to your list who have given you permission to email them.
2. Attract new subscribers by offering them regular, valuable content. Before anybody gives you their email address, they’ll want to know what’s in it for them. Tell them. They’ll get a weekly email newsletter, bulletins, alerts, updates or tips on how to manage their health. Offer valuable content in exchange for their email address.
3. Offer a tangible incentive, such as discount coupons or free admission to a special event.
4. Aim to get the email addresses of donors and non-donors, activists and non-activists, members and non-members. Advocates, volunteers, anonymous website visitors and any other non-donors who sign up for your newsletters are prime prospects for donations.
Don’t just concentrate on getting the email addresses for your donors. Try for anybody who could turn into an advocate, volunteer or future donor. The thing to remember is to just be patient. The nice thing about email is it doesn’t cost a lot of money to write to those people over time and encourage them to give a gift. So start off by trying to get the address rather than the donation.
5. Ask for as little information as possible to get their email address. You could simply ask for their email address alone – most of us would be horrified to do that. We’d at least like to know the name of the person. But when you start asking for their name, address, phone number, date of birth and social insurance number, you’re asking for trouble. Ask for as little as possible in order to get their address.
6. Make sure every single message you send to your list is helpful and relevant. Quality, relevant content is the easiest way to keep your subscribers subscribed and encourage them to refer you to others.
7. Don’t rent or borrow email addresses from anyone except the most reputable organizations and list companies in the industry. And, even then, exercise great caution because you don’t want to be branded as a spammer. It’ll put you on the blacklist for a long time and once you’re on, it’s hard to get off. If you’re on a blacklist, obviously you can’t do any email fundraising.
8. When you ask for someone’s email address, describe what you’ll send them and how often you’ll send it. You could even say, “You’ll be hearing from us every Friday,” or “You’ll get our Monday morning bulletin.” Let them know either how often or when they’ll be hearing from you so they’re not surprised.
9. Give your subscribers an easy way to opt out. Make it really simple for them to tell you they don’t want to hear from you anymore. There’s no point building a huge list of subscribers if they simply delete your messages or flag them as spam. I subscribe to a newsletter right here in Canada sent by one of Canada’s largest fundraising newsletter publishers and there’s no way to unsubscribe from it. I have to phone them or visit their website. Nowhere in the emails does it tell you how you can stop hearing from these people. You don’t want to be in that position. People will think you’re trying to make it hard for them to unsubscribe and you’ll spread ill will that way.
Online Fundraising Secrets by Alan Sharpe.