The most common reason nonprofits are hesitant to send multiple emails in December is fear of annoying donors. I get it. However, nonprofits who send 3 emails in December will be noticed–that is the point of sending these year-end solicitations emails, isn’t it?
Afraid of unsubscribes?
You will increase unsubscribes, but you shouldn’t let that stop you. While organizations, both for- and nonprofit use their list size as a success indicator, it’s time to look a little closer at those lists. I would suggest that it is better to have a smaller list of people who care instead of a larger list of peripheral folks who are always on the edge of unsubscribing.
The truth is, if they unsubscribe because you are asking for donations, they were not going to give a donation through your website anyway.
Side note: I know what you’re thinking, but they may give in the future and now we have no way of emailing them again. It’s highly unlikely that anyone on your list–including previous supporters–who unsubscribe would have donated to you again. That is, unless you create an engagement plan in effect that is far beyond 1, 2 or 3 year-end solicitation emails. (A plan to deepen the engagement of your list is a good idea for most nonprofits but that will have to wait for another blog post).
These easy un-subscribers may be friends of staff or board members, single event attendees from a few years back, or someone who thought you might be of interest down the line. You would have continued to send them emails (and/or snail mail) solicitations for years to come but really, they were lowering your rate of return. If they value your organization, they would appreciate your fundraising efforts, not easily unsubscribe.
What are those 3 emails you should still send this month?
- As I mentioned in a previous article on #GivingTuesday, 1/3rd of giving in December happens during the last 4 days so make sure you send at least one email during that time. Keep the email simple, offering a way to give before the year ends. This is a reminder for those already interested in giving, not an introduction or detailed update.
- Send one today or tomorrow with a variety of donation options and a clean, clear ask button. Some people wait until the end of the month, but as people consider their gifts for the year, you want to make sure you are top-of-mind. And make sure those donation options paint a picture for the prospect, i.e. “Your gift of $150 will help provide 50 kids with new books.”
- The third email should be sometime next week with an update of where you are in your year-end campaign, other ways to give like volunteering or in-kind donations, or a way to thank previous donors for their support. The donate button should be obvious (see the trend?) and the message should be simple, but this is more about increased visibility during this giving season.
So, don’t be afraid of the unsubscribes and keep sending those December emails! And let us know how it works out for you by replying to this email or via twitter @merskyjaffe