Does this sound familiar? You’re investing in email list building and growing an online fundraising program, but you aren’t seeing the results you expect. It’s a conversation I seem to have with a campaign or organization at least once a week.
In order for this conversation to be worthwhile, it’s important to have clearly articulated goals and expectations for your online fundraising program. That could be growth in donors, return on investment, or a total number raised, but it must be specific.
If you have a reasonable, measurable goal, but still aren’t seeing results, here are the things you should look at to troubleshoot your online fundraising program.
Are You Focusing On A Single Call To Action?
The average email subscriber spends just thirteen seconds reading an email – if they even open it. The more options you give a supporter to choose from, the longer it will take them to decide. In order to get them to take action, provide them with a single call to action.
If it’s donations you want, your email needs to have one “donate now” call to action repeated multiple times. Don’t link to your Facebook page or your YouTube video or a local news article. Adding more than one call to action in an email is self-sabotage.
Are You Sending Emails Frequently Enough?
Online fundraising is a number game. You need to reach supporters in their inboxes at the right moment. Sending on different days and at different times is the best way to maximize this opportunity.
The easiest way to do this is through resending your emails with an updated subject line to subscribers who didn’t open or click the first time. Most organizations will still be seeing results by their third send to the same segment of the list.
Are You Segmenting Your List?
There are lots of different types of supporters on your email list: volunteers, voters, out-of-state supporters, major donors, journalists, and more. So approaching your “email list” as a monolith that should always get the same content doesn’t make sense.
Focus your fundraising efforts on subscribers most likely to donate online. That starts by applying an “active screen” which is a segment of subscribers who have recently opened an email. Most email marketing platforms like MailChimp or SendGrid make this task very simple.
If the email performs well with your most active subscribers, then send it to those who aren’t as active.
Is Email Authentication In Place?
Today, campaigners need to have some technical infrastructure in place that isn’t automatically a part of your email marketing software. These are SPF, DKIM, and DMARC records. Click here to learn more about them and how to set them up.
Are You List Building From Likely Donors?
Most list building is done via Facebook ads where the emphasis is on a low cost per acquisition (new email address), but that doesn’t mean that’s the right target for your online fundraising program. It’s worth paying more to target known donors via P2P texting or using known donor audiences for Facebook ads.
If, after you’ve tried all of these steps, you’re still not seeing the results you expect, it’s time to reconsider your campaign’s message and the content of your emails. However, most of online fundraising is simply tactical and any candidate can build a successful online fundraising program.