The key to online fundraising success is growing your campaign’s email list. The bigger your email list is, the more money you will raise. That’s the only secret there is. Email is the main channel for reaching your supporters and converting them into donors.
Campaigns that are serious about online fundraising commit budgets to growing their email lists. The most effective method is to use issue petitions, surveys, and giveaways to capture email addresses.
Here are tactics and strategies your campaign can use to grow its email list at any budget level.
Sometimes your campaign simply doesn’t have the resources to list build or decision makers are skeptical about online fundraising. You can still grow your email list!
Include links to issue petitions and surveys in your regular social media posts. The more relevant and timely the topics are, the better because they’ll get more organic reach. Without an advertising budget, however, you’ll also need to be more aggressive. This includes sending one-on-one invitations to supporters who send direct messages or comment on posts.
With an entry-level budget of $500 per month, your campaign can do some basic promotion and start to experiment with what works for your audience. Save these funds for a moment when there’s a relevant topic in the news in your state or region. Then, pay to promote a petition or survey on Facebook to followers of your page and conservatives in your district.
A brief, seven day campaign will give you enough time for Facebook to optimize your spend and show the ads with enough frequency to get results.
At $2,000 per month, you’ll be able to promote petitions and surveys with Facebook on a continuous basis. The longer you run, the better Facebook’s optimization tools will work. When you see the cost per acquisition for new emails start to creep up, it’s time to try a new topic for the petition or survey.
Similarly, when a new issue enters the mainstream narrative, test out new petition or survey creative around that topic.
When you’re able to commit $5,000 per month to list building, in addition to expanding your always-on Facebook promotion, you should add peer to peer (P2P texting) as a channel to recruit new donors and generate leads.
With P2P texting, you can reach known previous donors and grassroots activists directly.
Campaigns that spend $10,000 per month or more on list building are all-in on digital fundraising. This additional budget brings email list rentals onto the table. You can work with your digital fundraising agency to find list brokers that may offer you a revenue sharing deal, no-risk rentals, or standard rentals.
With a compelling message or well-known surrogate, your fundraising email to a rented list will reach even more known donors. Any donors or signups you recruit from the rental are now a part of your house file.
If these budgets seem out of reach to you, don’t worry. Start where you can. The most important thing is that you start.
Establishing baselines and benchmarks now ensures that you know what works when budgets do increase. Similarly, if you’re looking to grow your budget, the most persuasive evidence is a track record of performance.