It’s pretty simple. The more email you send, the more money you’ll raise.
When some big fundraising opportunity presents itself (a poll breaks, your opponent says something bonkers, Hillary announces she’s running for president), capitalize! Don’t send just one email — send several. Remember, if you’re rocking a solid 20% open rate, that means 80% of your list missed the news the first time around. The more messages you send, the larger audience you’ll reach.
While supporters will continue to donate to an old email for ages (there’s always that one person who mystifyingly gives to an ActBlue page you made in March two years ago), response rates will taper off after just a few hours. The simplest way to capitalize on those who missed your first message or didn’t feel compelled to give? Send another email that will be kicked to the top of their inbox. And don’t be fooled — sending a second or a third email on same message doesn’t mean you’re “taking money away” from the first email. You’re bringing in a whole new cycle of donations that you just weren’t going to get from one email alone.
So, yeah, secret’s out. More email = more money. But the game’s not over quite yet.
End-of-quarter deadlines are the busiest time for inboxes. During June end of quarter, I got as many fundraising emails as I did in October 2014, if not more. By my count, I got over 600 emails in just the last 3 days of Q2 — and we’re 18 months out from Election Day. That’s insanity!
Many of these messages feel the same:
- “I hate to say it, but our deadline is just hours away and we’re still $XX short of our goal.”
- “Have I mentioned shady special interest groups and dangerous big money super PACs and the Koch brothers and Citizens United and democracy is over?”
- “I am literally sitting on the floor weeping because we’re losing and Donald Trump is winning and nothing even matters unless we get just two more Democrats in 20010 to give $5 in the next 10 minutes.”
I’m guilty of writing emails like this because they’re quick and they work.
But when our supporters are being bombarded with so many messages that sound the same, it’s hard to get your emails to stand out. Open rates go down, response rates plummet, and we find ourselves having to send three emails to raise what we used to raise in just one.
By sending more email, everybody wins! But also everybody loses.
When it comes down to it, you’ve got to know your list and your goals. Is Election Day 3 months away and you need to raise as much money as possible, with no regards for long-term list health? Great, send 10 emails a day and thank your supporters for making an important financial investment at this critical time. Are you a non-profit that hopes to exist for the next two decades and build a coalition of sustaining donors who make biannual recurring donations? Awesome, cool your jets a bit and focus your attention on how to lay out a persuasive argument for how giving will help your organization grow and do amazing things for people or trees or wolves, etc. When possible, try to not fall trap to the EOQ Madlib messaging, come up with some deadlines that are unique to your organization so you won’t be battling for inbox space, and figure out the unique message that resonates with your list to set your email program apart from the hundreds of others.
And at the end of the day if you really just need to bring cash in the door, remember that more is more.