Emailing vs. Mailing for Nonprofits

May 28, 2013 | Author: MJ Pedone

To mail or to email is the question I’m often asked by many of my clients. Does email fundraising work and is it as effective as mailing a letter or calling a potential donor? With the world turning social, do you think most people read their emails or do they look at the subject line and hit delete because of the amount of daily emails which can be at times, overwhelming? I also hear from clients how they are trying to abide by the “green” movement and they don’t subscribe to the mail system as well as the expense these days.  I must admit, I’m guilty at times when I come home from work and after reading and responding to hundreds of emails a day, I will pull out the bills and throw the rest away without opening.  This is definitely a waste of paper and money for the sender.

So in my opinion, nonprofits should save the money and email their lists and in fact, this makes it easier to follow-up then when mailing a letter.  With that said, I feel that every organization should group their mailing lists and personalize the letters that they are sending out.  Adding the personal touch, doesn’t reek of mass mailing and although quite time consuming, the end result should be reflective of your hard work. 

Here are my thoughts on how you should break down your email target lists:

#1 Master Donor List:                                                                            

This list should include all of your past and present donors.  They are definitely the ones that are interested in your cause and will likely respond or at the very least, read your email. These letters should include a thank you in the body of the email as well as letting them know where their money was designated to i.e. certain project or program.

#2 House List:

This list should include your emailing list.  The people who sign up for your newsletters, people who attend your events, friends, clients and social media followers. This list should be kept active and current on organizational happenings.

#3 Prospecting List:

Prospecting lists are lists in which you purchase which can include donors who give to other organizations, business owners and philanthropists.  This list should receive a comprehensive marketing kit on the organization that should include press clippings and success stories of the great work your organization is doing for others who need support. They should be encouraged to come in for a meet and greet with the board members and the Executive Director. This is a great way to introduce the foundation as well as the team that is behind the mission.

Your mailing lists should be treated with respect and you shouldn’t over-solicit your donors or potential donors by sending a letter four times a month asking for donations. You should send newsletters, updates, thank you letters and holiday postcards to let your donors know that you appreciate their support.  So whether you choose to mail or email, remember to speak from the heart and treat your lists with respect.

As always, I welcome any comments and if you like what you read, be social and share.

-MJ Pedone

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