Raise More By Avoiding “One Size Fits All” Email Appeals | npENGAGE

Raise More By Avoiding “One Size Fits All” Email Appeals

By on Nov 29, 2011


Personalize Your Email Appeals

Personalize Your Email AppealsEver buy something that’s “one size fits all?” Maybe a hat or pair of gloves?

It usually doesn’t work out so well.

The same is true with your holiday email appeals.

While nonprofits often deliver highly relevant content in direct mail appeals – based on giving history, interests and past actions – that approach isn’t always carried over to their email appeals.

Delivering relevant content to your audiences, though, can significantly increase email click-through rates. *

So, utilize all that great information in your database to deliver the right email message to the right audience.  Said another way – what works offline also works online.

Examples and practical tips to live by

Several of our Blackbaud nonprofit customers have recently had incredible success using a personalized approach to email:

1) An animal rights organization doubled click-through ratesby personalizing an event email invitation with:

  • The last year people attended
  • How much the event raised that year

2) A medical foundation exceeded their fundraising goals and averaged over $1,000 per gift when they personalized their email appeal by:

  • Thanking people for last year’s gift (in the headline and first paragraph)
  • Including last year’s gift amount
  • Including how last year’s donations were used

3) A university found their newsletter open rates increased by 7-12% when they personalized the first story within a newsletter to different audiences.

What if I don’t have the data?

You may be wondering “How can I ask personalize our email if we only have someone’s email address?”

My answer would be start finding out more. Ask for interests during the email signup process. Give current subscribers the opportunity to tell you what they like. Capture more info during event registrations. The point is to get creative in how you capture info about your supporters.

Analyze the stats of previous emails. For example, if you’ve sent an email alert on lung cancer research, recipients who clicked-through that message may be interested in lung cancer funding opportunities in your next email appeal.

When making a hard ask

When asking for donations, include funding opportunities that match your constituents’ interests. If you’re asking for unrestricted donations, position your ask in a way that speaks to their interests.

Your constituents will likely only take a few seconds to decide whether to hit “Delete” or keep reading. Relevant content may be what catches their attention, establishes a connection and keeps them reading.

Personalize or die

If you’re not delivering personalized content, your email could negatively impact your relationships. Send too many “one size fits all” emails and you risk decreased interest, lower attention levels and, ultimately, less engaged constituents.

*MailerMailer’s 2010 Email Marketing Metrics Report, MarketingSherpa “Email Marketing Benchmark Guide” 2008.



Mike Snusz brings 18 years of fundraising experience to his role as a Senior Team Lead on Blackbaud’s Professional Services team. He leads a team of digital consultants and works with nonprofits to improve their digital fundraising, monthly giving, email marketing and peer-to-peer fundraising programs. Prior to Blackbaud, Mike managed the turnaround of the Ride For Roswell from 2003 to 2005 in his hometown of Buffalo, NY. When he’s not contemplating fundraising, Mike enjoys hide and seek, tag, and dance parties with his two kids.

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