What Kate Spade and a Dog Named Sarah Can Teach Us about Giving Tuesday Emails | npENGAGE

What Kate Spade and a Dog Named Sarah Can Teach Us about Giving Tuesday Emails

By on Dec 9, 2014


Email marketing lessons from a dog named sarah

Kudos to everyone getting on board with #GivingTuesday!  I loved seeing all the activity last week.  As a member of the nonprofit community, much like yourselves, I’m on a several different mailing lists and received a fair share of #GivingTuesday emails.

Some #GivingTuesday emails captured my attention more than others.

My favorite email came from the Maryland SPCA.

I received an email in the morning from the Maryland SPCA, and I must admit that I didn’t open it.  Not because I was interested in their message, but I was busy in meetings.  I received another email from the Maryland SPCA at 5:21pm – this one I opened.

Why did I decide to open it?

1.  The subject line drew me in: #GivingTuesday Update from Sarah.  I was curious.

2. I was ready to open the email.  I was closing out my workday and I was ready to consume their message.

What was so great about it?

When I opened the email, I pleasantly surprised to learn Sarah wasn’t a person. Sarah was a dog looking for a home. Besides the surprise from Sarah, the content of the email was great and included stats about their #GivingTuesday efforts: number of donors, participating states, furthest state to donate and number of #MDSPCAselfies. They also let me know there was still time to donate.

And Sarah wasn’t scared to contact me more than once.

I didn’t receive two emails from the MDSPCA on Tuesday – I received three.  One at noon, another at 5pm and one last email at 9pm. But, the emails didn’t end on Tuesday. On Wednesday, I received their #GivingTuesday thank-you emails.  In total 4 emails.

gt email

gt email 2


It was more than an email. It was a thoughtful campaign.

My reason for sharing the Maryland SPCA’s efforts – isn’t so we all copy what they did and do it ourselves next year.  If we copy other organizations’ work it won’t stand out—it will no longer be unique and special.  Instead, my reason for highlighting their Giving Tuesday emails is to show that it was a campaign.  It was a thoughtful effort. Each email was different and they weren’t scared to send more than one email to the same person on one day.

Here’s the thing: I love Kate Spade—she’s my girl and makes a great bag—but what I really love most about Kate are her sales.  On CyberMonday Kate emailed me twice letting me know everything was 30% off.  She emailed me another two times to let me know the sale had been extended to Wednesday. In total, Kate emailed me seven times in connection with CyberMonday.  I opened all of them.

The Kate Spade takeaway:

Retailers are not shy. They’re not scared to email consumers multiple times a day.  We’re busy people with short attention spans; we need reminders.  As you go off to build your next campaign, be thoughtful with your efforts. Keep in mind it’s not the number of emails you send that’s important. It’s the relevant content—it’s the information you’re sending that’s important.

When deciding to send to or not to send the email, always ask yourself this question: Is this something my supporters will care about? 

If the answer is yes, hit send.


Amy Braiterman, principal strategy consultant at Blackbaud, supports customers with their peer-to-peer fundraising events with a process she refers to as “data-driven strategy.” Amy’s data driven strategy analyzes how effective event participants are using online fundraising tools and takes those results to develop an event fundraising plan. Prior to joining Blackbaud, Amy earned her fundraising stripes managing events for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Alzheimer’s Association and Share Our Strength. She shares her fundraising know how here on npENGAGE, by hosting educational webinars and speaking at customer conferences

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