I think there is a collective groan from fundraising professionals and donors alike at the sound of email solicitations and notifications. For non-profit professionals, email communication never seems to be as effective as it should be. And for many donors, these emails just clutter their inboxes. Solicitations should be centered on the donor and allow them to see how they would contribute to the mission of an organization. Though a solicitation letter should be a way to communicate to the donor what the organization is doing, it should also highlight that these changes are only possible through donations like theirs. In reality, it is an invitation to join in on the changes being made.
One thing we want to focus on during this year’s World Relief Campaign is more effective outreach and publicity, especially through greater communication with our donors. Even for SALT’s campaign, I think email solicitation letters and online newsletters are great tools to keep people interested and informed about our campaign. In the past, the largest group of new donors we acquire each year are parents, grandparents, and other family members of current SALTers. Though this is an effective strategy in terms of fundraising, these donors usually only support the campaign while their SALTer is still involved in the organization. With this high turnover rate, I think using a monthly newsletter could be an effective strategy to communicate campaign progress and publicize information about our upcoming WRC events to a wider audience.
This list from The NonProfit Times offers some really great ideas about how to make email communication more relevant and effective. Mike Snusz from Blackbaud identifies some ways that use email communication to build a stronger, more lasting relationship with donors without being a nuisance or getting sent to the spam folder.