Email Marketing Implementation Strategy for Charities

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There is no question that digital messaging affords huge opportunities for charities, just last year The Red Cross raised in excess of $30 million via mobile. Over the christmas period experiential marketing agency Switch raised in excess of $16,000 in one email campaign for a small charity in St. Louis and as we come to the end of the tax year in the UK we will find many charitable organisations ramping up their efforts to capitalise on the tax breaks available to donors.

In this blog I’m drawing on my own experiences with the popular ‘Sponsor a child’ or ‘Sponsor an animal’ charity campaigns so I can highlight why email marketing is key factor in the potential success of such charity campaigns both now and in the future.

Cut back on the collateral

A very popular way of donating to charity is to adopt and sponsor an animal or child through the charity and pay monthly or yearly for it.

For about six months I was sponsoring an Orang-utan through a well know charity. I believe that everyone who sponsored one sponsored the same one as far as the marketing collateral was concerned. It was the collateral that was the problem and why I stopped it.

Every month I was getting a high quality A5 card folder full of paperwork and photos about this Orang-utan. I know from working in print for a little while that the materials they would post me cost almost double what I was donating! If the quantity was in the millions maybe they’d draw even but it would cost a lot of trees, so my money did nothing and I stopped it and told them why. They were quick to write back once the DD stopped but no reply to the email I sent asking to opt-out of postal stuff.

Email marketing could have saved the day!

Now if I had more control of the communication and the charity was able to better show value to me, by using an email marketing solution, I’d still be donating now. It’s not even hard to implement either. In fact once up and running, an online preference centre would be better. Also the email could tuck into the transactional category especially if the donator is paying monthly.  And we all know transactional emails get better results!

At the very least, when someone signs up to a sponsorship: yearly, monthly or a one off; all you need to do is add them to a list for whatever they sponsor and send them a monthly email. It is cheaper than posting direct mail that may or may not get recycled. Also once online, it is far easier to share it.

If someone gets a new picture of their Orang-utan that is particularly cute, they might be inclined to share it on Facebook, Twitter as well as other social networking sites so their friends can see it.  Moreover if the charity itself achieves something especially remarkable –  sponsors, or anyone else for that matter, might feel proud to be a part of it.  For example, a long term campaign for the charity finally finishing that school in Africa with picture of all of those kids safe and happy – that’s viral content right there!

Get it to the subscribers and the likelihood is that they will spread the word for you!

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Andrew Bonar

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