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It's fiscal year end for many nonprofits. So I'm sure I'll be getting more of these this week.

Do you think I was too critical in my comments to this one from the Rotary Foundation?
Joseph Cole's profile photoMarc Pitman's profile photoStephan Hovnanian's profile photo
Not at all. If you're going to take the time to use your personalization and segmentation data, do it right, or don't bother doing it at all. "lazy" was definitely the right term
Phew thanks!

I know I'm not perfect. I just think they could've raised more by an easy segmenting. Way to easy to say, "Huh? I might have given? Cool." <hits delete>

Of course, that's assuming this was supposed to raise money. Perhaps that wasn't the goal. Perhaps they were just supposed to send an email... which I'd say, "you can never ' just send an email', there has to be purpose and strategy behind each campaign or it's a waste of everyone's time" #mytwocents
To which I'd say: Preach it!!
 I would like to see how they write their direct mail year end appeals...

It's unfortunate, but the immediacy and intangible quality of an email often leads the writer to apathy. In other words, because we're not going through all the trouble of writing, designing, printing, labeling, stuffing, mailing, paying postage, etc., it's easy to get lazy.

This is a huge lesson for anyone writing email fundraising campaigns or auto repsonders. Although the approach should be a bit different, the same fundraising principles for direct mail (e.g., donor research, list segmentation, storytelling, gratitude TO THE DONOR, etc.) should apply to emails.
+Joseph Cole well said. Question for you: do you think that subscribers would equate segmentation, personalization, triggered campaigns and all the other "higher level" email marketing techniques with the hard copy analogy you just made? In other words, will they recognize and appreciate the fact you're going that extra mile and therefore be more responsive to it than they would an org that just blasted out something?
+Stephan Hovnanian Absolutely! I'm sure +Marc Pitman would have appreciated the extra mile (At least that's what I'm inferring from the comments on the screenshot.). I know I would too.

One of the first things we feel when we read this email is "lazy." Even though we know that Rotarians aren't generally lazy, we can't dismiss the feeling we get from the content of this email. Typically, when an organization goes the extra mile, we experience feelings like "They really care about me." or "If they do this for me the donor, they must be doing something awesome for their beneficiaries."

Granted, these feelings may not reflect reality, but it is how we feel from the content we read. And for the donor reading through their inbox, all they have is perception to be their reality for that organization. It had better be a good perception.
Nice back and forth guys!

I'm not sure I would've felt all warm-and-fuzzy if they'd known I hadn't given. That's just baseline. Like getting a receipt at a store. But them not knowing is not good.

+Joseph Cole I too teach people to give as much thought to an email appeal as to a print appeal. I like the way you worded that!
+Marc Pitman +Joseph Cole  this has definitely been a great dialogue. Marc, would you be interested in guest-posting a recap of this for our website (+Shovi Websites)? We have a number of non-profit/religious clients who I'm constantly trying to get to be better email marketers; hearing insight like this from a pro could really help drive it home! We've done a couple interesting articles already about dropping dead weight from non-profit lists, using re-engagement techniques...this would fit right in!
Awesome!!! this week would be great, but it's up to you. Email me step at shovi dot com. Thanks!
Oy! I'm not sure. I have two book deadlines in July. Maybe third week in July?
third week in July is totally fine by me. I'm in no rush, most of my clients' fundraising campaigns start in the fall...the key benefit to having something like this to show them now versus then is to get them started on building better data sources.

+Joseph Cole what's the link? I'd love to check it out.
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