Sending out a “watch your mail box” email ahead of an annual appeal can boost your responses. Sending email follow-ups can also bring in some extra donations.
But how do you build an email list in the first place?
One address at a time.
Building an email list is slow going.
It’s like filling a bucket of water, one drop at a time.
But where do the drops come from? Here are 5 places to start.
Place an email sign-up form on all your main pages. Be sure to have a simple CTA to tell them why they’re signing up. “Sign-up for our e-newsletter” is ok. “Join our email list for monthly updates on <thing of great interest to your donors>” is better.
- “Want to know some of the great things your money goes to? Sign-up for our monthly e-news and find out.”
- “Sign up for heart-warming stories of <whatever you do> delivered to your inbox weekly.”
If you have a blog, encourage them to sign-up for e-alerts when you publish a new post (or a monthly round-up of your best content if you publish frequent posts.)
2. Offer them something they’ll want
Businesses do this all the time: “Sign-up for our free guide on blah blah blah.” They do it because it works. It may work for you too.
Your offer doesn’t even have to be directly relevant to your organization, as long as it’s of likely interest to your donors.
Maybe a cookbook curated by the staff?
Or a collection of your org’s success stories? Even if you have them already posted on your website, collecting them together and offering them in a downloadable format might be enough incentive to sign-up.
Whatever you decide to offer, it doesn’t have to be big, expensive, or time-consuming to put together. It just has to be interesting enough to prompt them to give you their email.
3. Social Media
You can write an occasional post giving them a reason to sign up for your email list, and then link to the sign-up form.
You can also have a sign-up form embedded in your Facebook page.
- For you Mailchimp users, here’s a link on how to do it.
- If you use Constant Contact, here’s a ‘how to’ video.
4. Include space for email addresses on all your reply devices.
Donors are already providing you other information. They may be willing to give you their email address as well.
Make sure your reply devices for direct mail and print newsletters have space for them to give you their email address.
Place a few email sign-up sheets strategically around your event. People will sign-up.
The key to building an email list is patience, and consistency. Keep collecting addresses and your list will grow.
That’s probably not the most exciting advice you’ve heard. It may not even be what you want to hear. But it’s the truth.
Fill the bucket, one drop at a time.