4 Spring Email Stewardship Strategies
Spring is right around the corner– the days are getting longer and the weather a little warmer. With a bucket full of new online donors from the holiday season (hopefully), now is the perfect time to brush up your email stewardship strategy.
Here are four tips for best practice email stewardship:
1. Show the impact: Your donors want to know how their money is being spent. Brainstorm with colleagues on how to better demonstrate the difference your organization is making in the world. Stories, pictures, infographics, videos – they’re all fair game. Are there unique angles of your day to day operation that haven’t been covered before? Are there unique jobs, tasks or people in your organization that should be showcased? Don’t just chat with your colleagues in the office, speak with volunteers, donors, partners, agencies, and speak with all types of people who are involved with your organization. This will give you inspiration and ideas for the next 12 months.
2. Benchmark against yourself: Review your email eCommunication stats from the last 12 months. What were your open rates? What were your click-through rates? What emails performed better than others? What emails had high unsubscribe rates? What subject lines worked best? Use this information to plan your communication for the next 12 months and set goals for better results. This, combined with your brainstorm session, will give you a strong idea of content that will resonate best with your donors.
3. Cross-promote: Most likely, you are heading into a busy events season. You don’t want to bombard new and existing donors with event invites and information. Consider a calendar throughout the summer months to showcase upcoming events and other ways donors can get involved. This ensures you are cross-promoting multiple ways of getting involved. Make upcoming event information available every time a donor opens an email, for example, by using a footer or sidebar. It’s a nice subtle way to ask for their participation. Maybe it’s time to look at a different set of stationary for the summer months with areas for cross promotion of all your different assets. This can reduce the volume of communication you send overall.
4. Technology: With an ever increasing amount of emails landing in your donors’ inboxes these days, it’s tremendously important that your communication is personalized and relevant to your donors. Segmenting and choosing communication based on donor type and interests will save you time and improve overall engagement. Many online communication platforms have built in segmentation and interest capabilities to ensure your constituents are getting the right communication. The right technology will let you automate your email communication by sending communication at certain intervals or based on certain events. For example, we see great success with email postcards that are automatically sent to people on the day of their birthday. As your email file continues to grow, it’s important to constantly review your segments and interest groups to ensure they’re evolving and growing accurately.
Bonus Tip: While email stewardship is inexpensive, effective and fast to execute, you should incorporate traditional stewardship too. Even for your online acquired donors, be sure you are sending offline welcome packets and newsletters and making thank you calls. All that great “offline” stewardship works well for your online audience too.