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  Enewsletters - Alan Sharpe Potpourri

Canadian FundRaiserChallenge - get those e-newsletters open ... just like snail mail

One of the greatest challenges in eMail fundraising is poor open rates. The majority of donors who subscribe to eMail donor newsletters receive them but never open them. If you track your open rates, you likely already know that roughly 36% of your subscribers open your eMails. That means a whopping 64% of your eMail appeals and eMail donor newsletters either languish in inboxes unread, get deleted by overzealous index fingers, or never appear in donor inboxes because spam filters catch them first.

Improve your open rates today using these proven methods.

1. Put yourself in the From line.

Put the name of your organization in the From line. Readers will see immediately that your eMail is from someone they trust. Some examples:

From: Amnesty International USA , alerts@takeaction.amnestyusa.org

From: Coalition to Stop Gun Violence <action@action.csgv.org

From: MADD Online enews@madd.org 

If you use an eMail service provider, such as Constant Contact or GetActive, do not use them in the From line. Greenpeace Canada, for example, sends its eMail donor newsletter using this From line: ems@thindataworks.com.

Your donors and members Ė and their spam filters Ė will not recognize a sender like that, and may inadvertently delete the valuable eMail fundraising newsletters they want to receive from you.

2. Put your reader in the To line.

Show your reader who the eMail newsletter is for by putting your donorís name and eMail address in the To line. Donít leave this line blank. Thatís what spammers do, and you donít want to be mistaken for a spammer. I have in my inbox, for example, an eMail that looks like this at the top:

From: Ontario March Of Dimes info@dimes.on.ca
Subject: Ontario March of Dimes Summer Online Auction
Date: Fri, 21 Jul 2006 10:54:18 -0400
Encoded attachment: image001.jpg

As you can imagine, I thought this eMail was spam, not a message from a charity that I respect. It wasnít addressed to me. And it contained an eMail attachment. Any eMail message from your organization that looks as though it is for nobody in particular or everyone in general will quickly end up in the trash box.

Specify recipient

Another mistake to avoid is putting the sender in the To line, like this:

From: ABC Charity info@abc.org
Subject: Summer Online Auction
To: info@abc.org 

This infuriates many of your donors, and me, too. Your donors and members, especially if they share a family computer, need to know who your eMail is for. And they also need to know under which eMail address they are subscribed to your newsletter. They likely have more than one eMail address. Few tasks are as infuriating for donors as asking a nonprofit organization to be removed from their mailing list but not being able to tell them which address you are using.

If youíd like to see a donor newsletter that gets all of these things right, review this example from Mothers Against Drunk Driving, at www.RaiserSharpe.com/z/madd.htm.

For further information: Alan Sharpe, President, Raiser Sharpe, 38 Wethered St., London ON N5Y 1G9, 877/742-7732, alan@sharpecopy.com, www.raisersharpe.com.

Canadian FundRaiser
Canadian FundRaiserSince 1991, the Canadian FundRaiserô newsletter has been updating nonprofit managers twice-monthly on news, trends, tips and analysis of developments in the fields of fundraising and nonprofit management.

Our service, originally simply a twice-monthly newsletter, has expanded over the years to include workshops, books, back-issue search and Special Advisories for our member/subscribers. And the complete package is now the Canadian FundRaiserô Nonprofit Sector Management Information Service.

Current Members can search back issues here, renew their Membership, or correct their address information in our secure files.

Through the generous support of a number of Supporting Sponsors, at the head of them our Lead Sponsor, UNxVision Internet Fundraising Solutions, we have avoided price increases for many years, and been able to provide some services at no cost.

Please take a look at the current issue of Canadian FundRaiserô eNews, and if you havenít done so already, sign up ≠ at no cost ≠ to receive future issues. Visit our Key-To-The-Sector Workshop Centre. Ask about Advertising & Sponsorship opportunities. Or send us an article suggestion. Weíre waiting to hear from you.

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