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  E-Mail Solicitation Analysis Web Sightings

There are certainly some challenges in e-solicitation analysis.

Our fundraising databases, mass emailing programs, and web site statistics are not well integrated and data must be pulled from all of these areas.

We can measure the amount of clicks and click through rates on the pieces, but you will always have to make inferences about the actual amount of the giving related to the solicitation.

As an aside, you should have the email contain a link to the solicitation on your web site to isolate email performance from web site performance. This gives you measurable statistics to track behaviors in both mediums as your user community navigates from one to the other. It considers the effect of overloading people's email with what are typically large files, and helps avoid blocking by spam filters.

One of the other problems, is that you will be receiving online gifts as a result of having your online giving form linked somewhere on your web site. This can be especially true during the year end when prospects are typically being directed to your online giving from a wide variety of additional sources such as direct mail and telefund.

One approach is to look at the timing of the clicks on the email compared to the time the a form submission took place on your web site. There should be noticeable spikes in traffic, and you can also look at individual visitor behavior to see how many people went to the solicitation, then to the form, and then received a confirmation for their gift or pledge.

If you have a large database, stagger sending the emails so you don't overload your web server. Segment email by target area so you can analyze individual schools, colleges and departments, and tune language and technique .

The amount of giving is not the only measure of effectiveness although you certainly want to achieve the results.

Esolicitations are something we need to do to create interest. Track opt-outs over time since these are indicative of your audience's continued interest in receiving pieces with multi-media. You don't want to over-saturate.

Esolicitations, especially those containing multi-media presentations, should be an important component of your online strategy, but you need to realize it's not always possible to get exact metrics and that you always have to make educated guesses as part of your overall analysis.

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