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Did you know that British consumers would donate an additional £655 million each year if they saw exactly how their money is spent? (NPC).

It seems like something so simple, yet so many charities fail to promote where the funds they raise actually go. It could be as simple as a diagram showing the breakdown per pound like Oxfam do. Or it could be that you go more in-depth into the impact of each donation through a welcome or nurture email program. Communication is key and email can play a great role in building a strong relationship with charity donors and supporters.

In our recent eGuide Up Close and Personalwe delve into how charities can use the email channel to their advantage for long-term results. I’ve selected three important points to share with you.

1. Stop thinking of your email list as just ‘data’

Your subscribers are a collection of individuals with different needs, opinions and interests. What made them choose your charity in the first place? Personal experience or a family connection, a strong belief in your cause, the desire to support a work colleague? Your subscriber list will also include people who are just generally interested in what your charity does, those who donate and those who get involved by organising fundraising events. You already have six potential segments right there!

What will make your message stick and stand out in an inbox full of clothes offers, travel confirmations, latest news and personal messages vying for attention is the step you take next. A First-Person Marketer will use the power of automation, the insight from data to create personalised experiences and will regularly analyse, test, tweak and optimise to make sure he/she is making the most of email.

2. Increase efficiency and relevance with automation

Automation has many well-promoted benefits like saving time and increasing relevance. But the true value of it shines through when you’ve taken the time to map it against the donor journey, not when you send a donation confirmation or a final reminder email before the fundraising event. Look at NSPCC for example. Their small team planned out exactly where automation would be most beneficial to start with. This included transactional emails, automated content via XML feeds in newsletters and a supporter nurture program.

It doesn’t mean they will stop with this – NSPCC simply took the time to examine the donor journey and identify where to implement the technology first. This is the essence of incremental innovation: starting with small steps to prove the results of an idea and moving on from there at a consistent pace.

3. Engage and welcome a new supporter

I spoke at the beginning about the importance of keeping subscribers informed. Not only does it help you build a stronger and longer-lasting relationship with them, but it also has a monetary impact. Email is a great channel to enable that communication because you can use triggers to send new donors to a nurture program at the right time when your message has the most impact. Some ideas of what to include:

  • Thank people for their donation
  • Let them know what to expect over the coming weeks or months
  • Share stories about how their donations make an impact including images, project updates and total money raised
  • Send helpful resources for those fundraising to help them get started
  • Use dynamic content to personalize the email with their name, amount raised and completed time for a race or other fundraising information post-event and include certificates or social media badges to encourage word-of-mouth

Of course, these tips are just the beginning. There is so much more you can do to nurture charity supporters, but you need to start somewhere! Just remember that while your subscribers all have different motivations for which they support you, at the end of the day your success relies on keeping that feel-good emotion alive. How will you use email to achieve it?

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