May 17, 2013

Why Nonprofits Should Rethink Their E-Mail Campaigns

Derek Lieu for The Chronicle

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As more people use smartphones rather than computers to check their e-mail, many charities are rethinking the way they communicate with their supporters and promote their events.

For the Alliance Francaise de Philadelphie, that means sending shorter messages and embedding videos and photos in their e-mails to supporters, says Martine Chauvet, the group's executive director.

Instead of promoting a long list of events in each e-mail, the organization is now promoting one or two.

Maria Semple, an e-mail marketing consultant, says shorter messages are much more effective in the mobile age.  And videos are like e-mail candy—recipients can’t resist clicking the play button and sharing them through social media, she says.

But none of that matters if people don't open your e-mail, Ms. Semple says. Because of the number of messages people receive, nonprofits have only about two seconds to grab a reader's attention, so the first two words in the subject line should be crafted carefully.

In this episode of Fundraising Fundamentals, Ms. Semple and Ms. Chauvet discuss how your nonprofit can enhance its e-mail campaigns to attract more attention and more support.

Tony Martignetti, a consultant, author, blogger, and host of Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio, talks with nonprofit leaders and consultants about how organizations can more effectively raise money, build better relationships with boards and supporters, and manage volunteers. Look for new installments once a month.