Revive idle nonprofit email subscribers

Email has only been a part of mainstream culture for just over a decade, but the fast-pace growth of technology in the digital age makes email seem archaic. However, recent research suggests that electronic communication may still have a pulse, and it's beating at a healthy rate. According to an Exact Target study, 91 percent of consumers use email at least daily, making it the No. 1 direct channel in terms of consumer preference in regards to receiving marketing communications and for personal use. 

Thanks in part to its flexibility, interactivity and familiarity, email is still a favorite method for marketers in both for profit and nonprofit sectors. Recent advancements in technology, coupled with a tech-savvy, younger generation, have driven mobile growth for email as well. But as it goes with any marketing campaign, there are challenges that must be overcome. Although charities have the capability to reach donors on a personal basis via email, not every person is guaranteed to respond. Resuscitating old donor accounts is a test that every organization must overcome.

Wording is key
In regards to email marketing, a nonprofit organization must focus on capturing the readers' attention from the start. Now that benefactors are checking their messages from all locations - and particularly on mobile devices - the window of opportunity is smaller than ever before. Research suggests that consumers take between two and three seconds to decide whether to delete an email or not, and 35 percent of these recipients open messages based purely on the subject line, according to digital marketing firm Convince and Convert. With a limited chance to acquire the reader's attention, nonprofits must be more strategic than ever before.

The wording of a subject line cannot be overlooked, especially since it's the gateway to the messaging, or what could end up leading a charity to accept donations online after the benefactor opened the email. According to a recent Return Path report, there are specific words and phrases that trigger idle donors' email interest - but it is up to the nonprofit to engage them. Specifically, reactivation emails with the words "miss you" and "come back" had read rates of 13 percent and 12.7 percent, respectively.

A promising metric for nonprofits was that 45 percent of recipients who received win-back emails engaged with subsequent emails from that brand, Return Path added. Once a charity engages with an idle donor, its chances of rekindling the relationship are much greater

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