Email Fundraising

It probably is pretty safe to assume that E-Mail Fundraising is not a flash in the pan, but, rather, will be a major weapon in the arsenal of every email marketing firm in the nation for ad infinitum.  Scattered across the world wide web is tidbits of information and suggestions posted by various e-mail marketing experts meant to help give a better understanding of email marketing.  While each and everyone may be valuable, it could be painstakingly difficult to fetter them out and paint a picture with a broad enough scope to actually let you know how to attain success in this realm.  That’s why, as successful email marketing professional, I thought it would be prudent to take time to share a plethora of suggestions that have helped Pathmaker Marketing, LLC in their quest of becoming a successful professional e-mail marketing firm in the realm of e-fundraising.  So, below is a comprehensive “what to do” guide for enjoying E-mail Fundraising success.

1.    TEST - TEST - TEST - Constantly.  In email fundraising there are some variables that you can control and some that you can’t.  What you can control is when you send and how you design your emails and how you design your Landing Pages.  What you can’t control is what’s happening in the news and how people feel about the economy.  As a result, you want to make sure that you are using your very best efforts in the areas you do control in your quest for funds.

            One thing you will want to do is run “split tests” - double, triple, or quadruple splits.  You should run these on your creatives, as different versions can have different texts and/or graphics.  You test to see what is working this month or week, and by testing you mitigate against ineffective efforts.  Multiple versions of your email will enhance your chance for success, and serves as a bit of insurance.

WHEN YOU SPLIT TEST BE SURE YOU CAN TRACK RESULTS SEPERATELY. You must be able to tell how much money each email raised separately.

2.    BUILD YOUR INTERNAL FILES - Understandably, your donor file will always give you the most return on any given e-mail.  Next would be your internal prospecting file and finally any external prospecting file.  As a point of clarification, the internal prospecting file are those people who have shown an interest in your organization but have not donated and, as one would expect, are more apt to give than any external list.  In other words, the “priority order” is to solicit those who have given before, those who have shown an interest in you, and lastly strangers.

3.    GET A DECENT ESP - To conduct an E-mail Fundraising campaign you must have an Email Service Provider (ESP).  Basically, there are three types - Entry Level, Intermediate, and Advanced.  There are a variety of things that will differentiate ESPs.  One is the size of your list.  Another consideration is the “billing” process.  Typically, for Intermediate and Advanced ESPs billing is “volume based,” while for the Entry Level ESPs it is “file size” based.  Functionality is another determining factor:  The more advanced the greater the number of functions - especially in the realms of integration and reports.  As can be expected, the more advanced your ESP the more expensive it will be. 

            An example of an entry level ESP is iContact, and will usually be used when your mailing list is 10,000 or less.  Bronto would be a middle level ESP, and is for the organization whose list is 10,000 - 100,000.  An advanced ESP is for lists of 100,000+, and a good example of this would be Exec Target.

4.    NO CSS WHEN CODING E-MAIL IN HTML - What is often overlooked is the fact that that if you use CSS it will be stripped by many email clients.  For example, G-mail, Hotmail, Yahoo, and MacMail all tend to strip out CSS.  If your email is driven by your custom style sheet and it gets deleted by the email client you will have a problem.  Your email might show up looking fine, or it might look like garbage.  As a result, you would be better off using “old school” HTML 101 table formats.

5.    DESIGN AND CODE TO 600 PIXELS WIDE - At that width your e-mail will render okay in a number of environments, such as PC, iPad and mobile phones.  If you code to wider you will force people to sideward scroll, which some may consider too much work!

6.    PUT MORE EFFORT INTO YOUR LANDING PAGES THAN YOUR E-MAIL ‘CAUSE YOU CAN'T’ TRANSACT ANY BUSINESS IN AN E-MAIL - Remember, no matter how good your email is you can’t take a credit card with it!  If your landing page is “broken,” the whole process is broken.  The e-mail is what “hooks” people, but the landing page is what will “seal the deal.”  Like a good salesman, your landing page is your “closer.”

7.    UTULIZE E-MAIL FUNDRAISING STRATEGIES - Any successful endeavor is the result of developing and implementing specific strategies, and e-mail fundraising is no exception.  Below is a list of strategies that you should plan on employing:

  • E-mails tied to current events
  • Monthly “themed” Email Campaigns
  • Direct Mail/E-mail Combo
  • Media/E-mail Combo
  • “Stand Alone” E-mail Fundraising Campaign

 8.    E-MAIL CAN WORK WITH DIRECT MAILSend your Direct Mail offer first.  Then, send an email with the same offer seven to ten days later.  This over-all combination will give you lift, as the email will remind people of the mailer they received.

9.    ADD “READ MORE” LINKS INTO YOUR COPY - Writing an e-mail fundraiser piece is a little different than writing a direct mailer piece.  In the former you might stop a thought in mid-paragraph and put in a “read more,” having your email serve as somewhat of a “teaser.”

10.  STUDY THIS HEURISTIC TO LEARN A SIGNIFICANT LESSON FROM E-MAIL EXPERT FLINT McGOUGHLIN

eMe = rv(o+i ) - (f+a)

The effectiveness of your Message = relevance of your offer (offer + incentive) less (friction + anxiety)

In essence, this is saying that the advantages of your offer and incentive needs to outweigh the recipient’s reluctance to reply positively to your offer, plus the anxiety he might feel in doing so.   “Friction” deals with the ease of your check out procedure.  Asking for as little information as is necessary, and keeping the checkout process as short as possible can minimize it.  Said simply, “Anxiety” is the general reluctance someone might have in doing business on the Internet. 

11.  USE THIS FINAL CHECKLIST BEFORE YOU HIT “SEND”

Ask Did my test e-mail:

  • Allow me to go through checkout
  • Have a subject line with no issues
  • Have working links
  • Display Properly
  • Have contact’s name, address and telephone number

Email FundraisingOne of the most frustrating, and on-going challenges for churches, para church ministries and non-profit organizations is fundraising.  There are of course, some “tried and true” methods, but everyone is always looking for new ways to accomplish this goal. Technology is opening some new doors, and one of those is email fundraising.

Pathmaker Marketing, LLC, an E-mail Marketing Firm, has been most successful in assisting their clients with e-mail fundraising. Truly E-Mail Marketing Specialists, they know that there are several things to keep in mind when you begin your email fundraising campaign.

First, you need to use your common sense.  You are, after all, raising money for a cause.  As a result, you are going to be most successful when you contact individuals who are already supporters of that cause.  Here, you do want to “preach to the choir.”  Your goal is not to solicit new supporters.  As a result, you will want to use your current database of supporters.  Again, this is not a “prospecting tool”!

You also need to consider that this program works best when it is part of an over-all communications strategy.  This includes utilizing the mail, phone, and “in person” contacts.  These all have their own individual strengths and, when combined with your e-mail campaign, will result in you being most effective.

As any Professional E-Mail Marketing Service will tell you, email has its own set of metrics.  First of all, you need to keep in mind that e-mail is always lower than direct mail.  It is, however, still profitable as there are no printing or postage charges.  Too, seldom will an email campaign yield “monster” gifts, as the largest we have seen were between $1000 - $2000 each.  Keeping this all in mind should allow you to ensure that your expectations are within the parameters of not only possibility but probability, allowing you to view the results with realistic insight.

Just as in any mode of fundraising, you must remember that “people give to people” more than organizations.  As a result, you want your e-mail to come from your chief fundraiser, such as your CEO or pastor.  Have the email look like a letter and be personalized.  “Dear Fred” goes a lot farther than “Dear Friend.” 

To “enhance the chance” of filling your coffers via an email campaign, you need a substantial e-mail list.  As a result, you may need to go an E-Mail Marketing Company and spend some money to help bolster your list.  Do know that a really small list can be cost prohibitive for using HTML, and you may want to employ TEXT as a result.


email fundraising

It is obvious that any successful endeavor is the result of someone developing and implementing a specific, successful strategy.  Email Fundraising is no exception.  Any e-mail marketing professional worth their salt knows this to be true.  And, a real e-mail marketing specialist will tell you that there are actually five strategies that you can employ to ensure that your email marketing program is, in fact, a successful one. 

      I.        E-MAILS TIED TO CURRENT EVENTS - This is pretty self-explanatory.  What you need to do is keep abreast with the news and develops an email campaign that revolves around what is transpiring.  This, of course, is dependent on the fact that your cause is one that is news worthy.  A good example of this might be if you are part of a Tornado Relief Fund.  During Tornado Season there are ample news stories for you to mount a most effective e-mail program around. 

     II.        MONTHLY “THEMED” E-MAIL CAMPAIGNS - Virtually every month has a holiday or event that you can “build” an e-mail fundraising campaign around.  For example, May lends itself to two causes:  Unwed Mothers and Veterans.  Mother’s Day allows you to touch people’s heartstrings regarding those moms who have no one to help care for them and their needs, and Memorial Day is a “natural” for seeking aid for our War Veterans. 

    III.        DIRECT MAIL/E-MAIL COMBO - E-Mail Marketing Firms will tell you that the advent of an email marketing campaign should not be the demise of other fundraisers that have worked for you in the past.  In this instance, you should come up with a Direct Mail offer and send it out.  Then, some seven to ten days later you follow up with an e-mail version of the same offer.  Together these allow you to really enhance the chance of success of your fundraising efforts. 

    IV.        MEDIA/E-MAIL COMBO - Again, you are utilizing more than one method to supplement your fundraising efforts.  In this situation, you make your offer on either the Radio or TV.  Then, you follow up later that same day with an e-mail that re-enforces your initial offer.  This should not be a “Current Event” driven email but, rather, be centered on a pre-conceived offer that you present. 

     V.        “STAND ALONE” E-MAIL FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN - Here, you want to make an offer that is totally exclusive to the e-mail you send.  To make these most effective, it is wise to have a time limit in which recipients must respond to benefit from your offer. Remember, all such offers should revolve around and be related to the cause you are trying to raise funds for. 

If you find all of this a little overwhelming, you may want to contact a Professional E-Mail Marketing Service like PATHMAKER MARKETING, LLC to assist you with your email marketing undertakings.  An e-mail marketing company of long standing, we not only knows how to implement these five strategies; we also have a track record of success that you will find most impressive!


email fundraisingIt is obvious that the 21st Century is making each and every one of us re-evaluate the way we do things.  This is as true for Churches and Non-Profits as it is for Businesses.  One of the most prominent undertakings of a 501 (c) (3) is Fundraising, and there are many e-mail marketing companies who are offering their services to assist with this challenge.  In fact, Randall Mains, CEO of Pathmaker Marketing, LLC, a true email marketing specialist, has had immense success with his clients in doing just that, having raised well over a million dollars for them in the past four-plus years!
 
When conferring with Pathmaker Marketing, or any professional email marketing service, they will advise you that there are several important email fundraising concepts, which deals predominantly with “testing”  to ensuring that your e-mail fundraising endeavor is, in fact, a successful one.  Following is brief descriptions of each of these, to help you better understand the email marketing expert’s approach to e-mail fundraising.
 
DEVELOP YOUR E-MAIL STRATEGIES - Basically there are five strategies that you can employ, which include:
  1. E-Mail Tied to Current Events
  2. Monthly “Themed” E-Mail Campaigns
  3. Direct Mail/E-Mail Combo
  4. Media/E-Mail Combo
  5. “Stand Alone” E-Mail Fundraising Campaign
"SUBJECT LINE” TESTING - This process finds you mailing the exact same email, but changing what you write in the subject line.  As you experiment with these, you will find that one subject line may get more attention, and a better reaction, than another one that you use.
 
“SPLIT” TESTING - In this instance you try different “creative angles” to see which works best. This might include varying the copy that you use, or the photos.  Obviously, you will send out several simultaneously to determine what the results are.
 
“CLICK THROUGH RATE” TESTING - Typically, in each e-mail the recipient will have several ways to “click through” to support your cause.  This can either take place via a “Banner, “Learn More,” or an “Action Button.”  What you will eventually do, of course, is concentrate on “Click through Optimization.”
 
LANDING PAGE OPTIMIZATION - This may be, perhaps, the greatest “bug-a-boo” for email fundraisers.  Often, people have an excellent “click through” rate, but no one bothers to donate!  As a result, the conclusion drawn, albeit an erroneous one is that e-mail fundraising doesn’t work.  The reality is, it is the landing page that is “broken” and needs repairing, and that is where landing page optimization comes in!
 
It is, of course, possible that all of this may seem a little overwhelming, especially the landing page optimization concept.  That is why that you may find it most beneficial to contact an email marketing professional like Randall Mains and his e-mail marketing firm, Pathmaker Marketing.  They can assist you by explaining the process in greater detail, and implementing the programs as well!

 

The bottom line to successful email fundraising & email marketing consists of the following four simple steps to help you stay on track:

4 STEPS TO SUCCESSFUL EMAIL FUNDRAISING OR EMAIL MARKETING

Email FundraisingAn excellent way to communicate, email has become so efficient that it has the U.S. Postal Service trembling in its boots!  But seriously, if you're still doing direct mail only, you need to add email marketing to your mix of online fund raising tools. And to get the most out of your email fundraising or email marketing program you need to implement the following four strategic steps to success:

1)    Build Your Email House File - The most successful professional fundraisers are using email marketing programs to solicit their house files.  I know this may be a long process to develop these lists, but once you have a robust house file acquisition process in place, your email lists will grow and your efundraising or emarketing communications to those lists will deliver for you maximum results, way above any external list file rentals.

Typically, your house file consists of various sub lists like your customer file (first or two time buyers); your best customer file (regular, large or monthly donors, for example); and your prospecting file of requestors who have asked for call backs, downloaded white papers,  signed up for your newsletters, etc. 

In as much as your email success will mostly be measured in dollars raised, or as a conversion rate percent of the overall send, it stands to reason that a larger size internal file will deliver you a greater number of positive replies, once you've found ways to convert the list into sales or gifts.  In other words, make a commitment to building your house file, and then ensure that's an on-going part of your marketing efforts.

2)    Test, Test, Test - There are several ways to proceed in this realm.  First, you will want to conduct a basic Email Split Test.  This is where you send out two or three different versions of the same email to determine which one(s) give you the best results.  You can test different subject lines, different email creative or different landing pages. By determining which ones perform best, you can fix the underperforming ones and/or concentrate instead on the ones that were productive and successful.

A basic protocol we use as a basis for testing fundraising for non-profits is the following:
1. Short cause-centric email to longer cause-based landing page
2. Long cause-centric email to shorter cause-based landing page
3. Premium-centric version email to basic premium (i.e. product Offer) landing page

3)    Evaluate Your “Core Metrics” - Your "Core Metrics" are your central pieces of data that help you make primary decisions regarding your email sending.  There are three major ones, and numerous secondary ones. The majors we use are the following:

a.    Opens (How Many Emails Delivered Were Opened)—this metric is not completely accurate but as a guide it's good to help you determine the effectiveness of your Email Subject Lines. When your open rates are low concentrate on improving your subject lines.

b.    Clicks (How Many Opened Emails Clicked Through to Landing Pages) —this metric reflects the effectiveness of the email creative itself. If your click through rates is low concentrate on improving your email content (i.e. creative). Usually a good ESP will also provide data on which elements of your creative were clicked on, giving you insights into those things that drive click through for you.

c.    Conversions (How Many Clicks Became Sales or Gifts) —this metric reflects the effectiveness of your landing pages at converting the visitor into a buyer. If your conversion rates are low concentrate on improving your landing pages.

A sub-item to consider regarding conversions is the average amount of each sale or gift, which, will also affect your overall results and thus can help you determine the over-all value of your various Split Test groups and online fundraising efforts.

…And a Bonus Step to a Successful Email Fundraising program:

4)   Fuss Around to Optimize - I can't emphasize enough how important it is to continue tweaking your programs, looking for pockets of opportunity in the data, and searching for ways to optimize your efforts and their results.  Figure out what people are clicking on and accentuate the positives, then eliminate the negatives! Keep a document of lessons learned as well, so you can refer back to things you have gained over the years that you can build on in the future.

Email marketing is a proven and effective way to enhance your ephilanthropy, so use these four principles to accelerate your email marketing efforts, and call Pathmaker Marketing in Phoenix at 623-322-3334 if we can be of any assistance to you. Or read further about this topic on our blog about email fundraising.

 


Animated GIF

We have emphasized the importance of a tailored message in your email fundraising campaign and animated GIF is just another way to infuse more personality to it. Although this technique is no longer as famous as it used to be in Internet business marketing promotion still, it’s very effective and as a professional fundraiser it’s still worth your time.

With the exception of Outlook, animated GIFs are compatible with most email clients and therefore, you can be sure that your animation will be viewed by your recipient. Here are a few tips on how to do it:

1. Display a complete message in the first frame - In case the entire animation does not display well with the recipient’s email client, make sure that the first frame conveys the entire message. This is to ensure that what you wanted your clients to know will get to them even when things don’t work as expected.

2. Small is better than big - In the case of animated GIFs, small is better than big. This is so because you want to avoid the spam filters of most email clients. Another thing is, you want to maintain the speed of the way your email loads because if it’s too slow, you know already what your recipient will do with it.

3. Let the animation cycle for several times - Allowing the animation cycle for several times will ensure that the viewer can see the entire message. After this, allow it to go static for 30 seconds. This is also another reason why you have to keep it small.

4. Consider how the email would look like without the animation - There are email clients that are intentionally set to block animation and that is why, you have to consider how your email would look like without it. The point here is to avoid relying solely on animation to convey the message. You have to remember that your purpose of using it is just to spice it up a bit but not to cripple the entire campaign just because the animation part does not display well.

5. Avoid overusing animation - In relation to the above, avoid using animation too much. There are a lot of disadvantages of overusing animation and that is why, you have to use it sparingly. Aside from slowing the loading down, it can create a visual mess when not used properly. You have to remember that you don’t want to irritate your recipient and too much animation is the best way to accomplish that.

Although a lot of professional fundraisers have abandoned the use of animated GIFs in their email fundraising campaigns, still we suggest that you reconsider using it. It is a great way to customize your mails and add a little bit of personality to it. If done properly, you can be sure that it will bring a great deal of conversion to your overall online fundraising campaign.


interenet business marketing promotion

Email fundraising is not something that only the professional fundraisers can do to raise funds. Even a newbie fundraiser can do such if he/she knows the secrets of this campaign. Just like any Internet business marketing promotion, targeting a hungry niche is of topmost importance otherwise, you will be wasting your time because all your mails will be instantly deleted. Here are some tips:

 1. Customize your email  - Do not send a “one-size-fits-all” email to all your targets. This is an instant turn off because people will just know it when the mail is not really for them. Take your time to create a customized email for the specific niche that you are sending it to. Generic email is a sign that you are being lazy and believe me, people can sense it.

 2. List quality is very important - It is common knowledge among professional fundraisers that paid addresses will always perform less than those gathered organically (e.g., if the donor gave you’re their email address). Although it’s not a totally bad idea to have paid addresses, you should make it your aim to have more organic addresses than paid ones.

 3. Don’t overlook your landing page - It is often said in SEO communities that you have to treat all parts of your website as a landing page because you don’t know where a prospect will land when following a link. You can bring a visitor to your site but if it is not optimized to convert them to donate, you will be missing a lot of opportunities there.

 4. Don’t just ask for money - Again this is an automatic turn off. People will not just give their money without knowing the value of what you are trying to do. Before you send a solicitation email, make sure that you already have sent at least two that tells a compelling success story, something that recognizes the donors and volunteers and similar things.

 5. Personalize your email - With all the information available online, there is no reason that your donor should receive a “Dear Donor” type of mail. Generic or a one-size-fits-all kind of mail will easily find its way to the recycle bin and that is why you need to personalize it. Put the name of the donor in your opening remarks and it is even better if you can tailor the asked amounts based on the giving history of each of your donor.

 If you are trying to win a non-supporter, send a customized email designed to welcome them to your cause and to introduce them to your core programs. This can be accomplished through compelling story contents which will convert them to donors in no time.

 Email fundraising has its own downside but following the tips provided above will greatly improve your batting average and of course, donations will increase too. Although email fundraising is not rocket science, you don’t have to take it lightly to the point that nobody believes you at all.


If you attended the pre-mixer workshop at the CBN mixer in Phoenix this April, you heard me present "The Bottom Line for Success Online."  If you weren't at the workshop, feel free to download that helpful 10-page White Paper from my website

Since the internet is my area of expertise, I'll affirm this fact: You must start planting seeds on the web today if you want to enjoy success for your company online tomorrow. Professional fundraisers know this fundamentally, but many small business owners have yet to grasp its significance.

I consider this so important for local businesses, churches, and charities, that I want to offer your company two very practical steps to jumpstart your efforts in this regard.

First, at no charge to you (meaning for free), Pathmaker Marketing will set up your personal and company profiles in Google -- a great initial step for local search engine marketing strategies -- and establish Google Analytics on your company website, so you'll get valuable weekly traffic stats for targeting keywords.

Second, I'm offering you a 50% discount off our Top 100 Local Directory Placements, designed to get your company listed in the Top 100 local, business, blog, video and map directories. That normally costs $995 ($10 a listing) but it's yours now at 50% off for just $495 ($5 per listing)! This effective internet marketing step is a fundamental building block  to establishing a proper Internet foundation.

Or you can get our Top 40 Local Directory Placements on sale for just $195 ($5 a listing).  At this low price, you can jump start your local business or church marketing 101 for cheap.

Either way, I'm going to extend these two special offers to you until 6pm, Friday, May 6th.  (If the deadline has passed when you read this post, call me up, and ask if I'll honor the deal anyway over the phone).  

I'm willing to help you plant your seeds today for effective internet marketing, so you'll reap the rewards tomorrow.

Call me today to get started: 623.322.3334
Or Skype me at pathmaker.marketing
Randall Mains, Co-Owner


      Blogging is a wonderful way to impart pertinent information to the rest of the world.  And, as a result, many people are taking advantage of this avenue of expression.  If you are in business, however, and you want to let your blog “work” for you, you probably need to adhere to a different set of “rules” than the individual who is simply blogging as a hobby, to vent frustration,  or to seek an audience to pontificate to.  For the sake of this article, let’s refer to the business blogger as a “Professional Blogger,” and the casual blogger as a “Social Blogger.”

    The Social Blogger, typically, is mostly blogging for fun.  As a result, they blog when they have a few extra minutes or when they get around to it, and they blog about a myriad of topics.  One day they may write about the wonderful new restaurant they ate at the night before, and three days later they might vent about how poorly their favorite baseball team is doing.  They will discuss the high price of gas, or how they have begun their Christmas shopping earlier this year.  While their thoughts and approach might be very focused, even profound,  in each individual blog, they tend to take a “shotgun” approach where their choice of topics is concerned - - spreading a wide range of thoughts to their reading public.

    The Professional Blogger, on the other hand, can’t pursue such a haphazard approach to their blogging - - or at least they shouldn’t.  Rather, the Professional Blogger needs to be blogging with a specific purpose in mind, always mindful of the fact that their blog site should strive for a depth of content in what they write.  Their blogging has to be intentionally focused on areas of expertise - - they must also purpose to provide a steady flow of content posts per week.  They must continually be adding quality content to their blog site, always bringing readers back for more.  They must not be lackadaisical about this - - they are using this as a major part of their marketing plan and therefore must attend to it religiously!

     The Professional Blogger needs to be targeting keywords that they want to win a Page One ranking on in Google, Yahoo or Bing.  Once these target terms are determined, they pursue these top page rankings by creating best in class content surrounding those keywords, and, as a result, they also establish themselves as an expert in their field.

     While it may seem easy to identify keywords you want to write about, the real trick is to isolate the “winnable” words or phrases, since what's most important is picking terms to blog about that both relate to your expertise, and have some capacity to win you a Page One Ranking. Page One rankings will get your blog qualified visitors, who may convert into names to your email list, qualified leads, product or service buyers, donors, etc.

     The subtlety of finding Internet success though, can find you, like the old TV character Maxwell Smart, “missing it by just that much.”  Let me give you an example.  

     Suppose you want to win a page one ranking for “e-mail fund raising,” You already have a wealth of knowledge on the subject, and have been most successful in helping clients with the endeavor.  You now, however, want to use the Internet to “recruit” new clients, and decide that blogging is the route to go.  So, you diligently begin adding appropriate keyword content to your blog and, lo and behold, nobody is beating down your door to have you help them.  The reason?   People are not searching on line for “e-mail fundraising,” they are searching for “ephilanthropy” - - by the millions!  

     Obviously, this scenario could be frustrating to the point of devastation!  To determine the keyword marketing terms to pursue, you can either hire a Premier Blogging Service firm such as Randall Mains company Pathmaker Marketing, or you need to invest hours, days, or possibly weeks to research them yourself, using Google’s Keyword Tool or something similar (To learn more about this, read my upcoming blog, How to do Strategic Keyword Marketing Research for Your Blog).  

    Determining your area of expertise should, at least theoretically, be a little easier.  However, you may want to take a broad term and “narrow down” your area of expertise.  Let’s use our example of “e-mail fundraising.”  Fundraising, obviously, is a term used by non-profit organizations.  Now, you may want to concentrate on e-mail fundraising for churches.  To be more specific, you may want to be an expert on e-mail fundraising for churches with under 500 members.  Once you make the determination of what you want your “niche” to be and you have accurately identified the marketing keywords you want to win pages for, you can begin to employ your blogs as a valuable sales tool! (Don’t miss my next blog, 5 Critical Steps to a Successful Blogging Initiative!)

     The bottom line is this: when blogging, be targeting keywords that you've thoroughly researched so that you know you can win page one rankings that will get you readers.  That process is called Keyword Marketing, and it can pay off in spades for you.

In this fifth of five blog posts, I'm providing you with 10 Internet Marketing Ideas that will help you be successful online.  Some are practical, some are philosophical, but they are all intended to help you be more successful with your small business marketing strategies. Here are numbers nine and ten, plus a bonus eleventh key to effective internet marketing:

9.    TIMING CAN BE EVERYTHING - To effectively Market certain products we need to have a real grasp of our Target Market.  You will, for example, be able to sell Christmas Program Packages to Pastors - but not in January!!  Typically, they begin their search for Christmas materials shortly after the Fourth of July.  Proper “timing” may also help determine what gives you the greatest sales success at any given time may be.  If you are not familiar with the seasonality factors in your products or business, then determine them.  Proper timing for your offers can bring in substantial results!

10.    TALK WITH YOUR AD VENDOR - Your vendor may not know your line of business as well as you do, but they are seeing advertising results across many clients and industries that you do not have access to, and they will be able to identify trends that are working and universal strategies or tactics that are being effective for other clients of theirs.  Talk with them. Pick their brains. Get the input and feedback on your campaign.  Ask questions.  They may be able to give you those extra tidbits of helpful advice that gets your campaign over the top.

11.    DON'T BE A JOHNNY COME LATELY - Avoid last minute stuff. Many mistakes get made because you are rushing to meet a deadline and everything is coming together at the very last possible moment.  Avoid that pattern.  It leads to errors and oversights.  You need to get your strategies ironed out in advance, and then develop your designs, then budget time for reflection.  Give yourself a day or two in the schedule to reflect on what you've done and how it could be improved. Sometimes we're so caught up in the details we can't keep a perspective on the big picture. You prevent this tunnel vision by ensuring you have that one extra day or two to reflect on your work and make sure it really hits the mark, and has all the components it needs to be a successful online advertising campaign for your company.

For further internet marketing ideas, or tips for fundraising professionals, visit Pathmaker Marketing, or call Randall Mains direct at 623-322-3334.


In this fourth of five blog posts, I'm providing you with 10 Internet Marketing Ideas that will help you be successful online.  Some are practical, some are philosophical, but they are all intended to help you be more successful with your small business marketing strategies. Here are numbers seven and eight:

7.    TEST - TEST - TEST  - The only way to determine what is going to work for you over time is to throw a lot of stuff against the wall and see what sticks.  The odds of first time success are low, but the lack of immediate success should not be discouraging to you.  Consider this - - of all the thousands and thousands of men who have played Major League Baseball, only 102 hit a homerun during their first plate appearance.  Of those 102, only three hit a grand slam!  Some of the men who didn’t hit a homerun in their first plate appearance include Henry Aaron, Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Babe Ruth, and Barry Bonds!!  Willie Mays went 0 for 12 at the beginning of his career, but did hit a homerun his 13th time at bat!  Thomas Edison tried hundreds and hundreds of times to perfect the light bulb.  When asked if he was discouraged by all of his failures, Edison reportedly replied, “Young man I have not failed at all.  I have successfully concluded that none of the elements I have tried so far will work!”  An important point to remember here is that not everything that works for one business will work for another.  As a result, you will need to do your own testing, and not rely just on the results of what others may discover about their product/service/business. Try numerous approaches to see which angle or channel may work for you.

8.    STICK WITH WHAT STICKS! - The goal of “testing” is to throw mud against the wall to see what sticks, and then to stay with what sticks.  We often have such a propensity to be on the “cutting edge” of Marketing that we neglect to step back and decipher exactly what is working versus what is “cutting edge” testing.  While Twitter and Facebook are growing trends for marketers, and often get enormous press, “tweeting” may not be making any money yet for many advertisers.  As you hear about “what’s new,” don’t forget about “what’s old.”  E-mail, with its proven track record, has become a bankable commodity, and that, after all, is what marketing is all about - putting money in the bank!  Find out what works for your business. Stay with what works. Try out the other things using recommendation #7: test, test, test.

For further internet marketing ideas, or tips for fundraising professionals, visit Pathmaker Marketing, or call Randall Mains direct at 623-322-3334.


In this third of five blog posts, I'm providing you with 10 Internet Marketing Ideas that will help you be successful online.  Some are practical, some are philosophical, but they are all intended to help you be more successful with your small business marketing strategies. Here are numbers five and six:

5.    CALCULATE YOUR LIFETIME VALUE STATS - In this sales instance above, you need to factor in “Lifetime Value” of each customer that you make.  “Lifetime Value” alludes to the fact that your first time customer may conduct more than just one business transaction with you over time.  The “real money” may not be in the initial sale from them, but rather in upgrades, upsells or repeat business for other products or services that you have to offer.  With Lifetime Value being considered, a 100% return in sales on your ad prospecting dollar might be considered an excellent investment given the long term rate of return.  That being said, you need to calculate your lifetime value metrics to know how many “sales” or leads you need to make to allow you to make your advertising work. For some businesses, it's 85% of your ad prospecting dollar, for others it's 100%, for some others 150%.

6.    GRASP THE LANDING PAGE CONCEPT- The objective of e-mails and banners is to get qualified potential customers to visit your Landing Page.  Once that happens, the burden of responsibility shifts to your website. It's at the Landing Page that visitors are converted to leads or sales.  The key here is very simple - if your Landing Page is “broken” don’t blame the Advertiser!  Your goal, is to create a Landing Page that works hard to convert qualified traffic into company assets...it needs to motivate the visitor to follow through on what got them there in the first place. Think of your advertising as making the sale, and your landing page as closing the sale. The #1 most important thing you can do for your advertising plan is make sure your landing page(s) work.

For further internet marketing ideas, or tips for fundraising professionals, visit Pathmaker Marketing, or call Randall Mains direct at 623-322-3334.


In this second of five blog posts, I'm providing you with 10 Internet Marketing Ideas that will help you be successful online.  Some are practical, some are philosophical, but they are all intended to help you be more successful with your small business marketing strategies. Here are numbers three and four:

3.    SCRATCH THE BIGGEST ITCH - This necessitates you knowing your Target Market thoroughly if not intimately.  In the case of Pastors, for example, the “biggest itch” is pretty apt to be the challenge of preparing to preach a sermon each and every week.  Anything offered that will assist with this on-going task is not only going to receive thoughtful consideration, but will also be most appreciated. Know your audience. Figure out what makes them itch, and learn to offer products or services that really address their primary needs.

4.    GET THE METRICS -- An understanding of this aspect of Internet Marketing is what will allow you to accurately determine whether your Marketing program is having a positive or negative effect on your “bottom line.”  To help you with at least a minor grasp of this concept we have included the following example.  However, if you feel you need more information to fully appreciate the Metrics of Internet Marketing in regard to your product or service, contact us for further assistance, or contact an expert in the field and make arrangements to be instructed by them.

Example:
When utilizing e-mails for your Marketing Program you need to know that there are three basic metrics to keep an eye on: Open Rate - Click Through Rate - Conversion Rate.  Open rates can vary by client and industry and offer but respectable ones run from 10-20% (Divide the # of unique emails opened by the number Net Delivered). Reasonable Click Through Rates vary too, but can run anywhere from 5-20% (Divide the number of unique Clicks by the number of unique Opens).  Good conversion rates can run anywhere from 2-5% (Divide the number of sales or leads by the unique Clicks).

Once you get the metrics, do the math. If 100,000 e-mails are sent, and you get a 15% Open Rate , you have 15,000 opens. If you get a 10% Click through Rate, you have 1,500 clicks to your website. If you get a 2% Conversion Rate, you got 30 sales or leads.  If the Program cost $1,500.00 to implement, then each lead cost you $50...or each sale cost you $50. Now that you know the metrics you can determine if 30 leads or sales was a good investment for your advertising spend.  If you are an Architect, and you can convert 10% of your 30 leads into $10,000.00 contracts, you will, undoubtedly, be ecstatic with $30,000 of sales on a $1,500 investment.  If, however, you are selling a $79.95 power point presentation for Pastors, the numbers get tighter, but you may still be happy with 30 sales for $2,398 total on a $1,500 investment.

For further internet marketing ideas, or tips for fundraising professionals, visit Pathmaker Marketing, or call Randall Mains direct at 623-322-3334.


Be sure to include images in your search engine optimization efforts. You can get even more visitors to your website by properly preparing and coding your images. The reason is that properly prepared and coded images will be found and indexed by search engines, thereby increasing your search engine rankings. Here are some tips.

1. Use high quality images that are optimized for the web.
If your images get picked up by Google Images, more webmasters will link to crisp, clear photos, resulting in more people click on your photos and ultimately to your website. Also specify a width and height in the HTML to help speed up the length of time it takes your page to load into a browser. Pathmaker Marketing's professional search engine optimization services take into account the user experience, which ultimately results in more visitors and more conversions of visitors to business assets.

2. Give all images a descriptive title using your keywords.
rose.jpg is much more descriptive than img010609.jpg, and if “rose” is one of the strategic keywords you use for search engine optimization, you’ve increased the incidence of that keyword on your page. If you’re a florist who sells roses, daisies, carnations, etc., people doing a search for roses might be more likely to find your site if you use a more descriptive image name that uses your keywords. In its search engine optimization services, Pathmaker Marketing will help you research keywords that not only are strategic but are more likely to help you increase your page rankings.

3. Always use descriptive <ALT> tags, preferably using your keywords.
ALT stands for alternate text. If your link to the image breaks, or if people have images turned off in the browser or email client, they can still see a description of what you wanted them to see. But an additional useful feature of the <ALT> tag is that you can benefit from them in search engine optimization. Search engines will “see” what’s in your photos because of your <ALT> tags. If your photo is rose.jpg, and Rose is not a flower but a person who owns a bicycle shop named Guthrie’s Bicycle Shop (which is also a keyword), the <ALT> tag might be <ALT=”Rose at Guthrie’s Bicycle Shop”>. Google warns against “stuffing” the <ALT> tag with keywords. Avoid something like: <ALT=”schwin shimano Windsor mountain bike”>. Sure, these might be the types of bicycles Rose sells, but none of them are in the photo. If she’s sitting on a Windsor mountain bike you could put that in the <ALT> tag: <ALT=”Rose at Guthrie’s Bicycle Shop sitting on a Window mountain bike”>. Just be sure everything is in context.

4. Never put captions inside the image.
Sure, it makes it easier to keep your caption where you want it if you include it in the image itself, but it's a really bad practice for search engine optimization. Put copyright info inside the image if you want, but not your descriptive keywords. Keep those in the HTML.

5. Opt toward JPG images when appropriate.
There are various types of image files, including GIF, PNG and JPG. Some older browsers don’t read PNG images well yet, and some search engines default to looking for JPG rather than the other two mentioned. That means the search engine is more likely to recognize your photo as a photo if you use the JPG format.

6. Put your images as close to the <TITLE> tag as possible.
If the title of your page is <TITLE=”Rose at Guthrie’s Bicycle Shop in Podunk”>, and someone is searching for “bicycle podunk”, your page could get picked up. If your <IMG> tag says <IMG src=”www.someplace.com/images/rose.jpg” ALT=”Rose at Guthrie’s Bicycle Shop in Podunk”>, and it is close to the <TITLE> tag (at the top of the page), the <IMG> tag reinforces the <TITLE> tag to help improve your page rankings.

7. Use strategic keywords in all links to the photo.
“Click here" is a good action phrase that people are used to seeing and therefore know what to do when they see it. But “See a picture of Rose at Guthrie’s Bicycle Shop” uses your strategic keywords while also using an action phrase that people can quickly figure out what to do with.

8. Register your webpage at Google Webmaster Tools and tag them with Google Image Labeler.
Google Webmaster Tools is a free service that allows webmasters to optimize and check the indexing status of their sites. It’s located here: http://code.google.com/apis/webmastertools/. Google Image Labeler is located here: http://images.google.com/imagelabeler/.

9. Provide context and relevance.
If your photo and everything that describes it is of Rose sitting on a Windsor mountain bike at Guthrie’s Bicycle Shop in Podunk, it won’t help if the page content is about studying Japanese in Los Angeles. This will just send a confused message to search engines, and it could do more harm to your rankings rather than good.

10. Protect your images in a way this is friendly to search engine optimization.
You can put copyright info in the image, and some people also include a watermark. Most people don’t mind the copyright info, but watermarks could result in webmasters not linking to your photos. Google also recommends providing a snippet of HTML for people to use to give you attribution when embedding your image on their page. Be sure to include a link to your page on that snippet. This will increase visits to your site also.

Pathmaker Marketing offers search engine optimization services along with non profit fundraising services, Internet business marketing promotion and more. See how Pathmaker can help you, whether you're looking for a non profit consultant or other Internet business marketing promotion. Click or give us a call at 623-322-3334.


A virtual tour can be an interesting and valuable addition to your website, and if you do it properly, it can be a valuable part of your internet marketing ideas.

But if you’re thinking of adding a virtual tour to your non profit website design, you’ll need to take a number of issues into account before getting started.

1. What is the goal for your tour?
If your Internet marketing idea is to showcase your business, then you’ll want a lot of photos of your campus – this is a more informational type of tour. But if your Internet marketing idea is to tell the inspiring story of how your ministry, church or business started, you’ll want to have more drama in your tour – and this could add to the bandwidth as you include more sound effects and perhaps video.

As you begin to compile information for this particular Internet marketing idea, you’ll want to always keep your specific goal in mind and organize that information in the tour so that it will be easy to present and experience. And you’re going to want to focus on what makes your campus, business, product, etc., unique.

Whether you include a virtual tour in your website as an informational or inspirational Internet marketing idea, you’re going to need to provide a real guided tour – not just drop people off and make them find their own way around on their own. This brings up another point, some people will want to be dropped off and explore, meaning you're going to need a visible map so anyone can find their way around ... and include the words "Begin Here" in the map.

2. Who are you trying to reach?
If your non profit is a university primarily for people directly out of high school, this Internet marketing idea should showcase the sorts of things that appeal to younger people. But if you have a combination of younger students plus people coming back for some mid-career training to stay relevant, you may be talking about two different tours. You need to think this through so filming day takes the approach for the generation you’re attempting to reach, and you’ll want your script, and the narrator, to have the voice of the generation you’re trying to reach. Any information you provide is going to need to be relevant and interesting to your specific audience – from their point of view, not yours.

3. What kind of interactivity will your audience most appreciate?
Some people, especially younger people, want to be in control of their browsing experience. They’ll appreciate choices – where can they click to find out more information? Some older people may want the tour to completely load and allow them to sit back and watch with few needs on their part for making choices. Your tour should be more than QuickTime videos with some text. It should be a special production that integrates many different kinds of media – videos, text, maps, photos, etc.; but these should be done in a seamless way so the viewing experience is appropriate for the audience and flow well. And provide choices for people who want to sit back and watch your tour as well as those you want to get dropped off and do a more self-guided tour.

4. What kind of bandwidth will you be working with?
Your IT department will be very unhappy if a virtual tour suddenly goes online that you have not discussed with them because they have a specific amount of bandwidth to work with, and you need to make sure your project is going to be well served without taking from other functions of the server.

Pathmaker Marketing is a professional fundraising company that serves ministries, non profit organizations and a for profit businesses. We offer search engine optimization services, fundraising services, blogging services, business marketing promotion online, and many Internet marketing ideas. Give us a call at 623-322-3334 to see how we can assist you, whether with a virtual tour or any other kind of website design or online fundraising services.



Promoting your website is similar to promoting any product, but there are several aspects of an Internet Business Marketing Promotional Plan that you’ll want to take into account as you create a plan for non profit fundraising.

1. Define WHAT (the message) I want to say to WHOM (the audience), WHY (ROI) I want to say it to them, and WHEN I want to say it to them.
This is an important first step in developing Internet Business Marketing Promotional Plan because it provides the framework around which to build the rest of the plan. Once you’ve analyzed who your audience is based on solid research, it typically takes about an hour or less to develop this framework for your promotional plan. It should result in about one page or less of text, and you’ll want to keep coming back to this information as you work through the next steps of creating your plan.

2. Identify internal channels to pursue.
Many people forget to include ALL of their internal channels when developing their Internet Business Marketing Promotional Plan. These include staff who give to or buy from your business or non profit in addition to people who give to or buy from your business or non profit.

3.  Identify the media outlets that will accomplish #1 through paid advertising.
When I have skipped Step #1 and moved directly to Step #2-4 while developing an Internet Business Marketing Promotional Plan, I have found myself wandering around in a sea of details and struggling to sort through them. It isn’t until I get my head out of the details and go back to Step #1 that I get a handle on how specific media outlets will help me accomplish my big picture goals.

Once you’ve identified the best media outlets based on who they reach, what it costs, and availability (back to knowing the WHEN identified in Step #1), then you can quickly sort through them to whittle down your recommendations to fit your Internet Business Marketing Promotional Plan budget. Part of the research needs to be whether or not you can meet the outlet’s deadlines – if you want to advertise in a magazine with a 3-month lead time, and you’re 3 weeks away from launching your advertising, move on. If the deadlines is within your timeframe but your ability to deliver isn’t, move on. There are plenty of outside places to advertise, so long as you get moving and don’t get so bogged down in the details of planning that you never move on to implementation.

4. Identify other channels that will accomplish #1 through publicity.
In addition to writing news releases and articles for other websites to publish, you’ll want to carefully include social and professional networking channels in your Internet Business Marketing Promotional Plan, as well as the blogging community in your promotional plan. You can advertise on Facebook and Twitter, the most popular social networking sites, but don’t forget the professional networking sites like Linkedin and Naymz. Also, find the bloggers who are talking about your subject matter and ask them to write about your product or non profit. If you have a product, give them a sample so they know what they’re writing about. You could also include a “blogger tour” in this plan, which is similar to a media tour but with popular online bloggers.

5. Flesh out the strategy with tactical details, cost, specific due dates and responsibilities.
Many people try to start here when developing an Internet Business Marketing Promotional Plan, but it is the last step until you’ve done all your homework. You need to specifically spell out who is going to be doing what so there are no misunderstandings (and so you know those people have agreed to do what you’re asking them to do).


Pathmaker Marketing can help you sort through the best channels to promote your non profit. Give us a call at 623-322-3334.

In the next series of five blog posts, I want to provide with you 10 Internet Marketing Ideas that will help you be successful online.  Some are practical, some are philosophical, but they are all intended to help you be more successful with your small business marketing strategies. Here are the first two:

1.    DEFINE YOUR OBJECTIVES - As you craft your Banner Ad or Email campaign or other online ad initiative you need to know exactly what you are expecting it to accomplish for you.  There are basically two things that you can hope to achieve from your Internet Marketing endeavor other than exposure -- a lead or a sale.  Typically, your product or service will determine which you should expect.  For example, if you are pitching your services as an Architect for Church Building Expansions, you will undoubtedly be pursuing leads, not sales.  The complexity of the sale process and the probable high cost make online sales prohibitive. On the other hand, if you are selling a $79.95 downloadable resource entitled “6 Steps to a Perfect Sermon,” your end objective is most likely a sale.  Once you understand your objective (sale or lead) you can develop better copy and art to achieve your goal, and you can better measure the results of your campaign to get qualified leads or sales.

2.    ADD THE “FREE WATCH” - As much as we may want to purchase something, many of us often need that little extra motivation or incentive to push us over the top and make that decision to purchase that which we are considering.  One of the best ways to accomplish this with your Internet Marketing is to give a free bonus gift.  Mentioned at the end of your offer, this extra incentive often becomes that “little extra” that convinces consumers to act on the offer!  Be creative with your "free watch." This could be free shipping, 20% off, an extra goodie, bonus products, a discount coupon for a future purchase, etc.

For further internet marketing ideas, or tips for fundraising professionals, visit Pathmaker Marketing, or call Randall Mains direct at 623-322-3334.
 


Nothing can inspire donors to give like the power of a good story, told well, whether you are raising funds with a Saturday morning car wash or you are one of a handful of powerful fundraising companies helping clients raise millions. 

In last week’s blog post I talked about the importance of connecting the donor to the end recipient of their generosity using Internet--just like Heart For the City does on this page of their website.  You can see touching photos of families benefitting from the Thanksgiving “Adopt A Family” effort. 

We also encouraged you to create interactive areas on your site that allow donors to tell the success stories of the effort themselves, like this page from the National Prayer Campaign for the Jerusalem Prayer Team.  You can read last week’s entry on fundraising company Pathmaker Marketing’s blog page HERE. 

In this posting, I offer two more ideas, drawn from the experience of fundraising companies and the professionals who run them.   

3.  Don’t overlook traditional forms of storytelling like newsletters and snail mail appeals.  Stories collected on your website—or via letters and emails—can be used (anonymously, if needed) to keep the ministry’s efforts fresh in the minds of those who read them.  PathMaker Marketing can help you develop an eNewsletter that will build your email list—and keep the powerful stories of your ministry in the forefront of your efforts as a professional fundraiser. 

4.  Create an event.  Use awards, presentations, speeches or other “special moments” to connect givers to those they help and share them in your communication efforts.  RISE, International is a ministry that builds schools in Angola.  When an American couple raised and extraordinary amount of money to build one school in a rural village—$50,000—Lynn Cole, the ministry head (who is the professional fundraiser for the group--they do not use a fundraising company) took a photo of the family, enlarged and laminated it and hand carried it to the dedication of that school months later.  She told the boys and girls in the Angolan village, who were overjoyed about the opportunity to now receive an education, about the family as she showed them the enlarged photo.  She photographed the eager learners with the image of the Americans in a powerful ceremony that will remain unforgettable for both sides. 

Sharing the fruits of your ministry with those who donate to make it possible will bring your fundraising efforts “full circle” and will further strengthen your professional fundraising initiatives.  Pathmaker Marketing is a professional fundraising company that will listen to your needs and help you tell your story.  We'd like to give you a free website analysis--get in touch with us today.   

Fundraising professionals, no matter what their cause or kind, understand that they must, at some point in the fundraising stream, connect donors to the end-recipient of their giving.  Stories, testimonies and images all can work together to bring that powerful sense of gratification to donors who want their dollars to truly make a difference in the world. 

Whether you are raising funds for your local church, a street ministry or the building of hospitals overseas, those who give to you want to see how their gifts are helping.  If, as a fundraising professional, you’ve lost sight of this meaningful principle, here are some ideas to help get you back on track with the important discipline of “telling the stories.” 

1.  Use the Internet.  It’s relatively inexpensive, and you pay the same, no matter how many individuals read the testimonies you share.  Bring the faces and stories of those who are impacted right onto the pages of your website.  Make sure your storytelling is rich with images and effective words, using first person accounts whenever possible.  Let the fundraising professionals at Pathmaker Marketing help you build a website (or re-design your current one) to motivate and encourage your donors. 

2.  Provide interactive opportunities that will tell the story for you.  Are you giving your supporters interactive ways to be involved with the ministry other than giving?  Prayer is an energizing way to draw constituents in and create community.  And, it will truly strengthen your efforts!  Let us help you create a prayer area on your website using our interactive prayer walls, prayer requests function and more.  Just seeing the many heartfelt prayers that build up on the prayer wall will serve as a form of testimony that will go a long way for you, as a professional fundraiser, to encourage your stakeholders. 

We can also help you create an area on your website where both the friends of your ministry as well as those you serve can post their stories and testimonies, much like this one of Gregory Dickow Ministries and this one from Jewish Voice.  These accounts will help strengthen the link between donor and recipient as readers see the impact of their giving.

Check back for my next blog post to read two more great ways you can strengthen your efforts as a professional fundraiser by telling the powerful stories of your ministry or group. 
 


The professionals at Pathmaker Marketing live to assist our clients with their email fundraising.   We understand the delicate relationship between ministries and their donors, and we've learned the importance of selecting just the right words in every part of an email fundraising strategy.  We recommend that your words align not only with the brand identity of your organization, they must also communicate clearly to your constituents that you understand them.  Words and messaging can go a long way to show donors that you and they are on the same page. 

In his newest book, Axiom, Bill Hybels’ opening parry focuses on the importance of words.  He describes the angst he experiences as he seeks just the right word, phrase or tagline for a point in a sermon, conversation or campaign.  He goes into great detail to explain that when it comes to words, you have to get it right! 

The truth is, leaders rise and fall by the language they use.  Sometimes whole visions live or die on the basis of the words the leader chooses for articulating that vision.
--Bill Hybels, Founding Pastor, Willow Creek Community Church in Axiom:  Powerful Leadership Proverbs

Good email fundraising will show understanding and sensitivity to the values, priorities and lifestyle of donors--and you demonstrate this by the choice of words you use.  If you fail in this, you let down the very people whose support you are seeking to engender.  Answering the following questions will help you choose well in your messages to donors.

Reflect Your Donors' Values in Your Email Fundraising:  What are the key values of your constituents?  Do you know which things they hold dearest?  And why they are drawn to your organization?  Is there a values niche that you serve that is unique?  Do your messages communicate these values clearly?  Most Christian ministries work hard to show they are morally clean and untainted.  What other dearly-held values do your constituents have?  Patriotism? Social activism?  When it comes to your email fundraising, don’t waste words on things that are not valued by your donors. 

Reflect Your Donors' Priorities in Your Email Fundraising:  What are the highest priorities of your constituents?  Are they family-oriented?  Prayer warriors?  Ardent for missions?  Whatever their priorities, your words must communicate that you understand the priorities that guide their lives.

Show You Understand Your Donors' Lifestyles in Your Email Fundraising:  Do your donors tend to have active lifestyles?  Are they Internet savvy?  Tuned in to contemporary Christian music?  Are they pinching every penny, or do they have a little financial breathing room?  As you consider ways to use email for your fundraising efforts, you can reflect the lifestyle choices of your backers as you communicate with them, choosing words wisely.

The extra effort you put into choosing just the right words for every part of your email fundraising strategy will go a long way to show them that you understand them and their concerns.  This connection will strengthen their willingness to give.

 

 

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