How to Use Email and Facebook to Promote a Local Fundraising Event

Social NetworkingIf you are having a local fundraising event, why not exploit Facebook and email to get the word out? I mean let’s face it, who do you think doesn’t have Facebook or an email account? If you can get the word out through these media, you can expect more results and lesser expenses compared to having to rely mainly on flyers and tarpaulins.

How to use Facebook

Facebook is not only a good way to connect with relatives and friends, it also an excellent tool to announce a fundraising event. Think about it, what you’ve got in there is already a captured audience, compared to flyers and tarpaulins wherein people can choose not to read or even look at them. People on Facebook can choose to ignore you as well but, it is less likely because what you’ve got there are people who know and trust you. Here’s how you can use Facebook to promote a fundraising event:

  1. Create and event – Create an event in Facebook ideally on the Fundraiser’s own account. Make sure that after you filled in the necessary details, that you click “anyone can view and RSVP” so that it is made public. You should also click “show guest list on event page” so that people can see who are invited and can invite new people. Once the event goes live and you have invited your friends and they have RSVP, their friends can now see it on their wall too. This will make your invitation viral.
  2. Post the event on your wall – On your personal Facebook account, you can also post the event on your wall and invite your friends too. If this is a ticket event, make sure to post a link to where they can buy the tickets.
  3. Post regular updates – Make sure to post regular updates so that those who are coming will be informed. Soon the event will be on your friend’s, friends and friends wall too.

How to Use Email

Before there was Facebook, email is the way to send our words for fundraising and it still a very effective tool to inform. A lot of infomercials are still using emails and the trend will like to continue in the years to come. Here’s how you can use email to send the word out:

  1. Design the flow of mails – You don’t just send the mails blindly, it has to follow a design flow. For example, you can start with a request, then you follow it up with supporting quotes and related client’s story. You can then send a third mail encouraging people to donate and a fourth, thanking them.
  2. Build an subscriber list – We have put together an article detailing the importance of a quality subscriber list. If the list is not qualified, you cannot expect a good performance.
  3. Create an effective email – When writing an email for fundraising, make sure that you fill in the necessary details but don’t make it too verbose that the recipient will be tempted to delete it.
  4. Choose the best broadcast tool – This is the caveat of email; without a good broadcast tool, you will be sending it one by one or you can cc it to everybody in the list. A broadcast tool will make the job a lot easier because it can send thousands of emails at once.

When creating a charity event, your goal should be to minimize the overall expenses so that all the proceeds raised will go directly to the charity. Using Facebook and email accomplished just this so if you haven’t done it yet, you better start now.

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E-mail Fundraising Strategies

E-mail Fundraising StrategiesIt 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. “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!

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E-Mail Fundraising

E-Mail FundraisingOne of the paramount challenges for churches and para-churches is fundraising.  While there are a number of “tried and true” methods available, the advent of the Internet and email has created paradigm shifts that mandate to enjoy continued success it is going to be necessary to stay on the “cutting edge” of technology.  Since ministry is the major concern of these institutions, it is probable that they will want to benefit from the experience and expertise of an email-marketing specialist with a successful email marketing firm such as Randall Mains and PATHMAKER MARKETING LLC.

Randall, a PK, grew up understanding the importance of fundraising.  If you’re like his Dad, the Rev. David Mains, asking for money isn’t your favorite pastoral activity. But, you do it because that’s how you fundeverything from keeping the lights on in the sanctuary to paying salaries to supporting ministries that present the life-changing message of the Gospel to hungry souls.

Over the past 25+ years, God has blessed Randall to help numerous churches and ministries with their fundraising needs through some specific skills that he has learned in life. His experience spans a variety of areas… radio, direct mail, various fundraisers, publishing, product sales, but (most recently), raising hundreds of thousands of dollars through online efforts such as email fundraising.

Here’s what he was able to accomplish for one growing church in Chicago:

The church retained him to help them open up new channels for funding their growing outreach ministry, which includes a church, radio ministry, television ministry, international humanitarian efforts, and the sale of the pastor’s books and teachings.

His first step was to help them build their email list. They were sending people to their website, but they weren’t capturing as many email addresses as they could. In addition to offering general technical support for their store, he installed 3 important things.

  1. He upgraded their website with an eNewsletter sign-up form and dedicated, benefits-oriented landing page to secure new email addresses. Together, these have gotten them thousands of new emails addresses – both to add to their mailing list and to replace those that inevitably fall off of mailings lists when people change email addresses or simply move on.
  2. He installed an eight-week series of welcome emails. Not only do these emails run on autopilot for ease of use, but they also introduce new acquaintances to the various aspects of their ministry.
  3. He went to work raising funds from the people on their email list. He writes, designs, codes, installs, and blasts a regular eAppeal for them that raises over $10,000 each month.

Below are several Email Fundraising Case Studies that will give you a solid idea as to what Randall can accomplish:

A. For a church in Chicago, who contracted with them to do their email fundraising, they recently filed a recent report that showed they helped the church raise $127,739 through email in 2010.

B. For a large broadcast ministry in Phoenix, they conducted a 13-month email campaign that reaped 1,816 gifts for a total of $190,887 in income, netting them $158,387 after considering all expenses.

C. They also have served several television ministries. One from the East Coast first contacted them for help with good web communications. That quickly grew into a successful eMail Marketing effort that has generated $750,000  in email donations from 9,000 gifts during their 53-month relationship to help them fund their ministry endeavors. For 2011, their email fundraising income was over $200,000 in an otherwise dismal economy.

As you can see, it would probably behoove you to make arrangements to work with email marketing experts like Randall and PATHMAKER MARKETING LLC sooner rather than later!

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Top Ten Church Outreach Ideas for the Internet: eFundraising

Sending monthly email fundraising is our 11th of Ten (BONUS IDEA) Top Ideas for Church Outreach on the Internet.

A friend of mine once received a genuinely well-written email about a Christian orphanage in need of money so that they can send a few kids to school. My friend, so touched by the story, sent some money and was extremely happy to know that she has helped her fellow Christians in need.

There is a multitude of possibilities to reach possible donors, supporters and beneficiaries through the World Wide Web. With the advent of online paying systems, it is very easy to give and receive financial help.

Your church should grab this opportunity because there are many people out there who are willing to support various Christian causes through online giving. As long as you have a strategic e-fundraising campaign, your resources will continuously grow. Thus, it will contribute to the fulfillment your mission to share God´s glory and enlarge His territory.

Pathmaker Marketing has solid experience in assisting non-profits and churches raise funds via the Internet. One recent email campaign in June 2009 yielded over $30,000 in gifts from 375 donors. a 13-month campaign for another not for profit organization raised $192,000 in gifts through the email fundraising channel. We have a proven track record of increasing our clients´ funds multiple times over in proportion to what it costs our clients.   For more details on this subject, visit this Pathmaker webpage.

Schedule a meeting with the Pathmaker Marketing Team to discuss and learn more about how you can make your church outreach on the internet grow even larger. This small chat may unearth many ideas that you can use to save more lost souls like mine was.

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The Bottom Line to Successful Email Fundraising & Marketing

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

Successful 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 under performing 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.

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What Are the True Costs of Email Marketing?

hiresEmail marketing and email fundraising have been known to have a good return on investment (ROI), but a good business person will not simply disregard all the expenses incurred in the entire business marketing promotion online. Knowing the actual cost of an email marketing or email fundraising campaign will help you get the best value for your money. In this article, we will break down the actual cost of email marketing for you. Knowing the cost of an undertaking will help prevent surprises that could be unpleasant down the road.

  1. The number of campaigns  – Knowing the number of campaigns is the most obvious determinant of the cost of any Internet business marketing promotion. When you are just starting out, this is not going to matter the most because you will obviously have lesser campaigns to make. But as your business grows bigger, you will have to begin to plan the number of campaigns that you are going to make because this can be potentially burn a hole in your pocket.
  2. Number of contacts and emails you want to send – Another thing that you have to look at is the number of contacts which correlates to the number of emails that you want to send every month. The higher this goes, the higher you will have to spend.
  3. Fees for marketing manager or agency – For those who are just starting out, the tendency is to hire a cheaper ESP (Email Service Provider), but these may have certain caveat. Sometimes cheap is also synonymous with lousy service and that is why you have to be very careful in the selection process. As your business grows, it stands to reason that you have to consider hiring a top tier fundraising company which means, higher fees as well.
  4. The cost of the email list – For those who are too lazy to build an email list from scratch, you would have to count also the cost of renting an email list. As we have warned in our previous posts, this can also mean low conversion because of low relevance.
  5. Fees for technical support – Depending on the plan that you bought, some fundraising companies do offer technical support for an extra fee. This will give you certain advantage but you have to remember that this could mean extra expenses too.

Since cost is the most important factor in every business decision, knowing the cost of an email marketing campaign has a lot of advantages. But despite its cost, email marketing has great return of investment and therefore should not be ignored by any online business person. Studies have shown that for every dollar that you spend on email marketing, it will have an ROI of $42. Planning for it though, will even give you a better bang for every buck.

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How to Coordinate Your Email Fundraising with Direct Mail

efundraising with direct mailEmail 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 sen