Thursday, July 14, 2016

Non Profit Inbox Placement and Considerations

During my 10-years in Digital Marketing I've come across my fair share of interesting questions. One that seems to be often recurring is how Non Profits function when provided the same tools as for profit organizations.

In some ways a well run Non Profit has a tremendous advantage in Digital Marketing, brand loyalty. At the same time they are too often behind in marketing technology by as many as several years when compared to a similar size for profit.


A new study by the nonprofit marketing firm EveryAction finds that 1 in every 14 fundraising emails sent goes directly to a spam folder—a total that could be costing your organization thousands of dollars yearly.

I wrote about this topic in 2015. View: Donation and Petition Abandonment: How Nonprofits Can Use Retail Marketing Tactics to Drive Engagement

At the time I was noticing the challenges some political agencies where having with Email Deliverability. The cost of email is so much lower than the cost to print and mail a flyer that even if there were five potential emails for a person the ROI was there. If any of those email addresses responded positively the agency's data team could go to work. Unlike a flyer, there's not analytics to tell if you read it, no analytics to tell if you started filling out a donation form, but abandonment the process.

The challenge then is the same today, while there is a 1st Amendment right to send a physical mailer that USPS must deliver, the same is not true with email. This is where data hygiene and list churn vs aquisition come in. Yes, you can send all the email you want, but there's no USPA equivalent that is required to deliver it. Send to an old AOL address that hasn't opened in 5+ years and don't be surprised if you best openers and clickers on AOL don't receive your message that day.

My Take:

  • Non-Profits have several unique opportunities borrowed from the B2B marketing automation industry that they can take advantage of. 
  • Specifically, associations regularly host large meetings and conferences. Some host webinars. 
  • All of these are opportunities to get updated information, and confirm you have a current email address. 
  • A retailer would kill for this opportunity to collect and update data. 
  • Put the extra effort to make the registration and data collection process simple and analyze the data.
  • Look to scrub email non-responsive recipients. Ideally 1 year with no opens is a fair cutoff, but some organizations go closer to 2 years.
  • Consider incorporating a "winback campaign" to prevent someone getting to the 1 year mark. Examples could be an automated drip of messages at the 90 and 180 day mark. Bonus, if you have resources to allow a phone call to be made, especially among associations where the email address is an important member, or there's a donation lose at risk. 

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