Your List is Dying

Rob Winters Blog

We can all agree Einstein was a smart guy, he knew the definition of insanity, yet many of us simply ignore the past and hope for better in the future. Specifically, I’m talking about fundraising and email lists.

Whether it’s an event, annual campaign, or the occasion email send to the masses, attrition is a part of life. I’ve yet to encounter any organization with 100% list retention. There are many reasons for why we fall out of contact with constituents.

To name a few:

  • Change of email address
  • Opted out of a campaign
  • Marked a message as spam in the email client

It’s not necessarily the fault of the organization, like any relationship, it takes a lot of work to keep a list strong. However, if you are sending emails daily it may actually be your fault people are opting out, but that’s a discussion for a different blog.

How do you retain people?

Good content! Content will always be king, no matter how often or irregularly you are sending emails. Ensure every email, actually let’s extend this to include social posts, is valuable content/information. Something your constituent can read, think about, share and act upon.

If you send emails with great frequency this can be a challenge and creating a highly segmented audience is going to be your best bet in keeping people engaged instead of clicking the opt out button.

How do you fix bad emails?

Email appends are relatively cheap overall and can help you reactivate constituents who change email addresses. With a two-step opt in process it’s possible to ensure the constituent wants to receive your emails at this new address and avoid being reported as a spam organization. It’s also a great way to implement a Welcome Series into your campaign.

How do you grow a list?

This isn’t always an easy or cheap process. Organic growth is best: Constituents finding your website and subscribing to a newsletter, signing up for an event or making a donation. If you don’t want to solely rely on social posts and word of mouth you may want to consider an AdWords of Facebook Ads campaign to draw attention to an upcoming event. It’s possible to create a campaign on any budget, but always be sure you have realistic goals.

Moral of the story – every list needs attention and effort to maintain and grow. A sign of poor list maintenance and a lacking investment is a year-over-year decrease in valid, active email addresses.

Brian Winters Brian Winters
VP Client Services