What’s missing in your Giving Tuesday strategy? A convo with DRUM’s eCRM expert.

by Kelley Coram, 06 Nov 2019

As DRUM’s eCRM manager, Kelley Coram is on the front lines of every client email campaign — and has a unique perspective on what works...and what doesn’t. Since Giving Tuesday is a crucial email day for so many nonprofits, we decided to pick her brain on how organizations can deploy emails that get clicks.

What test tactics would you recommend for Giving Season? 

For Giving Tuesday, you need to focus on optimizing within that single campaign rather than your email program as a whole. An early morning subject line test can help you quickly learn which option is best and use that for the remainder of the day’s deployment. 

Conduct tests for the rest of Giving Season, too. Test urgency — like with a countdown to end of year. Test CTAs — like “Donate Now” vs. “Give Now” — to see what works better with your donors. If you traditionally use long-form letters, consider interactive elements like animated GIFs or videos to stand out.

What’s more important when creating urgency to give: subject lines or email content?  

If you already have a strong open rate, I would focus on content within the email. But if you’re trying to get donors to even open your email, then you need to focus on the subject line and preheader since that’s your first opportunity to interact with subscribers.

What new eCRM trends should nonprofits look out for since last year’s Giving Season?  

2018 was really the mobile tipping point across all email providers; most subscribers now view emails on mobile first. So in every email you’re sending, think of mobile. If your email isn’t designed to be viewed on a phone, it becomes a bad user experience. 

Another thing we’ve seen this year is integrating subscriber data to make emails personal. So whether that is knowing that I love reading the newsletter or knowing what types of programs I give to or how I engage on social, the key is to target messages and meet subscribers where they are.

What concerns should nonprofits keep in mind as they ramp up to Giving Season?

Instead of just sending more and more emails, make sure you’re still sending relevant content. Be mindful of how many communications your donors are going to receive. Are there opportunities to segment so not everybody gets every campaign? Can you prioritize messages to avoid subscriber fatigue?

What are some ways to break through the clutter during Giving Season? 

In Giving Season it’s even more important than the rest of the year to deliver on your brand promise. Feature people you’ve been able to help; highlight impactful stories; show the impact donors have made throughout the year. We’re also starting to see nonprofits show the tactical impact that a gift can make — i.e. your donation of $10 feeds a child for a day, buys a coat for someone in a shelter, etc. Donors want to know the impact they are making, so help them draw that connection in a simple, digestible way.

What’s an example of an eCRM “best practice” that doesn’t actually work?

The biggest one I hear is that your CTA button should always be above the fold — that is, visible at the top of an email. We continue to find that’s not true. People are so used to scrolling on their phones and reading through longer content that we don’t need to stick to this old rule. Another myth is the idea that there’s a best day of the week or a best time of day to send your deployment. That really varies from brand to brand, person to person, so again it’s about testing with your particular audience.

What do you think of adding a person’s name to the “From” field, rather than simply the organization name?  

I’ve seen success with that if it’s a CEO or a celebrity that’s involved in the charity. But it can also go the other way. If I sign up for Catholic Charities email and now I’m getting an email from Kelley Coram, that’s not what I signed up for; that’s not the experience I’m expecting. I like to stay more on the brand side of it — Catholic Charities or Friends of Catholic Charities — some variation that still includes the brand name in that friendly “from.” 

You mentioned that people were used to scrolling in email now. Does that mean that longer emails are OK?

It depends on the content. If it’s a powerful story, if it’s a newsletter with a ton of great content pieces, as long as it’s relevant and engaging to your audience, people will continue to read it. If it’s a laundry list — just because you couldn’t cut it down to make the content relevant — then you need to be more thoughtful about what’s going in the email. But people aren’t afraid of scrolling as long as the content is relevant and engaging.

Is your Giving Season email strategy poised for success? We’d love to lend a helping hand.

Get in touch with DRUM experts now.