Audience Development

Medium for Nonprofits – Three Questions to Consider

Medium for Nonprofits – Three Questions to Consider

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been asked by a few nonprofits about publishing on Medium. If you’re thinking about utilizing this platform, these questions and answers may help.

What is Medium?

Medium is an online platform and network that allows individual users, organizations, or companies to write and publish articles. Medium has a helpful synopsis of their platform and the benefits. It is built as a place for writers to easily create content and publish in a simple and visual editor. There is a network component as readers often leave comments or respond with a post. The company itself has a homepage that highlights content that is pertinent, interesting, and engaging.

Why should you use it?

It is a good fit for organizations that are looking to increase the number of written publications but haven’t yet started an internal blog. If volunteers or individuals on your team have an interest in writing content for your organization, Medium is a great way to begin that process.

If you have the ability to publish blog posts on your website, you may also want to consider using Medium. The network component of the platform can help you reach new audience members. Additionally, it may be easier for your readers to view content on Medium. If your blog isn’t visually appealing – especially for mobile and tablet users – you should consider trying Medium.

What types of things should you post?

Anything that you would write in a blog post. A story from an individual that your organization supported, an organizational opinion on a current event/topic, a letter from a board member, or highlights from a recent event. Try different styles and take advantage of the helpful analytics that let users know how many people are reading the whole post.

Below are a few articles from recent weeks that I’ve found interesting – including one published on Medium.

  1. Ross Jackson kicks off an ongoing Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Project in NPQ with a post about diversity in the nonprofit theater world.
  2. The always brilliant Yesenia Sotelo of SmartCause Digital shares the 10 stats you should be tracking on your website.  
  3. David Cohen of Adweek explains the latest Facebook news feed algorithm changes.
  4. Does your organization work with a YouTube creator? YouTube is rolling out donation cards for US creators.
  5. “C is for Convertible Debt! That’s good enough for me.” Sarah Kessler of Fast Company details Sesame Street’s partnership with venture capital firms.
  6. Finally, Alison Leiby shares a post on Medium about the response to a joke she made about women’s rights. It include this funny and sad quote, “If you want a tour of how hateful and negative humanity can be about women, just scroll through the replies to my original joke. It’s kind of like the It’s A Small World ride, but instead of different countries you just see different expressions of misogyny.”
Testing for Relevant Language

Testing for Relevant Language

Over the last week, we’ve been working on an extensive survey project. There are two versions of the survey that are segmented for different audiences. One segment is teenagers. During the testing of the survey, we asked a group of teens to independently review the survey. Their feedback was nearly identical.

In several areas of the survey, language was used that matches the word choices the organization uses in their publications. These are common words and phrases within their field. The teens shared that these are not words or phrases that they use to describe these concepts and identities. To them, the words were outdated, unnecessary, and confusing.

Some specific language is used internally within every nonprofit organization, and it may not always match external expectations or usage. When drafting key outbound communication pieces, it may be a good time to take a step back and ask yourself a few questions. Are we using internal language too often? Is this the language that our audience uses? Do we need to define any of these terms for this audience?

Imposing your internal language on your external audience will hurt the effectiveness of an email campaign or survey. If you have time and volunteers available, ask them for feedback on the what language is relevant to them. This extra step can help you get the results you need.

Below are a few links from the last week that I found relevant:

  1. Susan Raab of NPQ discusses the ongoing crowdfunding platforms wars.
  2. Facebook’s carousel ads are 10 times better than its regular ads. Garett Sloane of Digiday has the details.
  3. How are you counting your media hits? Aaron Eske from M+R shares a new and better way to track this.
  4. Keith Steele provides an interesting read on how drones can assist in habitat monitoring.
Four Tips to Freshen Your Content Creation

Four Tips to Freshen Your Content Creation

Investing the time in creating content can be difficult when work gets busy. Small and mid-sized nonprofit organizations face can additionally be challenged because multiple people are often share the responsibility of writing content.

If your content creation is in a rut, these four steps will help you get back on track.

Assume deadlines will be missed

If you are managing a team of employees that are helping to create content, there is only one safe assumption. There will be missed deadlines. Plan for it – have extra content scheduled or evergreen content available. Even with the best planning, deadlines, staff departures, and unplanned outages will impact your communication schedule.

Write every day

Writing every day will help you focus on what you need or should be writing. While you may not think you have time to write every day, even just 10 minutes helps. Building that habit will ensure you stay fresh. Even writing half of a blog post or a new fundraising appeal will help you build good writing habits.

Read

I’ll be the first to admit – this is one of the biggest challenges that I have. When I commit the time to reading – either books or interesting things on the internet – I’m more fresh and creative. It’s hard to not focus on your to do list and carve out the time for yourself. That time helps rejuvenate you creatively. Many content creators have shared the impact and importance that reading has on their of writing.

By Inspired by Curated Content

How many times have you read an article related to your work and thought, “That’s really interesting!” or “That’s really idiotic!”? Either way, save that article. Come back to and write a reflection piece. Can you praise the author and the piece? Did you think of something relevant to your own work that relates to the piece? Was it absolute garbage and could use a polite but strongly worded response? Allow yourself the space to be inspired by your peers.

If you’re looking for additional inspiration this week, enjoy these articles!

  1. Thinking about crowdsourcing? Tricia Mirchandani of CauseVox has five questions to consider first. My favorite – “Do you have a crowd?”
  2. Taylor Shanklin of NPEngage discusses the importance of mobile and shares four tips to o help your organization become more mobile-friendly.
  3. Worried about your Google Analytics? Shaun McKenna of Conversioner explains how to avoid data pollution.
  4. There has been an incredible amount of coverage and discussion of the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. The Chronicle of Philanthropy compiled a list of seven nonprofit stories.
Three Ways to Retain Top Volunteers and Supporters

Three Ways to Retain Top Volunteers and Supporters

I reconnected with a friend recently. During our communication, I asked about a fundraising volunteer project that I had worked with her on previously. She shared that she was still supporting it and over the years she had raised over $30,000. And then added, But it somehow never seems to be enough (as in, I’m only as good as the latest amount I donated and / or raised)”

This is something that a lot of nonprofits struggle with. How do you convey a sense of urgency to donate/fundraise while respecting the incredible and generous donations/fundraising efforts previously made? This week Caryn Stein of Network for Good shared five ways to recruit passionate volunteers. The list is a great starting point. There are follow-up questions to consider. How do you keep your passionate volunteers engaged? How do you avoid donor fatigue and burnout? How do you highlight an organizational need while respecting previous contributions? Below are three options that may help your organization respect your supporters and ensure that they don’t feel like you’re asking too much or too often.

Segment emails by giving history

Any fundraising appeal should be segmented by giving history. The language and call-to-action needed to retain a gift is different than the message used to move someone up the ladder of engagement to become a first-time donor. Your segmentation doesn’t need to be so finite that you mention the previous donation amount and date – it simply has to acknowledge what their previous support enabled your organization to do and what a contribution during this funding cycle will be used for.

Assign an actual relationship manager

Allocating time for relationship management isn’t easy for many nonprofits. There often isn’t enough time and staff to focus on mid-level supporters. This is a lost opportunity. Too often nonprofits use email blasts to manage their engaged constituents instead of developing a one-to-one relationship. Not every relationship manager needs to have major gift experience and know how to ‘make an ask’. Every employee can have some part in ensuring that quality relationships are formed and sustained. Listening to the supporter and building trust will help continue engagement. Assign relationship managers to supporters and give them the tools needed to preserve those relationships.

Build a long-term plan

As you cultivate a relationship with a supporter, you get an understanding of why they support your cause. As part of this conversation, it’s important to listen to what their interests are. How can they continue to build engagement and find new challenges? Someone who fundraises for your organization isn’t always going to want a new challenge to be just be raising more money. At some point they might like to be more involved with the planning of an event, joining your board of directors, or engaged in a different way. Building a plan and fitting that into your organization’s strategy and communication will help ensure that the individual sticks with you.

These suggestions will help you sustain and grow your relationship with passionate volunteers. And these links will help you keep up to date on news from the week.

  1. Miranda Paquet of Constant Contact shares tips on how to get more engagement from your email list.
  2. Your millennial giving trend link of the week – Mark Hrywna of the NonProfit Times discusses a recent study that states millennial donations and volunteering are influenced by their peer group.
  3. David Cohen of Adweek reviews data on how Facebook users spend their time.
  4. If you’re looking for some inspiration John Rampton of Inc. highlights eight companies that are having a positive impact on their community and the world.
Calling with Purpose

Calling with Purpose

We’re currently working with a client on transitioning their email and file management system from the systems they’re using to Google for Business. As part of that transition, I verified with Google that they own the nonprofit’s website and account. This verification process triggered a phone call from their previous website and email provider who was worried about the potential of lost business.

One thing was clear as I listened to my colleague at the nonprofit attempt to talk to the customer service representative – the person calling had no idea why they were calling. We couldn’t decide if they didn’t want to say, “We know you’re setting up an email account elsewhere” or were just generally confused. I’ve made and received thousands of customer service calls in my career. This was one of worst I’ve ever been a part of.

It’s a reminder that when you call someone professionally – you must call with purpose. The number of supporters that prefer a phone call to an email is steadily decreasing. If you’re going to call someone and absorb their immediate time and attention, you must have a plan. What are you hoping to achieve? What are you going to ask them? This purpose can be a simple CRM touch and just say hello and see how the individual doing – but there needs to be a plan. Many times, I’ll write out what I want to say and the questions I want to ask. The majority of the time, I don’t even look at it – but it helps get me in the mindset for a productive call.

During yesterday’s conversation, my colleague asked the customer service representative to send an email that explained what they were offering and what any potential issues were. The individual on the phone refused and said, “This is only a conversation I can have over the phone.” While I imagine this may be a company policy, it reflects a short-sided view of what customer service is. Don’t make the same mistake in your communication!

These are a few items from the week that we thought were interesting!

  1. Shana Masterson reflects on her recent vote for Sawyer Fredericks to win The Voice and the impact that crowdsourcing can have on your fundraising ideas and plans.
  2. Seth Godin shares thoughts on story-telling and fundraising in this video interview with Amy Eisenstein.
  3. Ruth McCambridge of NPQ discusses on how to motivate folks during board issues or when a Director leaves.
  4. Your interesting longer piece for the week is Panthea Lee’s thoughtful post on Fast Company about the challenges, worries, and fears with tackling an enormous project in Libya.
Differences between Content Curation and Content Creation

Differences between Content Curation and Content Creation

Content is king. That’s a phrase that all marketers hear on a regular basis and we’ve said ourselves. For many nonprofit organizations content curation and content creation are vital communication tools. Finding the right strategy to manage these two areas are important.

Content curation is the process of gathering information from other reputable sources and sharing content that is relevant to your audience. This strategy is important to nonprofits, as it is a cost-effective method for sharing meaningful content. While quite dated, Beth Kanter provides a great primer on content curation.

If you develop an efficient method to build content resources, you can quickly sort potential stories and publish worthwhile links on your communication outlets. Using Feedly or creating a private list of content sources on Twitter is a fast way to sift through the seemingly endless available communication.

This communication strategy also provides an opportunity for organizations to highlight the organizations that they collaborate with. By linking to their Facebook page, Twitter handle, or Tumblr you can forge stronger relationships and potentially educate their supporters on your work.

While content curation requires time to organize and publish content, it is less time-intensive than generating your own content. Content creation is the process of writing, editing, and publishing your own content on your communication channels. While this strategy can absorb a lot of time, it is imperative that organizations also utilize this method when communicating with constituents.

The creation of new content helps you share your voice and mission. The organizations that you partner with will not have the same perspective on all news items. This is what makes your organization unique. Generating new content helps you illustrate your organization’s viewpoint and opinion on why something is important. Content creation also helps drive new people to your organization or cause. Original content is effective for increasing your brand awareness.

If you interact with a lot of nonprofits you’ll find some organizations that skew very heavily on content curation. This can be caused by a variety of internal issues – many of which are related to time management and resources. You’ll see a Twitter feed that is primarily retweets or a Facebook page that is heavily influenced by shared posts. Finding a balance between creation and curation is important to your content strategy.

Another critical step to developing your strategy is creating a documented strategy. While this may seem obvious, there are many organizations that haven’t had the staff or time to develop a documented content strategy. As you can imagine, this has an impact on effectiveness. According to a Content Marketing Institute survey in 2013, “52% of nonprofit professionals who have a documented content strategy rate themselves highly in terms of effectiveness, compared with 14% of those without a documented strategy.”

Creating or evaluating your content strategy to ensure you are effectively balancing creation and curation will have a positive long-term impact on your organization’s success.

This blog post was content creation. The links below are content curation. We thought you might enjoy them.

  1. Taylor Maxwell of M&R shares some lessons learned from last month’s NYC Social Media Week with their usual mix of enjoyable gifs.
  2. Amy Sample Ward makes the statement pretty clear in her post – “Technology is everyone’s job because being an effective organization making real progress towards the mission is everyone’s job.”
  3. John Haydon provides three secrets to convert volunteers to donors.
  4. Do you have an email sign-up form on your website? Kim Stiglitz of Vertical Response explains the benefits and provides tips on implementation.
Four Ways Your Nonprofit Can Listen

Four Ways Your Nonprofit Can Listen

In a recent meeting someone said, “Listening is a skill that never goes out of fashion”. This sentiment is especially true in the nonprofit world. Listening to your donors, volunteers, or individuals that your programs serve is critical to building and sustaining support. Below are four areas in which your organization may be able to do a better job of listening.

Why do you support this cause?

How often are you able to ask and understand an individual’s reason for donating or volunteering their time with your organization? Knowing why someone is supporting your cause is important for sustaining that relationship. Why did they pick your organization over your peers? Can this help in future communication? If you hear that they like your organization’s research program or grass-roots approach, you’ll be able to better communicate with this supporter in the future.

Post-event survey

Many organizations send out a post-event survey to participants. How often are you able to sit down and assess that feedback? What do you do with that information once it is collected? For surveys in which the respondent provides their contact information, it is important to follow-up with them after their survey. Thank them for taking the time to reply, address negative feedback they had, or ask follow-up questions that may be helpful for future planning. This is an opportunity to hear their feedback and help them understand that you’re listening.

What communication do they want to receive?

Many nonprofits have wide-variety of communication topics that they send their supporters across a number of different channels. Asking an individual what type of message and channel they want to be communicated with is a great way to ensure that you’re listening to them. Knowing when to segment messages and when to include them in an email group or mailing list illustrates an understanding of what they need.

Face-to-face communication

Philanthropic support is often driven by the cause – someone chooses to give to an organization based on their mission. Sustained giving is often driven by the relationship manager. As a supporter builds a relationship with an organization they grow closer to the individuals they interact with at the organization. The best relationship managers know when to talk and when to listen. This attentiveness isn’t related to just their involvement with the nonprofit, it should be focused on the individual. What are their interests? What are they passionate about? Knowing this information allows you to be better support them as a relationship manager.

Below are a few links from the week that we enjoyed.

  1. Frank Barry discusses the trends in mobile fundraising.
  2. Ruth McCambridge highlights recent diversity information released by The Council on Foundations.
  3. Donor complaints are something that we’ve all had to deal with. Jeff Brooks discusses two types and the best ways to deal with them.
  4. David Cohen of Social Times shares data from Social Code’s analysis of Facebook Ad pricing by age.
  5. Jeanne Bell of CompassPoint and Stephanie Roth of the Haas, Jr. Fund are seeking stories of fundraising success.
Best Practices to Moderate Conversation on Digital Platforms

Best Practices to Moderate Conversation on Digital Platforms

Content creation and curation can be incredibly time consuming for small and mid-sized nonprofit organizations. In a work environment with time constraints, it can be challenging to carve out time to manage the ensuing conversation once you click publish.

Who is commenting on your blog or social media posts? What is their intent? Is it aligned with your communication goals? When should you delete comments? These are all questions that community managers encounter when monitoring responses to outgoing content.

Deleting Comments

There are challenges with deleting comments – depending on the person/comment it may only exacerbate the issue. Holding an internal discussion about what will prompt your organization to delete a comment and publically stating that on your platform is important to maintaining a cohesive and supportive community.

Any comments that are clearly spam and trying to get your readers to click on their link, which is not related to the blog piece or social media post can be deleted. This helps ensure that your readers don’t accidentally download a virus and get caught in a phishing scam.

There are also subtler forms of spam that can be challenging to determine if they’re legitimate or not. We are challenged with this issue on our own blog. At times people may post a comment that seems related to our content but is actually driving readers to a link that is potentially harmful. These may need to be decided on a case-by-case basis. If you delete something that a legitimate commenter wrote and they contact you, often a simple explanation of why you thought it was spam could help defuse hostility they may be feeling.

Open hostility is something that you can face from other commenters. It’s important to determine what is acceptable and what will be automatically deleted. Any comments that are offensive, bigoted, or contain inappropriate language should be deleted by your moderator.

Negative but non-offensive comments or individuals attempting to “troll” your organization is harder to combat. Deleting these comments can often make an issue worse. It is important to use these conversations to create a healthy dialogue about the issue and attempt to fix it. If a reader seems to be purposefully antagonizing the writer or organization, sometimes your community will step in and attempt to deal with the trolling behavior.

It is critical to always remain positive and optimistic in your communication. While responding with an amusing insult or quip is very tempting – it will almost always make the situation worse. You are responsible for maintain civility even in the wake of overwhelming negativity.

Rewarding Good Behavior

A great way to encourage your community to develop is to reward positive comments or communication. The following are ways in which you can reward the readers who took the time to support your content:

Facebook – Like their comment. While this can set up a dangerous precedent, as you have to decide if any comments are not worthy of being liked, it an extremely positive way to reward the people that leave positive comments on your Facebook Posts.

Twitter – Favorite and/or ReTweet. Retweeting is the best way to highlight someone’s positive response to something you shared on Twitter. If you’re concerned that the number of tweets that you’re producing is too high than you can just favorite their tweet. The new Twitter design gives favorited tweets a more prominent place when looking at an individual or organization’s Twitter account.

Blog – Respond to comments. If someone asks a question or provides a thoughtful comment to a blog post, be sure to reply to the comment. It helps your community understand that you support this discussion and subtly encourages people to take a more active role in commenting on your blog.

All platforms –Thank your supporters. Thank often. If a Facebook post generates a lot of positive comments, likes, and shares than post a comment that thanks everyone for their thoughts and shares. Some nonprofits thank their followers that retweet content with a special message at the end of the day/week. People like to be thanked and it always helps to ensure that users know you’re paying attention to the conversation.

These are some of the ways to handle the negative and positive aspects of managing your community. This seems like an excellent time to thank all of readers who comment in our blog and share our content on social media platforms. We greatly enjoy our work and being supported by our friends, colleagues, and even strangers has been an amazing and rewarding experience.

If you’re looking for a further reading, we recommend these links:

  1. NTEN interviewed Allyson Kapin, Co-founder of Rad Campaign, about their recent survey assessing online harassment of adults.
  2. Patrick Sullivan of the Nonprofit Times discusses the recent publishing of the 2015 Digital Outlook Report from Care2, NTEN and hjc. An increased focus in video and images is anticipated in 2015.
  3. What can nonprofits learn from Phish? Apparently a lot! Suzy Greenberg of M+R shares four lessons from Phish including a mention of of our friends at Giving Comfort.
  4. Ariana Eunjung Cha of the Washington Post interviews Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen and chat about philanthropy in Silicon Valley.
  5. Can a change.org petition change Facebook’s algorythem for nonprofits? Ernie Smith of Associations Now details the issue and criticism of Facebook.
Planning for Future Technology and Communication Needs

Planning for Future Technology and Communication Needs

We’ve been working with a client on strengthening how they use Salesforce. During this process, I’ve realized that their Bucket set-up is no longer the best option for their organization. A one-to-one model makes more sense. If you’re curious about the difference click here. When the organization set up their Salesforce account, a bucket model made more sense. After ten years, their audience and data needs have changed.

How do you balance short-term ease and long-term flexibility? What may be the easiest and most cost-effective solution may cause issues in the future. Strategic plans can (sometimes) be beneficial, but for technology and communications planning, it’s impossible to plan five years in the future. For small nonprofits, this is a critical challenge. How can you justify investing in a more comprehensive online fundraising platform if you’re concerned about keeping the lights on.

As you’re thinking about the future, there are a few trends to consider for planning. Below we highlight a few questions to consider for each area.

Text Messages

Do you see any possibility of utilizing text messaging to communicate with your supporters? If so, what could that program look like? Who is your target audience? What segmentation would you want to create?

Mapping out these ideas is important to do before looking for vendors to help with this issue. Balancing strategy and technological capability can be tricky. You want to find the technology to meet your needs, instead of developing your strategy based off of the limitations of the product you signed a contract for.

Mobile App Development

Our industry is fraught with people claiming to have the silver bullet to solve your fundraising or visibility problems. Social media will not single-handedly create a new donor base. A “viral” video will not make your cause an overnight sensation. A major gifts officer cannot bring their robust rolodex and create a major gifts program overnight.

Some nonprofits have developed mobile applications to support their work. The successful apps are solving an issue and providing a convenience for the user. While mobile applications can have value, they won’t succeed without a purpose. Who is your target audience? Why should they download this? What solution, convenience, or entertainment are you providing for the user? How does this tie into your mission?  These questions are critical to consider as you think about app development.

Database Management

This can be one of the most challenging areas to project. Your audience and communication channels will change. Your pipeline for programming or donations will evolve.

There are many questions to consider when thinking about your database in the future. Do you project your audience groups changing? How do you plan on connecting your database to outbound communication? At what rate has your database been growing? Do you foresee any reasons that growth may increase or decrease? Do you think that the relationship management of your constituents will change?

These questions are a starting point for your organization to begin discussions around how you plan for your changing technology and communication needs in the future.

Below are a few links from the last week that we enjoyed:

  1. When DoSomething.org accidentally sent a text message intended for 4,000 people to their 2.1million list, they had to react quickly to avoid a fall-out. The Chronicle of Philanthropy provides the details on their response.
  2. January is critical to donor retention. Allison Gauss of Stay Classy shares the reasons why.
  3. Carolyn Stein of Network For Good updates year end online giving numbers.
  4. Someone who I recently followed on Twitter and highly recommend is Sheena Greer. I enjoyed her playdate concept and the need for creating safe spaces for nonprofit professionals.
  5. And the recommended longer read of the week is from Steve Boland of NPQ who details advantages, challenges, and data with different giving day structures.

How Nonprofits Can Manage Individuals Who Unsubscribe from Emails

How Nonprofits Can Manage Individuals Who Unsubscribe from Emails

As we approach the year-end giving season, your organization is likely increasing the quantity of outgoing emails and focusing them on giving. For most nonprofits this will lead to an increase in users who unsubscribe from your email communication. No matter how much time you dedicate to crafting the perfect content, segments for different audiences, and subject line – someone will opt out. This is the cold harsh reality of nonprofit emails.

How do you manage the individuals who unsubscribe?

After someone clicks unsubscribe in an email system, they’re opting out of future email communication from that same system. Constant Contact, Vertical Responses, Blackbaud, and MyEmma all work to ensure that those audience members will not automatically receive messages in the future. What else can you do?

Tracking email opt-outs in your database is a time-consuming but valuable task. This helps you understand if there are certain types of audience members who are opting out of your content. Tracking this information is a useful data point to better understand your email content. While time is always a challenge, this is a great volunteer activity or something you can do while catching up on your favorite reality tv show.

How do you communicate with your users who unsubscribe?

For many organizations the majority of individuals who unsubscribe are audience members that staff don’t have a personal relationship with. They’re likely someone who signed up for an email or registered for an event in the distant past. There isn’t much you can do for these individuals.

But, many organizations also struggle with key audience members opting out of communication. This could be due to the number of emails they receive or because they went on an email clean-up binge. A former colleague had to deal with irate volunteer event chair who was upset that she was not receiving email messages. When told the exact date and email that she opted out with, the volunteer replied, “I didn’t realize that opting out of your emails meant I wouldn’t receive your emails.”

If you notice a key volunteer unsubscribed to your email, you can reach out to them personally. It’s imperative not to automatically opt them back into email. Pick up the phone or send a personal email and ask what caused them to opt of communication. If you position the conversation as they’re helping you make better decisions and write stronger communication, the volunteer will be more likely to share their feedback.

How do you prevent users unsubscribing from email communication?

We’ve discussed how to handle individuals who unsubscribe, but what steps can you take to prevent them from even happening?

Types of emails – What are the kinds of emails you’re sending and how do the subscribe rates vary per email? Are you sending the same type of email multiple times in a row? If you’re seeing much higher rates for advocacy related email content, then it might make sense to better educate your supporters on how advocacy affects your organization’s mission. Another opportunity is to create a segment of users who want to receive advocacy updates.

Email frequency – What is the pace of your emails? Are you sending them too frequently? This is obviously one of the biggest reasons for individuals who unsubscribe – if your audience receives too many messages that are not of interest to them it will lead to an increased unsubscription rate..It can be challenging to balance long-term goals with your short-term communication needs. A client we work with wanted to send a “Registration closes in two days” email a few days after sending a “Registration closes in one week” email. It was important to balance the need for the organization to remind their procrastinators to sign up against a potential increased rate of individuals unsubscribing from their future communication. These are important questions to consider when mapping out your communication schedule.

Email segments – How are segmenting your email communication? Is content is going to the appropriate audience members? How can you make your email communication more specific and relevant to key audience groups? These are all questions to consider when developing email segments. Relevancy is a critical part of email communication and taking small steps to adjust content for key audiences can have a large impact on unsubscribe rates.

Create options – If someone clicks on your unsubscribe link where do they go? Can you provide options of the audience member only receiving certain types of email content? Giving an email recipient space to self-select the content that is most relevant to them provides a final step to prevent them from opting out from your email communication entirely.

We wish you a luck with your year-end giving campaigns and low opt-out rates. Feel free to opt-in to reading some links from the last two weeks that you might enjoy.

  1. Dustin Kight from M&R provides two perspectives on Giving Tuesday.
  2. Do you struggle with using the right image format? Melanie Pinola of Lifehacker shares an infographic that helps you know when to use .jpg, .gif, and .png.
  3. Molly Reynolds discusses the impact charitable giving can have for businesses.
  4. John Stancliffe of NPQ evaluates the google grants for nonprofits limits and their challenges.
  5. Many people have begun using Medium as a publishing tool. Jason Abbruzzese of Mashable profiles Ev Williams and discusses the future of Medium.
  6. Darren Beck of Sprint shares five free ways to support charities with your mobile device during the holiday season.