Ruthellen Rubin
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The Nonprofit Blog

Annual Appeal: Email or Direct Mail ... redux

How nice to have comments.   (Of course it helps that I bribe my Masters students, offering extra credit for their comments on my blog.)

There is so much to say about email vs direct mail (in reaching out to prospective donors) that another blog entry is in order.  Certainly, the email appeal should mirror the original appeal as should it mirror the donation page of our website.  Branding and a uniform Case for Support will help donors understand that we know what we're doing.  Repetition is good as long as we tweak the presentation to get people's attention.  Some respond to a long letter, others respond to a great photo or a catchy phrase.  The important thing is to analyze and measure the response to different presentations of your appeal.

Just as we pay special attention to the look of the envelope in direct mail (make the prospect feel he/she is going to miss something if he/she does not open that envelope,) be sure to consider very carefully exactly what you will say in the subject line of the email appeal.  Gather the creative energy of your staff together to brainstorm a subject line that will implore the prospect to open and read the email.   

The onslaught of annual appeals is about to begin.  Study carefully which ones make an impression on you, and why. 

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