Why it’s hard to raise funds online

Here’s one of those depressing reminders of what we’re up against in email fundraising, from the Smart Insights Digital Marketing blog: The 3-5-7 rule for Email marketing. The rule goes like this:


  • 3 seconds to get their attention with your subject line and the from line
  • 5 seconds, once they’ve opened your message, to draw them in.
  • 7 seconds to get them involved, on the way to taking action

I don’t know how scientific these numbers are, but I’ll bet they’re at least in the ballpark of reality.

Your emails have to make it through a deadly gauntlet before they even have a chance of generating response. If you thought the mailbox was a cutthroat place, it’s nothing like the inbox. This is why response rates online are so low compared to direct mail.

Craft every part of your emails with this in mind.

Thanks to Be Relevant! Email Marketing Blog for the tip.


Comments

4 responses to “Why it’s hard to raise funds online”

  1. This is all spot on and important to recognise the need to make any messages, short, relevant, topical and newsworthy. Otherwise why would I want to hear from you anyway?
    Really worrying however is the latest research from nfpSynergy (at http://www.nfpsynergy.net/includes/documents/cm_docs/2011/p/passion_persistence_partnerships_2011_v2.pdf )showing that in the UK only 3.7% of voluntary income is actually generated by the net. Sobering thought for all our carefully crafted internet communications strategies!

  2. This is all spot on and important to recognise the need to make any messages, short, relevant, topical and newsworthy. Otherwise why would I want to hear from you anyway?
    Really worrying however is the latest research from nfpSynergy (at http://www.nfpsynergy.net/includes/documents/cm_docs/2011/p/passion_persistence_partnerships_2011_v2.pdf )showing that in the UK only 3.7% of voluntary income is actually generated by the net. Sobering thought for all our carefully crafted internet communications strategies!

  3. And many nonprofits make it even harder because of how they go about online fundraising.
    If you aren’t segmenting your constituents, then you’re making it harder on yourself. If you don’t keep your email lists clean, then you’re making it harder on yourself. If you aren’t messaging consistently and regularly, then you’re making it hard on yourself. If you make it hard to opt-in or opt-out, then you’re making it harder on yourself. If you send out emails without a clear call to action, then you’re making it harder on yourself.
    And then you send them to the actual donation form. This is where a whole other set of mistakes happen. Stop making it harder on yourself.

  4. And many nonprofits make it even harder because of how they go about online fundraising.
    If you aren’t segmenting your constituents, then you’re making it harder on yourself. If you don’t keep your email lists clean, then you’re making it harder on yourself. If you aren’t messaging consistently and regularly, then you’re making it hard on yourself. If you make it hard to opt-in or opt-out, then you’re making it harder on yourself. If you send out emails without a clear call to action, then you’re making it harder on yourself.
    And then you send them to the actual donation form. This is where a whole other set of mistakes happen. Stop making it harder on yourself.

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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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