Why emailing too deep can hurt your online fundraising

One of the cool things about email fundraising is you can send as many as you want, no additional cost, right?

Wrong. There can be a steep cost to sending too many emails, as reported in The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s Social Philanthropy blog: The Dangers of an Inactive E-Mail List.

If you’re getting low open rates, email providers know that, and can consider you a spammer…

… if not enough supporters open the messages, the providers will stop delivering the messages to subscribers’ inboxes.

It seems grotesquely unfair, but your emails can get crushed by the actions of email providers. The best campaign ever conceived can fail because your previous campaigns didn’t get opened enough.

This means don’t mail your inactive email names too often. They’re the ones least likely to open your messages and get you labeled as a spammer.

Turns out good list hygiene and prudent contact schedules are just as important in email as direct mail. Who knew?


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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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About the blogger

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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