One easy way to collect email addresses

content marketing

Recent news about clothing companies collecting customer body measurements got me thinking about nonprofit organizations and email acquisition. The Washington Post detailed how clothing companies are able to cross-reference measurements and other highly personal data with purchase data to gain extraordinary insight into their customer's preferences and habits.

Where's all this data coming from? Customers themselves.

The lesson here for nonprofit organizations is that people are willing to voluntarily share information in exchange for something of value to them. Some clothing shoppers are happy to share their measurements in exchange for more easily being able to find and purchase clothing that fits.

Younger people are particularly willing to share personal information. In their study Beyond the Bull's-eye, C Space found that younger people were much more inclined to share information about themselves in exchange for a discount or other perks. (Notice that if you want to download this study, you have to provide your email address!)

What does your organization have to offer that will make people happily share their email address with you? Are there tool kits or other content you already have on hand?  How about low-value, mission-aligned items like unique stickers or buttons? Could you offer a webinar on a topic of interest to people who are likely to support you?

This type of content marketing is an excellent way to move your social media followers and people who who browse your website along the continuum from casual engagement to giving. In general, you'll be much more successful soliciting donations via email than via social media. But first you need to get those email addresses.

Once someone's given you their email address, be sure they receive their swag right away. If it's a download, you may be able to use your web platform or your email tool to distribute the goods. After that, be sure to follow up (not too often) with engaging emails that share your organization's mission and impact. Don't solicit immediately, but do build solicitation into your plan.

Take a look at your email tool: can you set up a series of emails that can be automatically scheduled based on a specific trigger? This can be a great way to personalize your outreach to people who give you their email address, while saving you time.

If you'd like to do this in your fundraising shop, check out this post that gets into the nitty-gritty of setting your automated email collection system up.

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