It’s no big revelation that people are more likely to open emails from people they know. But when it comes to email fundraising, this becomes a major advantage for nonprofits. Email senders are amazingly effective fundraisers; in fact, the more emails people send, the more money they raise.
According to the 2015 Blackbaud Peer-to-Peer (3-Year) Study, its “super email senders” group (those who sent 15 or more emails) raised more than twice the funds than those who sent one to 14 emails. In addition, fundraising emails sent by participants perform significantly better than bulk or multi-recipient emails sent by nonprofits.
The Blackbaud study also notes that P2P participant emails for events have an average open rate of 40 percent and click-through average of 22 percent, compared with an average open rate of 15 percent and click-through average of 0.61 percent for bulk solicitations.
One way organizations can encourage participants to send more emails is to provide suggested messages they can use to share your mission and make a strong fundraising ask. Unfortunately, the use of suggested messages has been declining steadily across the industry. Why is this happening?
Challenge 1. To use suggested messages on a mobile device, a participant must upload their contacts list via their desktop to use the contacts on mobile. As participants increasingly use their mobile devices for fundraising, needing to access the site on a desktop to complete this step creates a barrier to use.
Challenge 2. If a participant does login on a desktop to upload their contacts, the process is confusing and can differ depending on which email client the participant uses. Most participants don’t have the necessary technical know-how to export their contacts in the correct format, which leads to frustration and poor user experience — and deters people from using a valuable fundraising tool. In addition, participants may have privacy concerns about having to upload their contacts. It’s a significant problem because it can result in an overall decrease in fundraising activity and conversely, result in an increase in support calls to the organization, creating a financial and resource drain.
Challenge 3. Organizations need to make the transition from desktop to mobile to respond to user expectations. According to “We Are Social,” as of January 2016, almost 40 percent of all website visits are done via mobile devices, a 21 percent increase over 2015. So when tools like participant centers are not mobile responsive, that can make navigating to and using that tool from a mobile device challenging.
Organizations that experience 40 percent or more in site traffic from mobile devices should strongly consider seeking a solution, particularly if they are seeing a decline in suggested message engagement or have experienced privacy concern inquiries from participants regarding uploading their contacts to the site.
We developed a mobile email plug-in for Blackbaud TeamRaiser that lets participants skip that unwieldy step of uploading their contact list to their participant center. The plug-in recognizes when a participant is on a mobile device and allows them to send suggested emails from their own mobile email app, using their own contact list.
The mobile email plug-in helps create a more pleasant user experience for participants by eliminating the need to upload their contact list. And, in turn, they can more easily take advantage of those suggested messages to send more emails and raise more money.