What can vampires teach us about Instant Unsubs? With more constituents reporting feeling overwhelmed by email overload and opting out of eCommunications, that’s a question we can really sink our teeth into!


The Twilight phenomenon is hopefully cluing a new generation of digital marketers into what those of us who grew up with Dark Shadows already knew. If you want to get someone to fall in love with you, you have to first get them to invite you in!

Just like in eCommunications, a vampire is powerless to enter a room without the permission of their intended victim/soulmate. But unlike, Edward, Barnabus and Dracula, who have multiple opportunities to entice prospects to let them in, nonprofits have very few chances to make their case before constituents slam the door, nail windows shut or break out the garlic by exercising their option to Unsubscribe right when they register.


While vampires might be mythical, rising Instant Unsub rates are real. In a recent review of Charity Dynamics clients using Blackbaud’s Luminate Online, we found that 19% of people registering on nonprofit websites were opting out DURING the registration process. And when you look at the data by some of nonprofits’ most desired types of constituents, the results are even scarier:

Type of Constituent Instant Unsub Rate

New “Forwarded Email” Registrants 29%

New Fundraising Event Participants 30%

New Advocates 46%

New Tell-a-Friend Registrants 47%

New Online Donors 59%

New Fundraising Event Donors 68%

What’s a nonprofit digital marketer to do?



If you don’t like what you see in YOUR opt out numbers, use this easy tip to start moving your numbers in a better direction. Immediately after someone clicks that Opt-Out box (or unclicks the Opt-In box), use your “autoresponder” email to help them see the error of their ways and invite you back in. Provided your email platform allows you to show different types of people different content, add a call out box or banner in your email for those who just opted out letting them know what they will be missing along with a prominent link to update their email preferences. Something like: “Did you know that you’re currently opted out of receiving email communication from us? That means you’re going to miss out on important updates and information like ______ (fill in the blank with an example that will remind them why they registered). “

Of course, once your victim opts in, make sure you’ve made it worth their while! Don’t suck them dry with meaningless emails that don’t speak to why they joined. Instead, make Edward and Barnabus proud by providing relevant and meaningful content and engagement opportunities. That will make your new constituents feel like a real partner in your work and want to spend eternity with you.


The Creative & Strategy Practice at Charity Dynamics is dedicated to mulling over current trends, fleshing out recommendations and vetting new opportunities in the digital nonprofit world. Partner with us and gain insight into what’s new, what’s worth pursuing and what your organization can do to change the world.