Monday, December 1, 2008

Urgent Advice: Send Email Appeal Today

Everyone wants a deal... even Santa
Everyone wants a deal these days... even Santa
For years, marketers have been focused on Black Friday as the biggest shopping day of the year. If anyone watched the news over the weekend, the day after Thanksgiving held its ground as one of the most significant days on the shopping calendar.

But here is my prediction: Today will be the largest day in online shopping of the year, and it could be the largest day in online donatons if we fundraisers can get our act together!

Why does today have so much potential?

None of us want to be at the office today. After spending days in the company of friends and family, we are all reminded of what is most important in this world. Since we're also feeling guilty about how little we've done for our loved ones, we want to find a way to make this Christmas extra special... particularly during this economy, when we cannot afford the traditional presents we might give.

Go around your office today and sneak a peak at people's monitors. You'll see eBay, Amazon, and other sites ... everyone is looking for a deal. As we get closer and closer to the holidays, we're also aware that we have to order today in order to get the gifts in our hands on time.

This is an amazing opportunity for non-profits to encourage tribute gifts!

Here is what we should be doing on the Monday after Thanksgiving each year:
  • Send an email to your entire list with a short, catchy subject like "Give the perfect gift this holiday season"
  • Make the email BRIEF and to-the-point: "Make a gift in someone's honor today, and we will ensure that they get a personal letter the week of Christmas to let them know that a gift has been made in their honor."
  • Consider getting your board to offer a challenge or matching grant to sweeten the offer
My guess would be that your open rates would be much higher than usual as people are sitting at their desk all day under the guise of "getting caught up from the holiday," and that your return rates will be higher than usual because of how much people prefer to take care of their holiday shopping list instead of work.

(By the way, emails are much more likely to get opened and read if you send them between 11:00 and 2:00 . . . so send them now!)

Like many people, I don't want anything this year. God help if my family buys me another sweater or tie that I don't need. The best thing that anyone could give me would be a gift in my name to one of the charities that I love. 

What better way to show me that you understand who I am and share my values? This is a message that I am going to convey to my family this year:

"Do not give me a gift. Instead, donate the amount that you would spend to one of the following organizations...."

If you are in the business of fundraising, I challenge you to do the same. Let us make live up to the highest standards of the noble calling that we have accepted. 

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