Target Your Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Email Communications for Better Results

This article was originally posted on NonProfit PRO’s blog.

Despite social media’s popularity, email continues to be an important tool in a nonprofit organization’s peer-to-peer fundraising toolkit. But even as email technology has become more sophisticated, many organizations still send out generic recruitment and fundraising messages to their constituents and participants.

In fact, the Salesforce Fundamentals of Marketing and Engagement at Nonprofit Organizations Report shows that 83% of organizations say they rely heavily on batch and blast email to communicate with constituents. Seventy percent say they do not differentiate their messaging to different constituents.

It’s time to turn this approach around by targeting your peer-to-peer fundraising communications. Doing so will make your emails more compelling and ultimately more effective.

Consider these ideas for creating more targeted and engaging email messages:

  1. Audience creation
    Have you ever received a “please join us” email after you’ve already registered for an event? Sometimes this happens because a constituent is using more than one email address or has duplicate (unmerged) constituent records. Some of these issues are within an organization’s control (through regular data maintenance and deduplication efforts) while others, including constituents using different emails and slightly different names, are harder to identify and rectify. Regardless, every effort should be taken to maintain a clean data environment and create custom audiences with tailored messages.
  2. Recruitment emails
    Creating email audiences based on past participation, past team membership, and past fundraising is important. By doing so, you can send targeted messages such as an early announcement email to past team captains, inviting them to register and reclaim their teams for your current campaign. Targeted communications help foster a sense of importance in constituents as they receive “insider” information.

    A few days after your early announcement, you could send an email to all past participants, excluding those who have registered. The hope would be that your general past participant audience will click through to see teams that have already been formed, with participants registered and fundraising for the new campaign — encouraging them to take action as well.

    Continue to send recruitment emails to non-registrants with new messaging, and highlight early-bird discounts on a regular basis.
  3. Fundraising/coaching emails
    Instead of sending general emails to all participants, limit communication to specific sub-sections of registrants and focus calls to action on raising more funds overall. For example, send an email exclusively to participants who haven’t updated their personal fundraising pages; include examples of constituents who have done so, and steps on how to upload their own image and story.

    Another message could go out to participants who have updated their personal pages, but have not raised any money, to say “great job, your page looks awesome,” and include tips for posting to social media and sample text for sending fundraising emails to friends. Yet another message could be created for team captains to share tips for recruiting additional team members.

  4. Communication automation
    Work toward automating your email and social media communications so you have more time to focus on optimizing other aspects of your peer-to-peer fundraising campaign. Just imagine the time savings if you can schedule and send peer-to-peer emails automatically after participants register, receive a donation, or post to social media. Or, if you can create an entire communications calendar, and then pre-schedule the associated emails.

    Even when your communications are automated, be prepared to adjust your campaign messaging as needed, based on recruitment and fundraising trends identified through your peer-to-peer platform’s reports and dashboards.

Take the next step

There’s an important thing you need to send targeted, personalized messages: data. Today’s more sophisticated peer-to-peer platforms can capture a wealth of participant, donor, and event meta data. And your ability to send targeted messages depends heavily on your peer-to-peer fundraising software and how data flows between it and your database of record.

Here are two resources to help you understand key considerations about peer-to-peer platforms and find the right platform for your organization:

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