Mark Becker founded Cathexis Partners in 2008 to help nonprofit organizations get the most from their existing technology tools, implement new technology to address gaps, and find the best overall approach to using technology to support their missions. He previously served as director of IT consulting at a fundraising event production company focused on nonprofits.
Email continues to be an important tool in a nonprofit’s peer-to-peer fundraising toolkit. But even as email technology has become more sophisticated, many organizations still send generic recruitment and fundraising emails to their constituents and participants.
It’s time to turn this approach around by sending more targeted peer-to-peer fundraising email communications. Doing so will make your emails more compelling to participants and ultimately more effective for your campaigns.
Here are some ideas for creating more targeted and engaging email messages for your peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns:
1. Take control of your data.
There’s something important that you need to send targeted, personalized messages: data. Today’s more sophisticated peer-to-peer fundraising platforms can capture a wealth of participant, donor, and event data. Make sure your peer-to-peer fundraising software integrates with your customer relationship management (CRM) system or donor database so you’re using up-to-date and accurate data.
2. Keep your data clean.
Speaking of accurate data, have you ever received a “please join us” email after you’ve already registered for an event? This can happen when a constituent uses more than one email address to interact with your organization or has duplicate (unmerged) constituent records.
Some of these types of issues are within your 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 correct. Regardless, be sure to make every effort possible to maintain a clean data environment so you can create custom audiences and send tailored messages to the right addresses.
3. Send targeted 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 just to past team captains, inviting them to register and reclaim their teams for your current campaign.
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 already registered and fundraising for the new campaign — which is more likely to encourage them to take action as well.
Continue to send targeted recruitment emails to non-registrants with new messaging and highlight early-bird discounts on a regular basis.
4. Target your coaching and fundraising emails too.
Instead of sending general emails to all participants, target communications to specific subsets of registrants. For example, send an email only 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.
5. Automate your targeted communications.
Work toward automating your email communications so you have more time to focus on optimizing other aspects of your peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns. Just imagine the time savings if you could schedule and send peer-to-peer emails automatically after participants register, receive a donation, or post to social media. Or, if you could create an entire communications calendar, and then pre-schedule all of 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.
These basics will go a long way toward helping you create targeted peer-to-peer fundraising messages that get results.
Additional Fundraising Resources
Looking for more resources to help you make the most of your next peer-to-peer fundraiser? Check out these articles for more tips and tidbits to help your nonprofit surpass your fundraising goals: