Monday, May 24, 2010

Size Matters. (Especially in Email Marketing)

This cartoon is by Courtney Gibbons.

I know.  It’s crude.  But at least I’ve got your attention.

At my organization, Care2, we spend our days helping nonprofits of all stripes grow their email lists so that they can acquire new members, donors and advocacy supporters.  At the risk of stating the obvious, I thought it might be worthwhile to explain the raison d’être behind our single-minded pursuit.

Here are 4 reasons size matters in email marketing.  Hopefully, they inspire you to quadruple the size of your online list!

1.  Bigger lists = More dough!  According to the eNonprofit Benchmark Study by NTEN and M+R Strategic Services, “One of the key determinants of grassroots strength is the size of an organization’s deliverable email list.  A larger list allows for greater success in just about every sphere of online engagement, from fundraising to advocacy to viral recruitment.  And, since managing a 100,000-person list takes nearly as much effort as managing a 1 million-person list, economies of scale make larger lists even more valuable.”

It’s not sexy, but online fundraising is a numbers game.  The more folks you’re able to solicit, the more donations you’ll get.  End of story.

2.  Bigger lists = More leverage with legislators.  Got 10,000 petition-signers behind your cause?  Great!  Got 100,000? Even better.

3.  Bigger lists = More opportunities for peer-to-peer fundraising.   People trust their friends at least as much – if not more than – they trust institutions.  We know this and need to encourage more donors to spread the love to their friends.  A larger list helps you do this with even greater gusto.  Imagine having the opportunity to tap into the networks of tens of thousands of donors.

4.  Bigger lists = More exposure when disaster strikes.  Don’t wait until the next earthquake, tsunami, legislative screw up or political scandal to build your list.  Start now, so that you will be ready when disaster happens.  This may sound self-serving.  It is.  Be smart.  Engage prospective donors and advocacy supporters now so that it’s easy to mobilize them when your story hits the news.

Any math majors out there?  I'll send a FREE copy of Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard to the first person who can decipher the cartoon above.  Leave your explanation in the comments.



justin said...

"an arbitrarily small positive quantity is commonly denoted [using the epsilon]"

I assume if this digging on Wikipedia is right...

"n" is looking for some value but the epsilon clearly isn't offering up a value large enough worth taking.

Jocelyn said...


You rock! Thanks for the help in deciphering "math" humor. Send me an email with your snail mail address to jocelyn_harmon (at) yahoo (dot) com and I'll forward the copy of Switch!


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