For many nonprofits, building the base of contacts is the holy grail. More people to communicate with means more donations, right? Not if you’re not talking to them about the right things.
When a fundraising event is in your portfolio, it’s important to keep in mind that your event participants are a different breed of contact than your donors. If you cultivate them carefully, they can become loyal fundraisers and advocates for your organization.
However, some nonprofits treat their event participants the same way they might treat a one-time donor – they get the exact same email communication about every event and every fundraising plea. This becomes a problem when the non-event communication starts to rival or even outweigh the event communication. Opt-out rates skyrocket, and you lose the ability to communicate with your event participants to help them fundraise or even tell them where to show up on event day.
How can you avoid this? Keep your lists separate. If, like most nonprofits, your contacts are all in one database, make sure that the unsubscribe links in your email communication (and on any website forms) are clearly marked. The master unsubscribe link should let them know that they would be unsubscribing from all email, including important event communication.
Then offer a second link that allows them to unsubscribe from other (non-event-related) communication from your organization. Honor it, and ensure you don’t email those folks who don’t want to get non-event communication. You will still be able to nurture them as event fundraisers, and you won’t risk turning them off by filling their email inbox with messages they don’t want.
Don’t drop your event participants off your communication plan entirely. You still want to keep them engaged. But make sure that the communication they do get is on topic – about the event they are registered for and how to fundraise for it.