Avoiding the Costs Of Your Fundraising Email Being Labeled Spam

Date Published
10/18/2018

Fundraising emails are generally no more than a couple hundred words, taking but mere seconds to open and read.

However, the amount of time that nonprofits, charities and stations devote to developing email marketing campaigns is exponentially greater. And they desperately don’t want to see all their efforts go for naught by ending up in the spam folder. Not only is it a blow to the campaign, but also to donor retention and engagement.

Being labeled junk is a very real risk for organizations trying to raise funds. The costs of such a hit to an email campaign can be substantial, so fundraisers need to do everything they can to craft emails and a strategy that avoids the dreaded spam designation. Looking to best practices for donor management and outreach can help guide the way to inboxes.

One-fourth of nonprofit emails lost to spam

Fundraising email campaigns face the stark reality of spam being a big problem. Recently, The Nonprofit Times reported on a study that found a quarter of nonprofit emails ended up in spam folders in 2017. Each spam percentage point was found to result in a loss of about $1,255 per 100,000 email addresses, meaning up to $30,000 could be lost at the rate observed.

Among the factors blamed for causing spam labels were complicated unsubscribe processes, irrelevant emails, and unwanted emails.

With those unsavory characteristics of fundraising campaigns in mind, it’s important to brush up on some best practices for avoiding the spam folder.

Work around spammy language

This is an obvious tip to abide by, but it’s harder to pull off in practice than in theory. Marketers understand that ALL CAPS styling and excess use of exclamation points in the subject line can doom an email campaign, but they have to balance that knowledge with the fact they want recipients to open the message. You want to create intrigue, interest and urgency, but coming off too strong can tip the balance too far and relegate your emails to spam. There are other ways to construct subject line, so take some time to try different configurations, even A/B test them to ensure nothing is going to tank your campaign.

Don’t send from a generic address

Donors want to feel like their communications with a nonprofit or station are genuine, and fundraisers should want to reflect that tenor of engagement as much as they can. One factor that could negatively affect that path to an inbox is the email address you’re sending from. If it’s something like noreply@charityXYZ or marketing@stationA, email recipients are likely to disregard the communication because of its impersonal source.

However, if the email is from a real person (or at least an address with a real-sounding name), donors can make a familiar connection with the charity and the other communications they receive. Building up a sense of trust and goodwill with donors through email begins with allowing them to connect the organization with a name. It’s as simple as that.

Have relevant content

Blasting emails to your list regardless of preference or lacking personalization is a recipe for spam—email spam at least; nobody knows how the food product is made. Without focused, relevant content, donors are liable to tune out and mark your emails as junk.

Nonprofits need to ensure every facet of the email is informed by what they know about the recipient, and that begins with data. Collecting and analyzing donor data can point fundraisers in the right direction on email type, promotion, length or send time to ensure the content is as relevant as possible to the donor.

When looking for a solution to grant your organization that type of data analysis functionality, as well as general tools to running successful email campaigns, talk to Allegiance Fundraising today. With solutions built specifically for stations and nonprofits, Allegiance can be a valued partner and provider in donor management. Contact us today.

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