[originally published DMAW AdVents, June 2007]
It is no secret in direct mail (DM) that recency is key to successful fundraising. We all send appeals to donors who have just given and would never even consider prospecting to rented lists full of old names.
So how to do we take this long-standing DM lesson and apply it to our growing email lists? What is the best strategy for converting new email subscribers into donating members?
Not surprisingly, a 2005 study conducted by Informz showed that click-through rates dropped noticeably 30 days after the name was acquired and even more drastically after 60 days. Clearly this indicates the importance of contacting new online subscribers as soon as possible. But how soon, exactly? And what should that contact look like? Is it better to cultivate the new email subscriber before asking for the first gift? Or, is it more effective to cut to the chase and make the initial contact a direct fundraising ask?