A new prospect provides you with his/her email address on the initial contact (maybe a donation envelope, attending an event, requesting information).
Devise a strategy for your future email contacts, to maximize the results from the sharing of this precious information.
Frequency (as with all your communications) is important. You decide if it’s once a month or more or less frequently. Remember: if you bombard your new contact with emails, you become a pest, you risk being ignored, or “blocked” into the Junk folder. If the timing of your email communications seems random and rare, you aren’t building a relationship.
Timing is also critical. One great time to email is when the need is highly visible (people need heat in a worse-than-usual winter; hurricane demands response ). Another time is a few weeks before the giving season—so you’ll be top-of mind when the actual solicitation hits (and have a better chance of preempting the top position on the donor’s giving list). Give careful consideration to whether the giver of a recent gift should be exempt from your next solicitation.
Content is key. If you send a regular monthly solicitation, and no other email correspondence, your message is that you are interested only in the donor’s money. One organization I support sends me an email about every two weeks—with varied content. Sometimes an invitation to an event of interest, sometimes news of an accomplishment in the organization or news related to the organization’s mission in the world beyond our community, sometimes an opportunity to contribute time or money in a new way, sometimes seeking input. It feels like a friendship, not a repetitive one-way ask.
Email strategy is a careful balance of friend-building and cultivation, of building the donor/prospect’s interest in the mission. Done right, it pays off in many ways!