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Email Marketing Lessons Learned from Giving Tuesday

If you’re like most other people, chances are you spent the entire holiday weekend, from the moment you set the fork down at Thanksgiving to the wee hours of Monday morning, shopping. However, once the fervor of Black Friday and Cyber Monday wore down, did you realize that there’s a new player for your holiday attention – Giving Tuesday – right on the horizon? If you’re a member of the nonprofit community looking to leverage an email marketing campaign to increase donations, there’s plenty of lessons waiting for you and your upcoming operations in this look back at the most successful Giving Tuesday ever.

What Is Giving Tuesday?

First off, this retrospective won’t make much sense if you have no clue what Giving Tuesday is, so let’s spend a few minutes going over the particulars. Essentially, this new member to the holiday season aims to provide a more impactful and heartfelt element to the shopping craze that takes place on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Instead of buying products and services during the massive sales on these days, proponents of this alternative implore consumers to divert these funds to a variety of charitable causes and other goodwill operations.

The Email Marketing Connection

As admirable as this sentiment is, you’re probably wondering what exactly Giving Tuesday has to do with email marketing right about now. According to Ernie Smith of Associations Now magazine, the answer to this question rests in a single word – everything. As Smith notes in his review of the most recent Giving Tuesday, email marketing played a major role in spreading the word for these charitable causes, in addition to pumping up donation totals to unheard of levels.

Don’t believe it? Consider this fact; Cyber Monday lead the way as usual with the highest number of marketed email messages, clocking in at 54.6 million. However, Giving Tuesday and the charitable organizations backing this process easily trumped Black Friday’s 40.5 million emails and overtook second place with an astounding 48.3 million such offerings.

What’s even more impressive is that the number of individual email marketing campaigns enacted during this period helped cement this upward trend in a big way. Despite not firing off as many marketing messages, more organizations enacted Giving Tuesday initiatives than ever before. In fact, this number of unique campaigns – which stood at 7,626 – roared past the 7,216 of Cyber Monday and the 3,660 offered up on Black Friday.

Gauging the Impact of This Year’s Holiday

Of course, email marketing is a bottom line business, so tossing around abstract facts and figures only goes so far. To help put this growth into perspective, Brett Zongker of ABC News reports that this Giving Tuesday brought in approximately $46 million worth of donations, thanks in large part to effective email marketing campaigns. Considering that this number is a 63 percent increase over last year’s similar 24 hour period, it’s safe to say that the nonprofit organizations that utilized email marketing during this time of year were clearly onto something special.

Building Your Next Nonprofit Email Marketing Campaign

Now that you’re up to speed with the particulars of this most charitable of holiday traditions, it’s time to delve into the lessons learned from these campaigns. By doing this, you’ll have all the tools needed to make your next email campaign aimed at former and future donors a major hit, even if Giving Tuesday is in the rearview mirror.

According to Emma Wilhelm of Business 2 Community, if you want to follow in the footsteps of these successful charitable campaigns, it all starts with keeping things simple. Instead of dancing around the subject, try to make the message as clear and straightforward as possible. Some of the most evocative calls-to-action lay out the need for help right at the top of the email, ensuring that these readers understand just how important their aid can be to your cause.

From here, utilizing the body of the message to explain donation amounts can help spur viewers into action. By seeing preferred amounts, as well as exactly where this money is going, Wilhelm explains that donors during Giving Tuesday, or any other day, are more receptive to the idea of helping out.

However, the most powerful lesson learned from these emails comes in the form of the continued bond between nonprofit email marketing campaigns and social media. By requesting shares, likes, favorites, and all other manner of digital proliferation, your message can take on a whole new life outside of the inbox. Regardless of what charity or cause you support, it’s hard to deny that this, along with the rest of the lessons learned from this past Giving Tuesday, will come in handy the next time you plan an email marketing campaign on behalf of your organization.

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About Victor Green

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