E-mail solicitations remain an effective tool for peer-to-peer fundraisers. But a new study suggests that charities need to do much more to encourage participants in their peer-to-peer fundraising events to utilize e-mail.
A 3-year review of peer-to-peer fundraising results for 169 charities by the technology company Blackbaud finds that only a small percentage of event participants solicit donations through emails. But those who do raise substantially more money.
For instance, only 5 percent of participants in 5k events raised money through e-mail. But those fundraisers achieved much higher fundraising totals — raising an average of $343 vs. the $34 raised by the average participant.
Participants in cycling events were the most likely to use email to raise money: the study showed that about 1 in 3 cyclists sent email solicitations. Those participants, in turn, raised nearly twice as much than the average cycling fundraiser.
“People who send emails are raising a ton more money,” says Blackbaud Senior Consultant Shana Masterson, one of the report’s co-authors. “But what concerns me is that we’re not pushing email as much as we once were. We tend to think that people aren’t using email as much as they used to, so we’re not encouraging them as much as we should. It’s becoming a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy.”
Masterson said there are a number of techniques charities can use to encourage their participants to use email — and it begins by making the act of sending emails as easy as possible. Sending emails might seem simple, but for those who aren’t professional fundraisers, the act of asking people to donate can be uncomfortable.
“Coach your participants to take one step at a time,” she says. “Emailing five or ten of your closest friends and family members is much easier to take on. It’ll build the participant’s confidence in sending emails because they’ll learn how to use the email tools, and also because that group of people is more likely to make a donation.”
As part of the coaching process, some charities develop step-by-step guides and how-to videos.
You should also consider creating and sharing a variety of email templates that participants can choose from.
The more help you can provide, she says, the more activity you are likely to see.