Return Path, an email marketing consultancy, offers some excellent recommendations about managing your email marketing (donor and activist) files.

Their report, based on studying 61 leading commercial email marketers, is called: Keeping the Subscriber Experience Positive After "Unsubscribe Me" (you’ll need to register at ReturnPath to download).

Some interesting factoids:

  • 30% of these companies never sent an email message at all after the customer subscribed (HUH?!);
  • 70% collected information from the subscriber that could be used to customize future communications/offers, but of these, 75% didn’t do so (another HUH?!);
  • 20% continued to send messages to folks after they ostensibly unsubscribed (doing so more than 10 days after the unsubscribe request violates the CAN-SPAM Act).

ReturnPath offers some great suggestions for salvaging the Unsubscriber’s relationship. On the Unsubscribe landing page, offer these options to the customer/donor/activist:

  • Changing their email address;
  • Specify the frequency with which they’d like to be contacted in the future; and,
  • Specify the types of email contacts (e.g., interest areas) they’d like to receive in the future.

Obviously, not every subscriber can be saved, but an appreciable number can be. And it’s far easier to hold some than to replace them.


P.S. Right now, check your organization’s Unsubscribe feature. Is it a credit to your brand?

P.P.S. Correction: the other day, in this post, I incorrectly placed The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University instead at the University of Indiana. Several IU alums properly slapped my wrists. Sorry! University of Indiana, eat your heart out!



This article was posted in: Communications, Donor retention / loyalty / commitment, Nonprofit management, Online fundraising and marketing.
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