Here are some important numbers that have crossed our laptops in the past few days.

First, politics and cyberspace. Through our research umbilical cord, the folks at Pew Internet Project, comes the news that on a typical day in August 2006, 26 million Americans turned to the internet for news or information about politics and the upcoming mid-term elections. That number translates into one out of five adult internet users, and is two-and-a-half times the number at a comparable point before the 2002 mid-terms. For college grads — the folks who give $$ to causes and candidates — the number is 55%. Pew imputes this to higher penetration of broadband, and more varied and interesting political content from sources like YouTube … NOT, surprisingly, to higher levels of interest in voting this year. Full info here.

Second, speaking of broadband, here's a report from eMarketer indicating that two-thirds of all U.S. households now access the Internet, and fully 67% of these I-homes access via broadband connections. At the same time, this report for AOL Latino indicates that 55% of the U.S. Hispanic population is online, with 77% of this online audience using broadband access. The study observes: “Hispanics use social networking tools to communicate with friends and family. Sixty-eight percent use instant messaging; 63 percent share photos online; 52 percent read or post to blogs; 43 percent visit social networking sites; and 40 percent use VoIP or other Internet-based phone service.” That's state-of-the art communicating! If we were running a nonprofit ourselves, we'd sure be experimenting with delivering our message online to this politically ascendant community.

Finally, what about e-messaging? If we were seeking to get our message through online to Latinos or anyone else, we'd want to know that our e-messaging was getting delivered. So we'd be concerned about this study from Mindshare Interactive Campaigns indicating that 24% of the email messages from 28 tested nonprofits and political groups did not make it to the mailboxes of the people who requested them. BTW, a non-delivery percentage comparable to experience in the commercial e-marketing world.

In fact, Agitator is so concerned about this that we've arranged a special blog Post for next Monday, featuring interviews with the top tech guys at bigtime e-marketing firms GetActive and Convio. Effective email marketing is now an essential arrow in the quiver of nonprofit fundraisers and advocates. Make sure to read Monday's Agitator Post on this issue.

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