How to get your email supporters to unsubscribe

Lesley Pinder

A guest post on great (and not so great) email communications by Lesley Pinder, Friend in Need Manager at Depression Alliance. 

Email communications are powerful. Many think Barrack Obama won his first election largely off the back of his email marketing. Charities are not always brilliant at it, but for many, there is a concerted effort to build genuine engagement with donors, supporters and volunteers.

How to get supporters to unsubscribe

I hadn’t heard from one charity I like for a long time. But I recently got a missive that simply stated they were cleaning their database, and if I didn’t wish to support them, to click a black button and I’d never heard from them again. That was it.

I’m all for clean databases. But this was a chance to re-engage with supporters after a period of silence – but without being given a reason to stay subscribed, it became an exercise in alienating them.

What to ask supporters to keep them engaged

How about asking them:

– What they think of your emails
– Which of your projects interest them most (so you can send them updates about those ones)
– How often you should contact them

Most supporters will be delighted to be asked, and asked by a charity they love.

Ask without asking

Child's i photo
Child's i familyBy contrast, I also got an email from the brilliant Child’s i Foundation. They just wanted to thank me for my support and share these images from the last few months of their work in Uganda.

I felt great that my support was making a difference, that it had improved the lives of the families smiling at me on my screen. As both a fundraiser and supporter, I know I’m more likely to donate and volunteer with them in future.

How about you? How do you maintain a clean database while trying to keep supporters engaged with your work?

Do leave a comment below.

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