Nonprofit Guide: Giving Tuesday & Year-End Email Fundraising

June 10, 2024
41 minutes
EPISODE SUMMERY

Katelyn Baughan · CEO and Consultant, KB Digital | Katelyn Baughan, nonprofit email marketing expert and consultant to Trevor Project, UNHCR, and Amnesty International, has more than a few tactics to share for nonprofits looking to interact with supporters on a personal level while not draining them of resources.

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EPISODE NOTES

It’s a universal truth that people love to feel special. We all want to feel like we’re an indispensable part of something. It’s also true that each and every one of us has limitations on our time, money, and attention.

So with these realities coexisting, how can nonprofits interact with supporters on a personal level while not draining them of resources? Katelyn Baughan, nonprofit email marketing expert and consultant to Trevor Project, UNHCR, and Amnesty International, has more than a few tactics to share with Nonstop Nonprofit listeners.

As nonprofit fundraisers, you and I are used to feeling pressure to perform. It’s not uncommon for us to be told that without donations—literally our job, btw—our world will be a darker, sharper place. Katelyn’s antidote emphasizes speaking up during quieter moments, making magic happen in the harsh light of a screen, and elevating everyone’s experience through innovation.

So whether you’re in the thick of your busiest time of year or you’re a year-in-advance planner, Katelyn’s advice in this episode will help you use email to scale impact, retain donors, and align your communications—all while reminding you that you, too, are essential to our brighter tomorrow.

TRANSCRIPT

Hello and welcome to this episode of Nonstop Nonprofit!

It’s a universal truth that people love to feel special. We all want to feel like we’re an indispensable part of something. It’s also true that each and every one of us has limitations on our time, money, and attention.

So with these realities somehow coexisting, how can we as nonprofiteers interact with our supporters on a personal level while not draining them of resources? Katelyn Baughan, nonprofit email marketing expert and consultant to Trevor Project, UNHCR, and Amnesty International, has more than a few tactics to share with Nonstop Nonprofit listeners.

As nonprofit fundraisers, you and I are used to feeling pressure to perform. It’s not uncommon for us to be told that without donations—literally our job, btw—our world will be a darker, sharper place. Katelyn’s antidote emphasizes speaking up during quieter moments, making magic happen in the harsh light of a screen, and elevating everyone’s experience through innovation.

So whether you’re in the thick of your busiest time of year or you’re a year-in-advance planner, Katelyn’s advice in this episode will help you use email to scale impact, retain donors, and align your communications and grow your revenue. All while reminding you that you, too, are essential to our brighter tomorrow.

 

 

David Schwab Katelyn, thank you again for joining us today. I am so excited to dig into all things email and digital with you. This is probably my favorite slice of the nonprofit world, specifically fundraising. I can't wait to dig in and share your thoughts and your expertise with our audience. But before we get too far into it, I just want to ask you, you know, can you share a little bit about your background? What brought you into the nonprofit sector? What do you do at KB Digital? And then within that, how did email become your sweet spot?


 

Katelyn Baughan Thank you so much for having me, David. I've listened to your podcast for a while, so I'm so honored that you have me on it. I started my career doing digital marketing for tech companies and I wanted to take what I learned and really apply it to something more meaningful, and that's when I made the move to the nonprofit sector. In typical nonprofit form, I wore very many hat for a long time doing social web, email, digital advertising, really all of the things. But what I noticed was that email was what was moving the needle the most, especially for the smaller nonprofits that I worked at. When it came to donor retention and fundraising. So that's when I started noticing I was doing all this work with spending so many hours on social. But most of what was moving the needle was email, and that's what I enjoyed doing the most as well. So this year I actually honed in my consulting services on email marketing, and I help medium to large nonprofits with their email production. So everything from creating the strategy to executing and reporting on those emails and also doing some email audits on their programs altogether. So looking at their email programs and telling them what they're doing well, what they could improve on and where they could make those those improvements to either meet their goals of fundraising or increasing funds or making a bigger impact.


 

David Schwab In that same light. Specifically, email, If you followed me or you've listened to me for any amount of time, you know, I love I love email. I think I think it's like the hidden goldmine for every nonprofit, everywhere. But what is it about email specifically that I can ask it this way? Because I know like when people like email, they love email. What is it about email that you fell in love with?


 

Katelyn Baughan Well, if you think about it, people are giving you their email address and saying, I want to hear from you via email. And if you do a survey, all of the surveys that I've done with nonprofits that I work with, with their donors, they're saying they want to hear from the nonprofits by email. So people are telling us and there's actually studies out there that prove that people prefer to be communicated with, via email, that people want to hear from us via email. So email it doesn't feel very intrusive, like sometimes social media can or digital advertising can. People are giving you their email saying, use this, reach out to me. So I love that part of it. It allows you to connect and nurture with your donors or subscribers or just people that care about your mission. And that's the main reason why I love it. On top of that has the highest ROI, so you can send out a message to a mass email, one to many, and reach a lot of people at one time. And especially with these organizations who are addressing emergencies, you don't have to get a letter printed out and sent via snail mail. You can actually reach out to people right away for support and to update them. And I love that about email as well. And then the third thing is you own your list, so your email list is very valuable. These are people that you can connect with and the email list grows over time. And you always have those email addresses, you always have them. Whereas on social media, if Meta had some, you know, huge emergency and closed down tomorrow...


 

David Schwab Not that they would ever do anything right to change their standards.


 

Katelyn Baughan Exactly. You know, you have no way to reach out to people. So I'm not saying that the other tactics are not important. Other platforms are not important. I'm just saying that I love email and I think it's a big part of your marketing strategy that should not be neglected.


 

David Schwab I think you touched on the thing that is probably my favorite piece, and it's when you look at email in light of an omni-channel campaign, I actually got my career started in direct mail fundraising. It's a little-known fact about me that I try to keep hidden, that I still have a lot of friends in direct mail, and they always give me give me a hard time because, you know, I spent a lot of time on the agency side and. Their package, their direct mail packages always had like a two or three-times higher ROI than my email did. And I'm like, Well, that's because you have a hundred thousand people on your direct mail list. I have 5000 people on my email list. Let me invest in email for the last for the next 20 years like you did with direct mail and we'll catch up. But what I love about email is that you can respond in real-time. And I've worked I've worked with organizations and what I love is that email gives you the chance to be in front of your donors and make a real-time impact in things that are critical. So I remember working with an organization right at the start of COVID. Nobody in the world knew what to expect, and they knew their direct mail campaign had been planned out for 90 days ahead. So they're like, well, we can we can change what we say in June. But like our our email campaign stopped and changed that day. Right? And same with when Ukraine was invaded. We were able to start pivot, change, create an entirely new communication strategy and show people how they could help people in real time. And it's you can have like that that immediate it's almost like immediate gratification. And I joke I couldn't make it in direct mail because I have to sort of an attention span. But that's what I love about about email and is the ability to move in real time.


 

Katelyn Baughan Yeah it's funny that you say that. My dad owns a direct mail print shop and so we we argue we often argue about this too, because I'm digital and he's direct mail. But yeah I mean I'm not saying that stop doing direct mail because you know, direct mail works as well. But and with COVID, we know that everything has spread up technologically and advanced so quickly that eventually we know what the future is. Okay. The future is e mail. And so let's move in that direction and invest some some money and resources in an email. I think.


 

David Schwab I agree. You gave me a perfect chance here. On the subject of investing in email. Are there any tools that you've used that you can like add on to different emails? So like things like help you build HTML files or design tools or other things you've used to help you maybe like segment audiences or different things like that that you really like, that you bring with you any time you take on a new email project.


 

Katelyn Baughan Yeah. So for Q A, I use email and acid. So as some of us know, there are just so many different ways that people can view emails, so they can view it on their phone, their desktop, their tablet, they can view it on outlook, they can view it on Gmail. And there's so many different email clients, Yahoo! And there's different also operating systems. So your email is going to look different to everybody. And so you want to make sure that you're looking at how it's going to be presented to your audience no matter what device or email service provider they have. So Email On Acid will allow you to actually like copy and paste the HTML of your email, put it in there and test it and see how it looks on like a hundred different views. So I always use that before I send an email. List cleaning, that's really important too. There's a software called Never Bounce that you can actually copy and paste your files into there to see what emails are valid and not valid and clean up your list through running it through that product. And that's a really great tool to use. And then when it comes to campaign reporting, you always want to use UTM tracking so you can tell where traffic is coming to your website from. So tracking, you know, people are clicking from email and go into your donation form or your website. Then you can track actually that entire conversion in the journey that they are going through to get to that form or to get to that place. And that's really important for you to be able to tell how your campaign is performing. And so using UTM tracking, Google Analytics is really great too for it, for tracking. And so those are kind of three of the ones that I always use. Do you have any that you would suggest that I didn't mention?


 

David Schwab No. I think those are great. I typically I don't usually do much outside of what's baked in to platforms. I also, like I've been lucky enough to use more of the robust platforms that have the campaign analytics, the the built in AB testing, the built in segmentation, things like that. So but I think it is if your system doesn't allow you to do that, you need a tool like you're talking about to help you. Okay? And make sure your emails look right to make sure your lists are clean and segmented and make sure you're tracking and analyzing performance. Otherwise you don't know how it's working. I. Will say one thing on cue though QR mean quality assurance is I often have to remind people don't be paralyzed by an email not looking right in one of the views because like I remember I worked with a client one time, They wouldn't approve an email until every single server system view looked great. And I said, You guys, you have to remember there is no one on your list looking at an email on mobile device on Outlook 97 anymore and like they would get hyper-fixated on the fact like, Hey, it doesn't look right here. This button's out of place or this it's not texture. And I'm like, Yes, But also let's keep in mind that the bulk of your audience are looking at it on iPhone and in mail or Gmail on an Android device or one of those two functions on a on a desktop. That's where the bulk of your audience is. Most people are using a personal email. Most people are using their personal device. When they look at it, there's going to be a handful people on Outlook, and anyone who has designed emails knows how outlook it traditionally throws everything out of whack. But I always say, make sure you're doing the most amount of your work that's going to pay off to the most amount of people. So focus on also know where your your audience is, right? It's part of that list. Cleanliness. Know what devices people are on, know when and where and why and how people are looking at your emails. So that way you can focus as much of your time and effort on making that a great experience. And then for the like where you do have time, optimize for as much as you can around that.


 

Katelyn Baughan Yeah, I agree. I think we get paralyzed by perfection. It doesn't have to be perfect as much as you know we want it to be. Don't let that stop you from hitting send.


 

David Schwab Mm hmm. So we've we've talked tools and we say a lot here at fundraisers is you need to have good strategy before you go and get good tools, because tools just accelerate. If you're doing well, they make you do better, faster. But if you're not doing things the right way, it just accelerates frustration. So I want to talk a little bit more strategy here and like let you share some of the strategies that you've you've implemented over time that you really like, that you've been able to scale with good technology.


 

Katelyn Baughan Yeah, that's a really good point. I think the number one really I wouldn't say mistake, but I would say missed opportunity that I've seen with nonprofits is just they're very focused on these fundraising campaigns year-round, which are important, don't get me wrong. But if you're not touching base with these people based off of who they are, or what they're interested in, showing them the impact of their dollars, you are not going to retain them. And it's much cheaper to retain a donor than it is to acquire a new donor. So really focusing on in between those fundraising campaigns, how are you elevating the experience? How are you making connections? How are you showing the impact and keeping these people around and keeping them interested and connected and making them want to be evangelists for your organization and for your mission? And so when we talk about strategy, I want people to look at your calendar year, like, where are these campaigns and what are you doing in between those campaigns to keep the momentum going? So while the fundraising campaigns are very important and those are the campaigns that you have a specific theme for, you have a goal which is usually to raise funds and you're really tracking like the donations coming in, thinking about how are you like warming people up and keeping the ball rolling in between those. And automation is a really great tool to do that. And so there are ways that you can automate emails in between those pivotal tentpole campaigns that you have, that the goal is to really retention and warming people up for that next ask. And that can be a difficult goal because I think as fundraisers we want to see the dollars and there's not always dollars coming in in between. Like biggest mistake I see is people running these big campaigns and then they're wondering why they're not hitting their goals. And the reason is because you're going dark and then you're asking and then you're going dark and then you're asking. And so the strategy should be one that's holistic in a way that you're touching base with people in between that time. And automation is the best way to do that. And segmenting your list and personalizing those emails based off of who the people are. So for example, if they're a donor, a one time donor that no knows nothing about. Your organization. It's a great practice to have a welcome series in place to tell them about your organization, share some stories, share some stories of impact, and letting them know that their dollars have actually been used or are going to be used to do X, Y, and Z. And so automation and segmentation, I think are the two biggest ways that you can use technology and tools to really scale and and see that return on your investment.


 

David Schwab Yeah, you definitely touched on something I think is one of the most underutilized features of email marketing today for, fundraisers and nonprofit tiers is is automation in that we're really good in this sector having stories and telling stories and proving impact and creating a reason for support. But there's only so much time, resource allocation we have to telling those stories. And when we finally learn the type of stories or the angles or the positioning that works really well, automation allows us to share that story at scale. And you can as your list grows, your effort doesn't have to grow alongside it. And that's something that we've implemented here at Funraise that I think is such a critical feature is as people take different steps or actions or reach different milestones in their, their support journey with an organization we have built in automations that say, hey, this is this person's first gift to your organization. Here's a pre-built new donor welcome series. Automatically fires automatically triggered. You don't have to think about it or hey, this person just gave their fifth gift in the last six months. They're a good candidate for a sustainer conversion automatically trigger that sustainer conversion series or it's the end of the year. It's time to send your annual receipt, go in and write your annual report and then assign your audiences and send it right. Use those types of automations in those systems to help you communicate and distribute content and your stories without having to think about it. That's when organizations see that rapid, you know, hockey stick-style growth.


 

Katelyn Baughan Mm hmm.

 

 

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David Schwab So, Katelyn, we've talked a little bit, you know, 30,000 foot view of of platforms and tools and strategies. But I'm going to bring us really, really tactical for the next a little bit here because, you know, giving Tuesday is just a few days away when done right is the launching point into year end fundraising. We've already shown and talked about how email digital specifically, but digital as a whole. But email specifically is the workhorse during this season. I want to talk about building successful giving Tuesday and year end campaigns because I know you have a wealth of experience here and you've done it over and over and over. So I'm going to I'm going to start just on behalf of our audience. I'm going to solicit some tips from you on building the Giving Tuesday in your own fundraising campaigns. And so the first question I have is about content, because content is is still king, right? What content makes for a successful giving Tuesday and you're on campaign.


 

Katelyn Baughan So when it comes to giving Tuesday, you you need to decide what your goal is. Some organizations, the goal is fundraising, but some organizations the goal is this is going to kick off our fundraising season. So maybe it's not fundraising. Maybe it's warming people up for that next month where you are going to be asking a lot. So decide kind of what your goal is and then you can build the content from there. When it comes to giving Tuesday, I think I suggest sending four emails, one prior to the week and usually that's Thanksgiving week. And so we get a lot of emails in our inbox Thanksgiving week. But this is a great time to thank your donors, express gratitude and not even ask and even make an ask in this email. This is like, Thank you for making our work possible. Because of you, we've been able to do X, Y, and Z just expressing a little bit of gratitude. And then the next week on Giving Tuesday, I would send two emails on the day, one in the morning. That's like today's giving Tuesday. It does not have to be a long email. People know what giving Tuesday is. We hope that you will consider us as your charity of choice on this day, of this National day of Giving, and maybe a little blurb about what the dollars are going to enable us to do and then one in the evening that is more of a last chance, like urgent, more sense of urgency and really just two emails on giving Tuesday. Don't need to overdo it. People know what it is. They're getting a movie. Emails their inbox. Get creative. You don't have to say the subject line does not have to say Today is giving Tuesday. Give to giving Tuesday. It can be more creative than that. So I would just urge you to not focus too much on that being your big point of interest in your emails. And then one the day after thanking people, showing them kind of the impact. Letting them know how much, how many dollars you raised. If you decide you want to to share that, I don't think it's necessary. But really thanking people and telling them how you plan to use their donations and what they've made possible. Lots of donor centric language, more you less I so less about your organization and what you're doing and more about the donor and what they've made possible. That works really well. And then when you're jumping into your end, I want people to think of this like this is a campaign. So it's not just putting a bunch of emails and social media posts in schedule, like creating a bunch of emails and social media posts. You actually need to have a theme, a strategy, goals and KPI. So sit down and think about what this is going to look like and how you're going to make it a cohesive strategy, cohesive campaign, and how you're going to launch it in that way. Lots of stories of impact. People really, really resonate with stories. So if there's any way that even if you can go directly to the source of the people you're helping and have them write a little letter to the donors, I think that's a great way to really like switch the narrative and show kind of what your work firsthand is doing that's going to perform really, really well. So those are kind of some tips that I have. But it's it's up to your organization, I think, and what your goals are and knowing what works well for your donors. Like, don't be afraid. If you're a small nonprofit, don't be afraid to like, go back through your metrics. I did this for one of my clients, went back through their their newsletters and their emails to see what people clicked on the most that year and what they were engaged with, what the topic was. And we just repurposed that we maybe share like updated it. And so it doesn't have to be brand new content, but I would just urge you to to put some thought into it before creating that content.


 

David Schwab My next question, Katelyn, you kind of touched on it already, but is is about cadence and specifically how much is too much email during the season?


 

Katelyn Baughan It's funny, everyone wants to know how many emails is too many emails. I a You can never send enough emails in my opinion.


 

David Schwab Thank you for saying thank you.


 

Katelyn Baughan I mean, eight more emails. We're not sending enough emails. People want more emails. Their studies out there that prove that people are saying, We want to hear from you more. I bet you if you send a survey to your donors and your supporters, they will say, we want to hear from you more. So more emails that are relevant, valuable resource, full emails, even if it's just a short email, I think we get really caught up in like making these long, complicated emails that need to go through like several reviews. Just take, you know, whatever you wrote on social media and maybe draw it out a bit, you know, add some more detail to it. It doesn't need to be this very long email. I mean, people spend like 90 seconds looking at an email. They read add a read at a want to read at a fourth grade reading level. So just like keep it simple, but they want to hear from you more. And so don't get caught up in these like, complicated emails that you're sending out.


 

David Schwab I always have pushback on this topic because, like, I have a very firm stance that, like you said, we're not sending enough. Right. And like, I get the question, well, how much is too much? And I said, Well, until you run out of something relevant to say, you're not saying enough. And you probably have room to send more. And like I get I'll put up a comp plan together and I'll go, okay, let's will send 2 to 3 emails a month during the regular year and then as we get into the season, will ramp that up to 3 to 4 emails, sometimes a week, at least four or five emails a month, some weeks, 3 to 5 emails a week. And people get really worried when you're like, I'm over, I'm over communicating what we're talking about. And then then we we bring it home right where I say, okay, pull out your phone, look at your inbox, look for Gap. How many emails do you have from Gap in the last 24 hours?


 

Katelyn Baughan Mhm.


 

David Schwab I guarantee you you're telling a better story, more relevant to your donors than Gap, but you're only telling them once a month. No wonder they're not paying attention.


 

Katelyn Baughan It just drives me crazy because we're these, we're, we're saving the world, right. And we're afraid to tell people about it. I mean, people want to know we're doing really good work. My clients are doing amazing work. And yeah, I mean, people want to hear about it. They're telling you they want to hear about it. And let me tell you, if this is something that it comes up with every single client, go into your analytics. Tell me how many people are unsubscribing.


 

David Schwab Mm mm.


 

Katelyn Baughan Like, are people marking you as spam? Because you can tell that. And if they are, then yes, let's, let's talk about it more. I don't think it's the quantity of emails, I think it's probably the quality or even the people that you're sending to it might, that could be a good flag of like relevancy to the segments. But yeah, I just I don't think I don't think that's a problem. I am suggesting I put together this resource for a year-end, Giving Tuesday. And what I'm suggesting is that people send 12 emails. From Giving Tuesday, to year end. And that's I minimum I would love to see double that but minimum 12 emails and I can send you that resource too. It has templates with prompts and segmentation information in it for Giving Tuesday to your end. But 12 emails is kind of the sweet spot that I'm suggesting. But I've worked with nonprofits that have sent up to 30 emails for each campaign.


 

David Schwab So yeah, I it's so important you talk about like those leading metrics, indicators of engagement and where when you're crossing that threshold specifically, like you said, unsubscribe and spam, like those two metrics, those rates are really, really, really good indicators of whether you're over communicating. And I would challenge every person listening to find that threshold because like I've taken organizations where we've ramped 300% in volume of emails and decreased unsubscribe rate at the same time, you are not over communicating. In fact, you're not communicating enough and you're leaving a significant amount of revenue on the table, which means you're leaving impact on the table by being too afraid to push the bounds of what you think is is comfortable. And I think I think that is such a critical thing as we go into giving Tuesday and into year end is this is our time. This is this is everyone listening? This is your time to be bold. Send an extra email, do something a little bit different. And push the bounds, because now is when you're going to see the biggest return.


 

Katelyn Baughan Yeah. And I also have to say that if that is something that's in your mind that you're worried about, you can actually add to your subscription preferences. I would like to receive fewer emails so that people can say to you, I want to receive fewer emails, or you can go in and even list out kind of like if you have, you know, event updates, you have like press releases or organizational updates, like allow them to choose kind of what they want and what they don't want. They can opt out of fundraising emails if they don't want that. That's okay. So instead of just stopping communicating altogether, think of ways that you can gather more information or data to prove that point before you make that decision.


 

David Schwab Well, yeah, and case in point here, I remember working with an organization and they were very apprehensive with who they included in fundraising emails. That's fair. They wanted to respect their donors. They wanted respect to. They asked, but we challenged them. It's like, okay, we'll we will be really respectful with your fundraising appeals, but your newsletter, send it to everyone who doesn't like to receive the newsletter. Their newsletter netted ten times more revenue than their average fundraising appeal. Tell stories, engage people, share the mission that they already care about. They wouldn't subscribe to you. They wouldn't donate to you. They wouldn't follow you if they didn't care about the mission that you're doing. Yeah. And they'll respond.


 

Katelyn Baughan Yeah. And I think it's unfair that you're not giving people the opportunity to give if they want to. Even if it's a major donor. I know a lot of people want to exclude their major donors from year-end giving, and I can understand that. Everyone is very particular about how they communicate with their donors. But let's give them the opportunity to say, no, thank you. Like, what's the worst that could happen? They're just going to say, Oh, I received this email and you know, you can to add to that point, you can personalize the email saying, thank you so much for your generosity this year. If you feel like you want to make a year-end gift to this campaign, here's the opportunity to do that. If not, thanks anyways. You know, like give them an opportunity because you might be leaving some money on the table.


 

David Schwab I feel like I could keep on this rant for hours, but I'm going. I'm going to spare everyone my the rest of my soapbox and pivot us a little bit, Katelyn, Because email is so critical and we spend a lot of time talking about email, but there's there's a best friend to email that we haven't talked about yet that makes or breaks the success of an email campaign. And that is your donation experience because you're you can't convert a gift from email if you don't have a donation experience and you could tell the best email the best story designed, right, deliver the best email. But if you're giving experience isn't up to snuff, it's going to fall flat. So can you talk about specifically with mind of that the donor journey from email to giving experience? What makes a good donation experience?


 

Katelyn Baughan A good donation experience has to be easy, simple. It has to be mobile-friendly. I mean, 50% of people are looking at email on their phones or maybe even more than that now. I haven't I haven't looked at that statistic recently, but test it on your phone. See how easy it is to fill out things on your phone. Don't ask for repetitive information. So if someone's already given you this information once, is there a way that you can do an auto login or pre-fill of the form so that it's already filled out and all they have to do is like fill in their credit card information? Better yet, if they've already given once, is there a way to just have their credit card information already on file and it's like a one click donate, Just make it easy. Make it easy for people. That's all. I mean, that's all I have to say. Make sure that the emails that you're sending and the campaign messaging and branding matches where you're sending people to because they can get very confused if you're showing them one picture of, you know, this, and then they get to the donation form and it's something else. So make sure that that's a very simple thing. But a lot of people kind of missed the mark on that. So just make sure that you have a unique donation page that matches with the campaign and any of the content that you're using. An email and social should should really match up with the form.


 

David Schwab I completely agree and I think you you hit it so simply is that a good donation experience is an easy donation experience and too there's there's that cohesive through line between what motivates the action and what converts the action. You want an easy, cohesive experience from start to finish. One last question in here on that is what is a really, really cool email plus donation experience. You've used a strategy you employ or something that you've seen done.


 

Katelyn Baughan One of my favorite things to do is abandon cart emails or abandon donation emails where you can actually put a tracking link on anybody who clicked an email or donate button but didn't actually make a donation. So you can follow up with an email series like you forgot to make this donation or it's similar to, you know, if you add something to your cart when you're shopping. Mm hmm. And then all of a sudden you get an email. It's like you saw these items in your cart because you never know where someone is when they're reading that email. So like, if I'm giving my kids a bath and I have a second and I read an email and then I click donate and then someone screams for me and I can't complete the donation, I would love to be reminded tomorrow when I'm at my computer, which is a better time for me to do that. And you can really do that. Anything. So those are really great automation options to do. And then any sort of like pop ups, pop up boxes on a donation form, you know, you forgot to hit donate because some people will fill in the form and they'll forget to hit click the button. So pop ups are great as well.


 

David Schwab If you'll let me, I add one more.


 

Katelyn Baughan Okay. Yeah.


 

David Schwab This is a feature where we're starting to tease out a Funraise that I'm really excited for, and it's combining the combination of of donor data and donor history with email call to action, with giving experience where you can customize an ask directly within an email and then have that ask flow directly to the giving experience. So. Hey, Katelyn, thank you so much. Like we know you care about our cause. If you could give $50 right now, you're going to you're going to help feed 150 people tonight. And would you give and you can have an ask area within an email and all the ask raise are custom to you're giving history, and then you click on that and it takes you right to a giving form with that, ask them out pre-selected for you. So it's that dream of this, of the 1 to 1 personalized communication and experience but at scale and that's really where I see modern technology modern platform modern tools combining with tried and true fundraising strategies to accelerate the growth of organizations everywhere.


 

Katelyn Baughan Yes, I, I love that. I can't wait to hear more about it when it rolls out.


 

David Schwab I promise you will be first on our list when we when we get to do a product demo of it, it's going to be pretty exciting.


 

Katelyn Baughan That's so exciting.


 

David Schwab So, Katelyn, with that, we have covered so much ground. We're pushing up on time. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom, sharing your insights, sharing your experience. I am confident that anyone who's listening to this is like, I got to go follow Katelyn. I need to learn more from her. Where can our listeners engage with you and learn more about what you do and learn more from you?


 

Katelyn Baughan Thank you so much for having me. Yeah, people can find me on LinkedIn or I have an email list if you find me on LinkedIn or on KatelynBaughan.com. You can sign up for my email list and I send out weekly tips about email, nonprofit, email marketing and inspiration. So I would love to connect with anybody that wants to learn more about email.


 

David Schwab Awesome. Katelyn, thank you again so much for your time today. Good luck this giving season. I know you've got a lot of campaigns, a lot of irons in the fire. Good luck to you. Good luck to your to your clients. Thank you for taking time out to sit down and talk with us.


 

Katelyn Baughan Thanks, David.

 

 

Thanks for listening to this episode of Nonstop Nonprofit! This podcast is brought to you by your friends at Funraise - Nonprofit fundraising software, built for nonprofit people by nonprofit people. If you’d like to continue the conversation, find me on LinkedIn or text me at 714-717-2474. 

And don’t forget to get your next episode the second it hits the internets. Find us on your favorite podcast streaming service, hit that follow button and leave us a review to help us reach more nonprofit people like you! See you next time!

Nonprofit Guide: Giving Tuesday & Year-End Email Fundraising

The Nonprofit's All-In-One Guide to Giving Tuesday and Year-End Email Fundraising Success

November 16, 2023
41 minutes
EPISODE SUMMERY

Katelyn Baughan · CEO and Consultant, KB Digital | Katelyn Baughan, nonprofit email marketing expert and consultant to Trevor Project, UNHCR, and Amnesty International, has more than a few tactics to share for nonprofits looking to interact with supporters on a personal level while not draining them of resources.

LISTEN
EPISODE NOTES

It’s a universal truth that people love to feel special. We all want to feel like we’re an indispensable part of something. It’s also true that each and every one of us has limitations on our time, money, and attention.

So with these realities coexisting, how can nonprofits interact with supporters on a personal level while not draining them of resources? Katelyn Baughan, nonprofit email marketing expert and consultant to Trevor Project, UNHCR, and Amnesty International, has more than a few tactics to share with Nonstop Nonprofit listeners.

As nonprofit fundraisers, you and I are used to feeling pressure to perform. It’s not uncommon for us to be told that without donations—literally our job, btw—our world will be a darker, sharper place. Katelyn’s antidote emphasizes speaking up during quieter moments, making magic happen in the harsh light of a screen, and elevating everyone’s experience through innovation.

So whether you’re in the thick of your busiest time of year or you’re a year-in-advance planner, Katelyn’s advice in this episode will help you use email to scale impact, retain donors, and align your communications—all while reminding you that you, too, are essential to our brighter tomorrow.

TRANSCRIPT

Hello and welcome to this episode of Nonstop Nonprofit!

It’s a universal truth that people love to feel special. We all want to feel like we’re an indispensable part of something. It’s also true that each and every one of us has limitations on our time, money, and attention.

So with these realities somehow coexisting, how can we as nonprofiteers interact with our supporters on a personal level while not draining them of resources? Katelyn Baughan, nonprofit email marketing expert and consultant to Trevor Project, UNHCR, and Amnesty International, has more than a few tactics to share with Nonstop Nonprofit listeners.

As nonprofit fundraisers, you and I are used to feeling pressure to perform. It’s not uncommon for us to be told that without donations—literally our job, btw—our world will be a darker, sharper place. Katelyn’s antidote emphasizes speaking up during quieter moments, making magic happen in the harsh light of a screen, and elevating everyone’s experience through innovation.

So whether you’re in the thick of your busiest time of year or you’re a year-in-advance planner, Katelyn’s advice in this episode will help you use email to scale impact, retain donors, and align your communications and grow your revenue. All while reminding you that you, too, are essential to our brighter tomorrow.

 

 

David Schwab Katelyn, thank you again for joining us today. I am so excited to dig into all things email and digital with you. This is probably my favorite slice of the nonprofit world, specifically fundraising. I can't wait to dig in and share your thoughts and your expertise with our audience. But before we get too far into it, I just want to ask you, you know, can you share a little bit about your background? What brought you into the nonprofit sector? What do you do at KB Digital? And then within that, how did email become your sweet spot?


 

Katelyn Baughan Thank you so much for having me, David. I've listened to your podcast for a while, so I'm so honored that you have me on it. I started my career doing digital marketing for tech companies and I wanted to take what I learned and really apply it to something more meaningful, and that's when I made the move to the nonprofit sector. In typical nonprofit form, I wore very many hat for a long time doing social web, email, digital advertising, really all of the things. But what I noticed was that email was what was moving the needle the most, especially for the smaller nonprofits that I worked at. When it came to donor retention and fundraising. So that's when I started noticing I was doing all this work with spending so many hours on social. But most of what was moving the needle was email, and that's what I enjoyed doing the most as well. So this year I actually honed in my consulting services on email marketing, and I help medium to large nonprofits with their email production. So everything from creating the strategy to executing and reporting on those emails and also doing some email audits on their programs altogether. So looking at their email programs and telling them what they're doing well, what they could improve on and where they could make those those improvements to either meet their goals of fundraising or increasing funds or making a bigger impact.


 

David Schwab In that same light. Specifically, email, If you followed me or you've listened to me for any amount of time, you know, I love I love email. I think I think it's like the hidden goldmine for every nonprofit, everywhere. But what is it about email specifically that I can ask it this way? Because I know like when people like email, they love email. What is it about email that you fell in love with?


 

Katelyn Baughan Well, if you think about it, people are giving you their email address and saying, I want to hear from you via email. And if you do a survey, all of the surveys that I've done with nonprofits that I work with, with their donors, they're saying they want to hear from the nonprofits by email. So people are telling us and there's actually studies out there that prove that people prefer to be communicated with, via email, that people want to hear from us via email. So email it doesn't feel very intrusive, like sometimes social media can or digital advertising can. People are giving you their email saying, use this, reach out to me. So I love that part of it. It allows you to connect and nurture with your donors or subscribers or just people that care about your mission. And that's the main reason why I love it. On top of that has the highest ROI, so you can send out a message to a mass email, one to many, and reach a lot of people at one time. And especially with these organizations who are addressing emergencies, you don't have to get a letter printed out and sent via snail mail. You can actually reach out to people right away for support and to update them. And I love that about email as well. And then the third thing is you own your list, so your email list is very valuable. These are people that you can connect with and the email list grows over time. And you always have those email addresses, you always have them. Whereas on social media, if Meta had some, you know, huge emergency and closed down tomorrow...


 

David Schwab Not that they would ever do anything right to change their standards.


 

Katelyn Baughan Exactly. You know, you have no way to reach out to people. So I'm not saying that the other tactics are not important. Other platforms are not important. I'm just saying that I love email and I think it's a big part of your marketing strategy that should not be neglected.


 

David Schwab I think you touched on the thing that is probably my favorite piece, and it's when you look at email in light of an omni-channel campaign, I actually got my career started in direct mail fundraising. It's a little-known fact about me that I try to keep hidden, that I still have a lot of friends in direct mail, and they always give me give me a hard time because, you know, I spent a lot of time on the agency side and. Their package, their direct mail packages always had like a two or three-times higher ROI than my email did. And I'm like, Well, that's because you have a hundred thousand people on your direct mail list. I have 5000 people on my email list. Let me invest in email for the last for the next 20 years like you did with direct mail and we'll catch up. But what I love about email is that you can respond in real-time. And I've worked I've worked with organizations and what I love is that email gives you the chance to be in front of your donors and make a real-time impact in things that are critical. So I remember working with an organization right at the start of COVID. Nobody in the world knew what to expect, and they knew their direct mail campaign had been planned out for 90 days ahead. So they're like, well, we can we can change what we say in June. But like our our email campaign stopped and changed that day. Right? And same with when Ukraine was invaded. We were able to start pivot, change, create an entirely new communication strategy and show people how they could help people in real time. And it's you can have like that that immediate it's almost like immediate gratification. And I joke I couldn't make it in direct mail because I have to sort of an attention span. But that's what I love about about email and is the ability to move in real time.


 

Katelyn Baughan Yeah it's funny that you say that. My dad owns a direct mail print shop and so we we argue we often argue about this too, because I'm digital and he's direct mail. But yeah I mean I'm not saying that stop doing direct mail because you know, direct mail works as well. But and with COVID, we know that everything has spread up technologically and advanced so quickly that eventually we know what the future is. Okay. The future is e mail. And so let's move in that direction and invest some some money and resources in an email. I think.


 

David Schwab I agree. You gave me a perfect chance here. On the subject of investing in email. Are there any tools that you've used that you can like add on to different emails? So like things like help you build HTML files or design tools or other things you've used to help you maybe like segment audiences or different things like that that you really like, that you bring with you any time you take on a new email project.


 

Katelyn Baughan Yeah. So for Q A, I use email and acid. So as some of us know, there are just so many different ways that people can view emails, so they can view it on their phone, their desktop, their tablet, they can view it on outlook, they can view it on Gmail. And there's so many different email clients, Yahoo! And there's different also operating systems. So your email is going to look different to everybody. And so you want to make sure that you're looking at how it's going to be presented to your audience no matter what device or email service provider they have. So Email On Acid will allow you to actually like copy and paste the HTML of your email, put it in there and test it and see how it looks on like a hundred different views. So I always use that before I send an email. List cleaning, that's really important too. There's a software called Never Bounce that you can actually copy and paste your files into there to see what emails are valid and not valid and clean up your list through running it through that product. And that's a really great tool to use. And then when it comes to campaign reporting, you always want to use UTM tracking so you can tell where traffic is coming to your website from. So tracking, you know, people are clicking from email and go into your donation form or your website. Then you can track actually that entire conversion in the journey that they are going through to get to that form or to get to that place. And that's really important for you to be able to tell how your campaign is performing. And so using UTM tracking, Google Analytics is really great too for it, for tracking. And so those are kind of three of the ones that I always use. Do you have any that you would suggest that I didn't mention?


 

David Schwab No. I think those are great. I typically I don't usually do much outside of what's baked in to platforms. I also, like I've been lucky enough to use more of the robust platforms that have the campaign analytics, the the built in AB testing, the built in segmentation, things like that. So but I think it is if your system doesn't allow you to do that, you need a tool like you're talking about to help you. Okay? And make sure your emails look right to make sure your lists are clean and segmented and make sure you're tracking and analyzing performance. Otherwise you don't know how it's working. I. Will say one thing on cue though QR mean quality assurance is I often have to remind people don't be paralyzed by an email not looking right in one of the views because like I remember I worked with a client one time, They wouldn't approve an email until every single server system view looked great. And I said, You guys, you have to remember there is no one on your list looking at an email on mobile device on Outlook 97 anymore and like they would get hyper-fixated on the fact like, Hey, it doesn't look right here. This button's out of place or this it's not texture. And I'm like, Yes, But also let's keep in mind that the bulk of your audience are looking at it on iPhone and in mail or Gmail on an Android device or one of those two functions on a on a desktop. That's where the bulk of your audience is. Most people are using a personal email. Most people are using their personal device. When they look at it, there's going to be a handful people on Outlook, and anyone who has designed emails knows how outlook it traditionally throws everything out of whack. But I always say, make sure you're doing the most amount of your work that's going to pay off to the most amount of people. So focus on also know where your your audience is, right? It's part of that list. Cleanliness. Know what devices people are on, know when and where and why and how people are looking at your emails. So that way you can focus as much of your time and effort on making that a great experience. And then for the like where you do have time, optimize for as much as you can around that.


 

Katelyn Baughan Yeah, I agree. I think we get paralyzed by perfection. It doesn't have to be perfect as much as you know we want it to be. Don't let that stop you from hitting send.


 

David Schwab Mm hmm. So we've we've talked tools and we say a lot here at fundraisers is you need to have good strategy before you go and get good tools, because tools just accelerate. If you're doing well, they make you do better, faster. But if you're not doing things the right way, it just accelerates frustration. So I want to talk a little bit more strategy here and like let you share some of the strategies that you've you've implemented over time that you really like, that you've been able to scale with good technology.


 

Katelyn Baughan Yeah, that's a really good point. I think the number one really I wouldn't say mistake, but I would say missed opportunity that I've seen with nonprofits is just they're very focused on these fundraising campaigns year-round, which are important, don't get me wrong. But if you're not touching base with these people based off of who they are, or what they're interested in, showing them the impact of their dollars, you are not going to retain them. And it's much cheaper to retain a donor than it is to acquire a new donor. So really focusing on in between those fundraising campaigns, how are you elevating the experience? How are you making connections? How are you showing the impact and keeping these people around and keeping them interested and connected and making them want to be evangelists for your organization and for your mission? And so when we talk about strategy, I want people to look at your calendar year, like, where are these campaigns and what are you doing in between those campaigns to keep the momentum going? So while the fundraising campaigns are very important and those are the campaigns that you have a specific theme for, you have a goal which is usually to raise funds and you're really tracking like the donations coming in, thinking about how are you like warming people up and keeping the ball rolling in between those. And automation is a really great tool to do that. And so there are ways that you can automate emails in between those pivotal tentpole campaigns that you have, that the goal is to really retention and warming people up for that next ask. And that can be a difficult goal because I think as fundraisers we want to see the dollars and there's not always dollars coming in in between. Like biggest mistake I see is people running these big campaigns and then they're wondering why they're not hitting their goals. And the reason is because you're going dark and then you're asking and then you're going dark and then you're asking. And so the strategy should be one that's holistic in a way that you're touching base with people in between that time. And automation is the best way to do that. And segmenting your list and personalizing those emails based off of who the people are. So for example, if they're a donor, a one time donor that no knows nothing about. Your organization. It's a great practice to have a welcome series in place to tell them about your organization, share some stories, share some stories of impact, and letting them know that their dollars have actually been used or are going to be used to do X, Y, and Z. And so automation and segmentation, I think are the two biggest ways that you can use technology and tools to really scale and and see that return on your investment.


 

David Schwab Yeah, you definitely touched on something I think is one of the most underutilized features of email marketing today for, fundraisers and nonprofit tiers is is automation in that we're really good in this sector having stories and telling stories and proving impact and creating a reason for support. But there's only so much time, resource allocation we have to telling those stories. And when we finally learn the type of stories or the angles or the positioning that works really well, automation allows us to share that story at scale. And you can as your list grows, your effort doesn't have to grow alongside it. And that's something that we've implemented here at Funraise that I think is such a critical feature is as people take different steps or actions or reach different milestones in their, their support journey with an organization we have built in automations that say, hey, this is this person's first gift to your organization. Here's a pre-built new donor welcome series. Automatically fires automatically triggered. You don't have to think about it or hey, this person just gave their fifth gift in the last six months. They're a good candidate for a sustainer conversion automatically trigger that sustainer conversion series or it's the end of the year. It's time to send your annual receipt, go in and write your annual report and then assign your audiences and send it right. Use those types of automations in those systems to help you communicate and distribute content and your stories without having to think about it. That's when organizations see that rapid, you know, hockey stick-style growth.


 

Katelyn Baughan Mm hmm.

 

 

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Now that you’ve heard how Funraise can radically change your nonprofit’s fundraising game, let’s get back to the conversation.

 

 

David Schwab So, Katelyn, we've talked a little bit, you know, 30,000 foot view of of platforms and tools and strategies. But I'm going to bring us really, really tactical for the next a little bit here because, you know, giving Tuesday is just a few days away when done right is the launching point into year end fundraising. We've already shown and talked about how email digital specifically, but digital as a whole. But email specifically is the workhorse during this season. I want to talk about building successful giving Tuesday and year end campaigns because I know you have a wealth of experience here and you've done it over and over and over. So I'm going to I'm going to start just on behalf of our audience. I'm going to solicit some tips from you on building the Giving Tuesday in your own fundraising campaigns. And so the first question I have is about content, because content is is still king, right? What content makes for a successful giving Tuesday and you're on campaign.


 

Katelyn Baughan So when it comes to giving Tuesday, you you need to decide what your goal is. Some organizations, the goal is fundraising, but some organizations the goal is this is going to kick off our fundraising season. So maybe it's not fundraising. Maybe it's warming people up for that next month where you are going to be asking a lot. So decide kind of what your goal is and then you can build the content from there. When it comes to giving Tuesday, I think I suggest sending four emails, one prior to the week and usually that's Thanksgiving week. And so we get a lot of emails in our inbox Thanksgiving week. But this is a great time to thank your donors, express gratitude and not even ask and even make an ask in this email. This is like, Thank you for making our work possible. Because of you, we've been able to do X, Y, and Z just expressing a little bit of gratitude. And then the next week on Giving Tuesday, I would send two emails on the day, one in the morning. That's like today's giving Tuesday. It does not have to be a long email. People know what giving Tuesday is. We hope that you will consider us as your charity of choice on this day, of this National day of Giving, and maybe a little blurb about what the dollars are going to enable us to do and then one in the evening that is more of a last chance, like urgent, more sense of urgency and really just two emails on giving Tuesday. Don't need to overdo it. People know what it is. They're getting a movie. Emails their inbox. Get creative. You don't have to say the subject line does not have to say Today is giving Tuesday. Give to giving Tuesday. It can be more creative than that. So I would just urge you to not focus too much on that being your big point of interest in your emails. And then one the day after thanking people, showing them kind of the impact. Letting them know how much, how many dollars you raised. If you decide you want to to share that, I don't think it's necessary. But really thanking people and telling them how you plan to use their donations and what they've made possible. Lots of donor centric language, more you less I so less about your organization and what you're doing and more about the donor and what they've made possible. That works really well. And then when you're jumping into your end, I want people to think of this like this is a campaign. So it's not just putting a bunch of emails and social media posts in schedule, like creating a bunch of emails and social media posts. You actually need to have a theme, a strategy, goals and KPI. So sit down and think about what this is going to look like and how you're going to make it a cohesive strategy, cohesive campaign, and how you're going to launch it in that way. Lots of stories of impact. People really, really resonate with stories. So if there's any way that even if you can go directly to the source of the people you're helping and have them write a little letter to the donors, I think that's a great way to really like switch the narrative and show kind of what your work firsthand is doing that's going to perform really, really well. So those are kind of some tips that I have. But it's it's up to your organization, I think, and what your goals are and knowing what works well for your donors. Like, don't be afraid. If you're a small nonprofit, don't be afraid to like, go back through your metrics. I did this for one of my clients, went back through their their newsletters and their emails to see what people clicked on the most that year and what they were engaged with, what the topic was. And we just repurposed that we maybe share like updated it. And so it doesn't have to be brand new content, but I would just urge you to to put some thought into it before creating that content.


 

David Schwab My next question, Katelyn, you kind of touched on it already, but is is about cadence and specifically how much is too much email during the season?


 

Katelyn Baughan It's funny, everyone wants to know how many emails is too many emails. I a You can never send enough emails in my opinion.


 

David Schwab Thank you for saying thank you.


 

Katelyn Baughan I mean, eight more emails. We're not sending enough emails. People want more emails. Their studies out there that prove that people are saying, We want to hear from you more. I bet you if you send a survey to your donors and your supporters, they will say, we want to hear from you more. So more emails that are relevant, valuable resource, full emails, even if it's just a short email, I think we get really caught up in like making these long, complicated emails that need to go through like several reviews. Just take, you know, whatever you wrote on social media and maybe draw it out a bit, you know, add some more detail to it. It doesn't need to be this very long email. I mean, people spend like 90 seconds looking at an email. They read add a read at a want to read at a fourth grade reading level. So just like keep it simple, but they want to hear from you more. And so don't get caught up in these like, complicated emails that you're sending out.


 

David Schwab I always have pushback on this topic because, like, I have a very firm stance that, like you said, we're not sending enough. Right. And like, I get the question, well, how much is too much? And I said, Well, until you run out of something relevant to say, you're not saying enough. And you probably have room to send more. And like I get I'll put up a comp plan together and I'll go, okay, let's will send 2 to 3 emails a month during the regular year and then as we get into the season, will ramp that up to 3 to 4 emails, sometimes a week, at least four or five emails a month, some weeks, 3 to 5 emails a week. And people get really worried when you're like, I'm over, I'm over communicating what we're talking about. And then then we we bring it home right where I say, okay, pull out your phone, look at your inbox, look for Gap. How many emails do you have from Gap in the last 24 hours?


 

Katelyn Baughan Mhm.


 

David Schwab I guarantee you you're telling a better story, more relevant to your donors than Gap, but you're only telling them once a month. No wonder they're not paying attention.


 

Katelyn Baughan It just drives me crazy because we're these, we're, we're saving the world, right. And we're afraid to tell people about it. I mean, people want to know we're doing really good work. My clients are doing amazing work. And yeah, I mean, people want to hear about it. They're telling you they want to hear about it. And let me tell you, if this is something that it comes up with every single client, go into your analytics. Tell me how many people are unsubscribing.


 

David Schwab Mm mm.


 

Katelyn Baughan Like, are people marking you as spam? Because you can tell that. And if they are, then yes, let's, let's talk about it more. I don't think it's the quantity of emails, I think it's probably the quality or even the people that you're sending to it might, that could be a good flag of like relevancy to the segments. But yeah, I just I don't think I don't think that's a problem. I am suggesting I put together this resource for a year-end, Giving Tuesday. And what I'm suggesting is that people send 12 emails. From Giving Tuesday, to year end. And that's I minimum I would love to see double that but minimum 12 emails and I can send you that resource too. It has templates with prompts and segmentation information in it for Giving Tuesday to your end. But 12 emails is kind of the sweet spot that I'm suggesting. But I've worked with nonprofits that have sent up to 30 emails for each campaign.


 

David Schwab So yeah, I it's so important you talk about like those leading metrics, indicators of engagement and where when you're crossing that threshold specifically, like you said, unsubscribe and spam, like those two metrics, those rates are really, really, really good indicators of whether you're over communicating. And I would challenge every person listening to find that threshold because like I've taken organizations where we've ramped 300% in volume of emails and decreased unsubscribe rate at the same time, you are not over communicating. In fact, you're not communicating enough and you're leaving a significant amount of revenue on the table, which means you're leaving impact on the table by being too afraid to push the bounds of what you think is is comfortable. And I think I think that is such a critical thing as we go into giving Tuesday and into year end is this is our time. This is this is everyone listening? This is your time to be bold. Send an extra email, do something a little bit different. And push the bounds, because now is when you're going to see the biggest return.


 

Katelyn Baughan Yeah. And I also have to say that if that is something that's in your mind that you're worried about, you can actually add to your subscription preferences. I would like to receive fewer emails so that people can say to you, I want to receive fewer emails, or you can go in and even list out kind of like if you have, you know, event updates, you have like press releases or organizational updates, like allow them to choose kind of what they want and what they don't want. They can opt out of fundraising emails if they don't want that. That's okay. So instead of just stopping communicating altogether, think of ways that you can gather more information or data to prove that point before you make that decision.


 

David Schwab Well, yeah, and case in point here, I remember working with an organization and they were very apprehensive with who they included in fundraising emails. That's fair. They wanted to respect their donors. They wanted respect to. They asked, but we challenged them. It's like, okay, we'll we will be really respectful with your fundraising appeals, but your newsletter, send it to everyone who doesn't like to receive the newsletter. Their newsletter netted ten times more revenue than their average fundraising appeal. Tell stories, engage people, share the mission that they already care about. They wouldn't subscribe to you. They wouldn't donate to you. They wouldn't follow you if they didn't care about the mission that you're doing. Yeah. And they'll respond.


 

Katelyn Baughan Yeah. And I think it's unfair that you're not giving people the opportunity to give if they want to. Even if it's a major donor. I know a lot of people want to exclude their major donors from year-end giving, and I can understand that. Everyone is very particular about how they communicate with their donors. But let's give them the opportunity to say, no, thank you. Like, what's the worst that could happen? They're just going to say, Oh, I received this email and you know, you can to add to that point, you can personalize the email saying, thank you so much for your generosity this year. If you feel like you want to make a year-end gift to this campaign, here's the opportunity to do that. If not, thanks anyways. You know, like give them an opportunity because you might be leaving some money on the table.


 

David Schwab I feel like I could keep on this rant for hours, but I'm going. I'm going to spare everyone my the rest of my soapbox and pivot us a little bit, Katelyn, Because email is so critical and we spend a lot of time talking about email, but there's there's a best friend to email that we haven't talked about yet that makes or breaks the success of an email campaign. And that is your donation experience because you're you can't convert a gift from email if you don't have a donation experience and you could tell the best email the best story designed, right, deliver the best email. But if you're giving experience isn't up to snuff, it's going to fall flat. So can you talk about specifically with mind of that the donor journey from email to giving experience? What makes a good donation experience?


 

Katelyn Baughan A good donation experience has to be easy, simple. It has to be mobile-friendly. I mean, 50% of people are looking at email on their phones or maybe even more than that now. I haven't I haven't looked at that statistic recently, but test it on your phone. See how easy it is to fill out things on your phone. Don't ask for repetitive information. So if someone's already given you this information once, is there a way that you can do an auto login or pre-fill of the form so that it's already filled out and all they have to do is like fill in their credit card information? Better yet, if they've already given once, is there a way to just have their credit card information already on file and it's like a one click donate, Just make it easy. Make it easy for people. That's all. I mean, that's all I have to say. Make sure that the emails that you're sending and the campaign messaging and branding matches where you're sending people to because they can get very confused if you're showing them one picture of, you know, this, and then they get to the donation form and it's something else. So make sure that that's a very simple thing. But a lot of people kind of missed the mark on that. So just make sure that you have a unique donation page that matches with the campaign and any of the content that you're using. An email and social should should really match up with the form.


 

David Schwab I completely agree and I think you you hit it so simply is that a good donation experience is an easy donation experience and too there's there's that cohesive through line between what motivates the action and what converts the action. You want an easy, cohesive experience from start to finish. One last question in here on that is what is a really, really cool email plus donation experience. You've used a strategy you employ or something that you've seen done.


 

Katelyn Baughan One of my favorite things to do is abandon cart emails or abandon donation emails where you can actually put a tracking link on anybody who clicked an email or donate button but didn't actually make a donation. So you can follow up with an email series like you forgot to make this donation or it's similar to, you know, if you add something to your cart when you're shopping. Mm hmm. And then all of a sudden you get an email. It's like you saw these items in your cart because you never know where someone is when they're reading that email. So like, if I'm giving my kids a bath and I have a second and I read an email and then I click donate and then someone screams for me and I can't complete the donation, I would love to be reminded tomorrow when I'm at my computer, which is a better time for me to do that. And you can really do that. Anything. So those are really great automation options to do. And then any sort of like pop ups, pop up boxes on a donation form, you know, you forgot to hit donate because some people will fill in the form and they'll forget to hit click the button. So pop ups are great as well.


 

David Schwab If you'll let me, I add one more.


 

Katelyn Baughan Okay. Yeah.


 

David Schwab This is a feature where we're starting to tease out a Funraise that I'm really excited for, and it's combining the combination of of donor data and donor history with email call to action, with giving experience where you can customize an ask directly within an email and then have that ask flow directly to the giving experience. So. Hey, Katelyn, thank you so much. Like we know you care about our cause. If you could give $50 right now, you're going to you're going to help feed 150 people tonight. And would you give and you can have an ask area within an email and all the ask raise are custom to you're giving history, and then you click on that and it takes you right to a giving form with that, ask them out pre-selected for you. So it's that dream of this, of the 1 to 1 personalized communication and experience but at scale and that's really where I see modern technology modern platform modern tools combining with tried and true fundraising strategies to accelerate the growth of organizations everywhere.


 

Katelyn Baughan Yes, I, I love that. I can't wait to hear more about it when it rolls out.


 

David Schwab I promise you will be first on our list when we when we get to do a product demo of it, it's going to be pretty exciting.


 

Katelyn Baughan That's so exciting.


 

David Schwab So, Katelyn, with that, we have covered so much ground. We're pushing up on time. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom, sharing your insights, sharing your experience. I am confident that anyone who's listening to this is like, I got to go follow Katelyn. I need to learn more from her. Where can our listeners engage with you and learn more about what you do and learn more from you?


 

Katelyn Baughan Thank you so much for having me. Yeah, people can find me on LinkedIn or I have an email list if you find me on LinkedIn or on KatelynBaughan.com. You can sign up for my email list and I send out weekly tips about email, nonprofit, email marketing and inspiration. So I would love to connect with anybody that wants to learn more about email.


 

David Schwab Awesome. Katelyn, thank you again so much for your time today. Good luck this giving season. I know you've got a lot of campaigns, a lot of irons in the fire. Good luck to you. Good luck to your to your clients. Thank you for taking time out to sit down and talk with us.


 

Katelyn Baughan Thanks, David.

 

 

Thanks for listening to this episode of Nonstop Nonprofit! This podcast is brought to you by your friends at Funraise - Nonprofit fundraising software, built for nonprofit people by nonprofit people. If you’d like to continue the conversation, find me on LinkedIn or text me at 714-717-2474. 

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