Tips for Maintaining Donor E-Mail Lists

March 31st, 2009 by

E-mail may be an inexpensive way to solicit donations and stay in contact with supporters. But, outdated or incorrect donor e-mail lists can sabotage any online fund-raising efforts.

Here are a few suggestions for collecting active and accurate e-mail addresses for potential supporters:

Donor E-mail list Building Suggestions

  • Add a “double opt-in” feature that sends a confirmation link by e-mail to each new subscriber whenever you add a new e-mail address to the list.
  • Use every opportunity to collect e-mail addresses from supporters-at special events, on direct mail, or through links at the end of personal e-mails-to reduce errors in the files and encourage followers to sign up for electronic communications.
  • Create an e-mail campaign that specifically asks supporters to update their contact information.
  • Pay attention to which e-mail messages bounce back. If they’re from donors, consider reaching out to them by telephone or direct mail.
  • Upgrade to an e-mail tool with a good track record for getting past firewalls to prevent your messages from getting stuck in spam folders.

Can You Buy a Donor E-mail List?

Sure, donor e-mail lists are available for purchase. There are lots of companies out there who want to make a buck.

However, the truth is that most of the CRM software platforms discourage it. This includes programs like Survey Monkey and Constant Contact. They frown on the use of rented/purchase email lists. The Constant Contact website states that they want their customers to only send emails to contacts that truly want to receive them. Otherwise, they say you’re sending spam.

If you really want your e-mail correspondence to be opened, then you need to build your own proprietary e-mail list. Or, you can append e-mails to your current database.

BTW – email to donors is a good in stewardship. Always remember, it costs less to keep a current donor than find a new one!