“Caron’s test” for emails to Party members is good, but I think we can go further.
The underlying problem, as I’ve written before, is that too many of the emails seem to be written by marketing professionals who are trying to achieve a specific result – often one that can be measured by funds raised. The reason it’s a problem is that we aren’t just donors – most of us see ourselves as members of an extended family who need to be reassured, engaged and spoken with directly in ways that relate to our own experience as Party members.
It is interesting that fund-raising charities now spend a good deal of their time and money on chatting with supporters about what they do rather than just doing constant appeals based on need.
A recent piece of US experience seems to me to be useful:
Levitt and Dubner in their most recent book in their “Freakonomics” series quote the example of Brian Mullaney of Smile Train with his “once-and-done” strategy. That involved asking potential donors to make only one donation with the option of ticking a box to say “do not ask for another donation”. That seems counter-productive: in charities, we have learned that first-time donors rarely give enough to cover the cost of making the contact. It’s only with continued donations that the charity makes a surplus on the relationship.