BUILD YOUR INTERNAL FILES - Understandably, your donor file will always give you the most return on any given e-mail. Next would be your internal prospecting file and finally any external prospecting file. As a point of clarification, the internal prospecting file are those people who have shown an interest in your organization but have not donated and, as one would expect, are more apt to give than any external list. In other words, the “priority order” is to solicit those who have given before, those who have shown an interest in you, and lastly strangers.
GET A DECENT ESP - To conduct an E-mail Fundraising campaign you must have an Email Service Provider (ESP). Basically, there are three types - Entry Level, Intermediate, and Advanced. There are a variety of things that will differentiate ESPs. One is the size of your list. Another consideration is the “billing” process. Typically, for Intermediate and Advanced ESPs billing is “volume based,” while for the Entry Level ESPs it is “file size” based. Functionality is another determining factor: The more advanced the greater the number of functions - especially in the realms of integration and reports. As can be expected, the more advanced your ESP the more expensive it will be.
An example of an entry level ESP is iContact, and will usually be used when your mailing list is 10,000 or less. Bronto would be a middle level ESP, and is for the organization whose list is 10,000 - 100,000. An advanced ESP is for lists of 100,000+, and a good example of this would be Exec Target.
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