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Like Old Denim Jeans, Email is Always in Style


  1. Ideas shared among the panel and attendees about types of communications that are best for email versus social media.
  2. Strategies for continuing to build and maintain a healthy email list.
  3. Examples of email successes and failures from the panel.


Creating Click-worthy Emails (Jason)

Email is more specific to a known recipient and more likely to be read in its entirety. Unlike social media – content is read mostly by happenstance and quickly disposed of or scrolled past after skimming a headline if its not of interest.

Use email newsletters to provide added value to readers

  • Don’t just aggregate headlines from the homepage
  • Subject lines are the first interaction
    • Engage multiple audiences
    • Create a curiosity gap
    • Use A/B testing to find your best performers
    • Bring in Emojis to stand out in the inbox
  • Innovative formats attract new audiences
    • Pop up newsletters
    • Find your niche – hyper focused and specific to the reader
    • Open dialogue with readers – encourage feedback and constructive criticism
  • Make it easy to find and share the newsletter
    • Embed sign up forms
    • Create referral rewards
    • Preview email before sign-up – readers can decide whether they want to receive the email based on content, before signing up

Quick Exercise

  • Pair up with a partner. Choose one of your organizations OR imagine you run an association for nonprofit communications
  • Develop a concept for a newsletter for that organization, using the tactics we just reviewed
    • What is your newsletter about?
    • What will it be called?
    • Who are the audiences?
    • What distinct value will your subscribers get from the email?
    • How will the newsletter achieve your goals?

Layer Cake Model of Organizing: Petitions (Donna: Moms Rising)

Synergistic Collaboration

  • Coalition coordination is still done mostly on email listservs

One-Click Member Advocacy

  • Links to petitions, stories, letters to the editor, on-the-ground actions in email

The Power of Stories

  • Most people are inclined to contribute to a petition when the base story is personally relatable
    • Does this apply to me?
    • Would I be affected by the proposed change?

Email for Message Testing

  • Subject Line Testing – does the subject line grab the reader?

Member Voice “Proxy”

  • Creative ideas to convey a message to an otherwise uninterested office
    • On the Ground Engagement
    • Reinforces the stories, and mission of the petition/campaign
    • Engaging Leaders
      • Provide an environment that welcomes leaders from “both sides of the aisle”
      • Most newsworthy petitions garner bipartisan support

These notes were captured by The Communications Network and have been reviewed by the presenters. ComNet18 Breakout Session notes were made possible thanks to the generous support of the Kalliopeia Foundation.


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