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Posted by Elise Daniel on February 17, 2009 at 10:39 am 

Determine where you stand

  • What % of your audience do you have e-mails for? Are they from the group you care most about?
  • Benchmark yourself against other UW groups and overall – look at your trend line. Find out how many e-mails you
  • collected last year and where they came from. How did you get those (events, forms, phone, direct mail, Web, publications, etc.)?

Audit how you currently collect e-mails and how you use the ones you have. Look at how you currently send them (Convio or other system) and how you store them (Advance or other system). What has worked and what hasn’t?

Next, set realistic goals and develop ways to measure the results of your future activities so you can see what works. Closely track your trend line.

Decide what information you need. At a minimum, get first name, middle initial, last name, e-mail and zip code. Think about other information that would be helpful, such as degree(s), year(s) of graduation, mobile phone number, land line phone number, physical address, employer, etc. There also may be other information necessary to suit your unit’s needs.

Strategies for acquiring email addresses

Give them something in return. Offer valid reasons for providing the information (going green, helping the UW be more cost efficient, opportunity to get a new e-mail account, etc.).

Leverage existing publications. Write a story, run an ad, add a link, blow in, etc. to promote e-mail acquisition in ongoing publications Always include a URL directing the reader to Web site for more information (NOTE: This should not be a onetime activity, but an ongoing one).

If you are trying to reduce spending on printed publications by cutting down on the number of issues, etc., add a story, ad, link, blow in, etc. to promote e-mail acquisition in the editions you do publish. Add e-communication in lieu of the issues you no longer print and mail. Try smaller formats like a postcard or shorter newsletter and push the reader to the Web. Here’s an example:

If you are totally discontinuing a publication, send a postcard or letter explaining why, soliciting e-mail and pointing out other communication activities that will substitute for the publication. At the same time, prominently promote your e-communication on your Web site.

Add a line asking for e-mail address on every form you use (event RSVP/check in, pledge forms, gift receipts, change of address, thank you notes, etc.).

Leverage your Web presence. Add a button, link, tile, ad, etc. to collect emails and put that on all pages of your site consistently (not just home page). Offer sign up for e-newsletters or other online “publications.” Example: Invest in your Web site to make it a destination your audience will find valuable. Drive people to an online form for customer self service
Example: Put a change of address link in the footer on all pages (

Take advantage of the activities of other units like Advancement and UWAA. Use Advance to input data (send e-mails to and the Convio e-mail system.

Important things to remember

  • Properly steward e-mail addresses that you have.
  • Strictly adhere to all privacy standards.
  • Provide opt-in/opt-out language and monitor opt-out metrics as an indication of how well you are doing.
Posted by Elise Daniel
February 17, 2009 at 10:39 am
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Posted in Best Practices


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