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Leverage Your Online Forms to Expand Your Mailing List

The holiday season is here and your organization decided to send newsletters to donors, volunteers or other stakeholders – a great idea, however, currently you have a very limited email list… how to collect emails of new potential donors? How can your organization utilize your website to expand the organization’s mailing list?

As a director of resource development for an Israeli nonprofit organization,1 +1 Association of Immigrant Youth,I prepared a very nice presentation (with music and everything…) for new potential private donors. I remember long discussions over every word, phrases, and images for this presentation, we worked days and nights to make sure that the presentation conveyed the exact message we wanted to send to these prospects.

After we were pleased with the presentation, we moved on to the next step, sending the presentation to our mailing list… Surprise! What we found was that our mailing list contained only limited number of individuals and mainly includes foundations who already rejected our proposals (quite a few…).This presentation was not relevant for them because we wanted to touch individuals, not organizations.

I assume that we were not the first organization to face this problem and certainly not the last, therefore, I decided to share with you tips and tricks to improve your website’s online registration form – hopefully it will help you to collect more information about people who are interested in your organizations.

1.Balanced Simplicity.

It is very tempting to ask your site visitors endless questions on the online form – name, email, phone, gender, age, location and more. Collecting as much information as possible makes sense because we all want to know our donors. But, asking too many questions may deter them from joining your mailing list.

Balance – The form should be simple to fill out and at the same time collect enough information so you can start cultivating the relationship with the surfer (I always say that it is impossible to cultivate relationship with an email address!).

Ask yourself how much information is really necessary? Put yourself in their shoes, would you answer so many questions? Keep it Simple.

Another option is to have two forms, one simple that includes only necessary information (email, first name, and last name) and another form with more detailed questions.

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