Well, Emerson & Church's Real World Guides are just the opposite of those big, clumsy books. The Guides sport the tag line: "The Mercifully Brief Real World Guide to...." And, they mean it!
My introduction to this series is Raising Thousands (if Not Tens of Thousands) of Dollars With Email by Madeline Stanionis. (Emerson&Church; ISBN 1-889102-05-9; $24.95 U.S.)
Stanionis is President of Donordigital, a full-service online fundraising, advocacy, and marketing company. Her clients range from AARP to the Girl Scouts to the Humane Society. Her writing is sharp, snappy, and to the point, testifying to her expertise in this rather new medium.
Online fundraising has come into its own in recent years as use of the Internet has spread and international disasters have occurred both unexpectedly and yet as regularly as a fast heartbeat. The instant worldwide coverage of 9/11, the Indonesian tsunami, and Hurricane Katrina has plunged the nonprofit world into a universe of tragedy and the need to raise funds quickly and broadly.
Email Fundraising Is Growing Up...and Fast.
The book delves into the intricacies of
- building a "strong, engaged, generous" list.
- how to build a "campaign" of emails.
- how to write an email (the subject line should be no more than 50 characters long).
- how to creatively rise above the Internet chatter.
- and how to gather and analyze the data about your email campaigns.
It was this last item that really caught my attention. I feel a whole lot more comfortable with the writing part than the metric part. Stanionis takes the reader step by step through the statistics and shows what is important and what to look for.
The other strength of this great little book (108 pages!) are the screen shots of actual emails. There are screen shots of fundraising appeals in each chapter plus text that shows you how and why the email works; the photos that have appeal; and the layout that works best.
This is invaluable information...and you can pore over the details as long as you like.
What Could Be Better
Despite this shortcoming, Raising Thousands... has earned a place on my shelf of preferred reading.