Getting inactive email list subscribers back on board

August 5, 2014

Getting inactive email list subscribers back on board

Direct mail is an effective method of outreach because it reaches the physical mailbox of a recipient and creates a personal connection, however brief, that isn't often found with traditional mass-media marketing. In much the same way as direct mail, email is one form of electronic outreach that creates a similar personal connection through inboxes. It's not a stretch to say that having an email component to fundraising and general awareness campaigns is important to many charitable groups. But what can nonprofits do about the inactive subscribers to their lists, the ones who haven't clicked on an embedded link or even opened an email for some time?

Nonprofit marketing blog Getting Attention! recently discussed a case study on reactivating email list subscribers. The study focused on the methods used by the Union of Concerned Scientists, an advocacy group which used a three-pronged strategy to get lapsed subscribers back into the fold. The group started off with a personal, "We miss you" message and was followed by a more direct call to action, saying the group still needed them. Both emails used personalization by including the first name of the recipient in the title. The final message simply said "Thanks and goodbye" and provided one last chance to re-up with the group.

This strategy combined a number of best practices, including having an early call to action and using the names of recipients. Frogloop said using the first names of contributors is a good start, but further focus into understanding donor preferences is also important. The UCS also asked recipients to further specify what messages they wanted to receive based on specific issues and general interests. UCS re-engaged 5 percent of its inactive file with the campaign, a strong result considering the low commitment of time and resources, but the best practices highlighted here can help organizations create their own campaigns to bring contributors back on board.

Content presented by First Nonprofit Group, the leading provider of state unemployment insurance solutions for 501(c)(3) nonprofit employers.


Ready to chat?
Get in touch today to request a no-obligation savings evaluation.


In addition to their money-saving purpose on behalf of nonprofit organizations like AHS, First Nonprofit’s Nonprofit Unemployment Fund
streamlines the information we need to efficiently manage unemployment claims. Our relationship with NU Fund gave us access to such things as advice on planning for what’s ahead and how to analyze cost scenarios when unexpected events occurred. Both experiences were very helpful.

Asian Health Services, Oakland, CA

The Ensight Skills Center has enjoyed working with First Nonprofit for several years. We are enrolled in their Unemployment Savings Program and although we have not required a lot of intervention, there have been a few times. I know others have dealt with the same problem of unemployment fraud over the last year and in our case, a call to First Nonprofit (they actually answer their phones) cleared up the issue. They also sent us a letter to send to all our employees telling them what they needed to do to prevent this in the future and protect themselves. What a relief! Over the years if I have questions or concerns, they are happy to listen, advise and help if they can. Another BIG advantage of using First Nonprofit is that all the money that is paid into the Unemployment Savings Program lives on my balance sheet as an asset. The money continues to be Ensight’s not the governments. First Nonprofit has certainly given me peace of mind.

Ensight Skills Center, Inc, Fort Collins, CO

Visually Impaired Preschool Services has been a client of First Non-Profit since it was first offered as a benefit of VisionServe Alliance. We completed a thorough evaluation of cash savings to our agency before taking advantage of this wonderful benefit and it has been a very wise decision. Our experience with the processes from accounting to claims have been professional, expeditious and easy.

Visually Impaired Preschool Services, Louisville, KY

NYCON members who use First Nonprofit’s programs enjoy enduring savings and improved efficiency. Our association knows that success, because from the beginning, we achieved the same great benefits. Great savings, seamless technology, and responsive service. NYCON highly recommends First Nonprofit’s remarkable unemployment solutions.

New York Council of Nonprofits, Albany, NY

It has been our sincere pleasure to maintain a strong, vibrant business partnership with First Nonprofit. We greatly admire their strong industry knowledge, technical expertise, constant professionalism, knowledgeable and dedicated staff. They are always extremely responsive, personable and provide us with the necessary guidance and recommendations on a numerous variety of employment scenarios. We

Thresholds, Chicago, IL

Because INCS advocates for the operating conditions that allow charter public schools to provide high quality public education, partnering with First Nonprofit was an easy decision. First Nonprofit’s unemployment programs provide our member schools two operating elements crucial to their ability to provide high quality public education: savings and budget certainty. Capable, committed teachers are the key to student success. By participating in the unemployment insurance savings plan, charter public schools gain peace of mind and are able to invest more money in their teachers.

Illinois Network of Charter Schools, Chicago, IL

Throughout our membership in the Unemployment Savings Program, First Nonprofit understood our demands, community dynamics, and the importance of seamless services; that allowed us to serve our constituents better.

Prevent Blindness America, Chicago, IL