The guide suggests 5 simple metrics for assessing how well Charities managing their supporter engagement, with a heavy focus on ’email list management’. It then offers a traffic light system for assessing your performance on each.
I heartily recommend downloading the report, but just in case, here are those RED signals to beware of, that suggest your email list management is going awry:
1. Your action rates following email sends are lower than 20%
2. Your campaigning actions have less than 30% participation from those ‘new to the organisation’
3. Less than 50% of your new supporters are opting into future communication
4. Less than 20% of your new supporters take a second action
5. More than 4% of people unsubscribe from your mailings
All data is debatable. Based on other benchmarking, and anecdotal feedback, the 20% in item 1 looks to be set rather high. But context is everything. Thus, for example hitting figures under 30% ‘new to campaigning actions’ could simply indicate you have a mature supporter list. And the 20% figure taking a second action could be very unambitious for many organisations.
The point of any metrics, though is to act as a prompt to help charities think about their (activist) communities as a strategic asset and their health as the key to success. If you are driving your communities too hard and fast, or have your eyes closed at the wheel, then you are going to be using up your most valuable and expensive resource – supporter goodwill. Ask yourself, for example:
Are your supporters growing? Are they interested? Are they getting benefit from their relationship with you? Are they talking about you?
As a digital leader inside your organisation, the point of your digital strategy is not ‘just’ to raise next quarter’s funds, deliver next month’s campaign sign-ups or gather emergency volunteers. You ALSO have to build resilient and resourceful communities of support, by talking to them, not AT them. Your strategic role is to look after the short-term AND the long-term.
Communities are the fuel that your organisation engine runs on. By sensitively applying the full toolkit of digital techniques, you will travel both further, and faster. And burn fewer people!
Tim Kitchin is client service director and director of consulting at Copper, the digital marketing agency.