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Why email?

  • Effective – cheap. Lowcost, immediate, great way to cultivate new activist and donors
  • Powerful – to spread the word – viral via friends
  • Active – if you build a website, they won’t come. But they will with email.

3 ways to grow the program

  1. Starts with your website. People look at a page in an F format. Compelling language on why people would join your email list.
  2. Focus on building your email list. Collect email at every event, on every form, in every possible scenario. Ask for the email and ask for an opt-in. See, giftworks, low-cost email central database – instead of through outlook.
  3. Develop a plan. Think about how & when you’ll be communicating to your list. Try to schedule regular communication to keep them interested and engaged. Have a monthlty newsletter –events, success stories

Biggest factor is timing – be flexible, nimble, and responsive. Responding to news related to your mission. You can manufacture your own timing and events.

Next stage

  • Action alerts – one of the best ways to build your list and engage
  • Fundraising – online giving
  • Cultivation – eg personal stories

Constituent relationship managementEdit

Paul Hagen, Exponent Partners

  • Need an institutional memory of interactions with your constituents. Not controlled by one person – openly accessible. Shared across the organization
  • Only 7% of respondents said their systems work with each other. Over 50% use sheets of paper, excel, outlook – over four repositories of data.
  • $4-10 dollars to acquire a constituent. Why do that when you have a goldmine of clients who are already supporting you?
  • Databases – most deal with multiple databases that don’t talk to each other. Yell about it – tell the vendors you want your data interacting.
  • Key question: How do I use technologies to impact my mission?
  • Think more holistically about your contacts – not just donors and volunteers.
  • Once you have the constituent segments down – think of intake, maintenance, kinds of interactions with them
  • How do you measure value of existing relationships; e,g, number of articles by media connection supporters, $ donated, events attended – benchmark and grow – measure measure measure.
  • Don’t overcollect data – if you don’t need the first name don’t ask for it; collect just what you’re using
  • Always trade value for data – when you get data, make sure they know why, and what you’re going to use it for.


Eric Leland, CompuMentor

  • Tell a story – instead of just hanging a shingle
  • What you do is great – what’s compelling is how is it done?
  • Use videos
  • Tell the stories up front on your site
  • Here’s what we did last week, last month – update the periodic stories about what makes you successful and attractive – if you don’t update anything else, update this
  • Ask: What’s the mission of the website? who’s the audience – funders, partners, clients, volunteers. Then decide what story you want to tell, and where to put it
  • How you want to act & interact with your constituency – email, signup, forums
  • See – high tech apps for non-profits – blogs, diaries, rss feeds. With real case studies – they can take your story and put it on their site


  • compumentor, techsoup
  • Orgwebmasters – for non-profit webmasters – long-term collaboration *for web-building – low-bandwidth approach
  • Use your peers – ask them questions, how did you do it?


Kevin Bankston, Electronic Frontier Foundation

  • Can’t be ad hoc – need a strategy, and someone who will be responsible for it
  • Who is the attacker? Hackers, governments, civil litigants
  • Read Beyond Fear; Best practices for Online Service Providers
  • Have a clear data retention policy – what do you collect, what's the minimum you need to fulfill mission. Data retention schedule, eg client files destroyed in one year – otherwise will just keep accumulating – risk of disclosure gets higher
  • Keep track of what records your computer is keeping on you. By default, logs what you did online. Don’t use your computers to log your passwords.
  • When you delete – really delete, really destroy (shred with a crosscut). Shred your discs.
  • Cipher.exe in XP – overwrites data with random space repeatedly
  • Darik's Boot and Nuke
  • If you keep stuff, protect it.
  • Should not run anything less than XP – Microsoft is not patching the old software anymore.
  • Avoid MS Office and Outlook – they're the most targeted, and well known by attackers; Most frequent source of security problems
  • Use Thunderbird mail, Firefox instead of Explorer, Open Office
  • Efs – encrypting file system – you can encrypt your entire disk
  • Access – each individual should have login and pw; log out after x minutes. Different passwords for different assets.
  • Random passwords – numbers and letters, as long as possible, not anywhere near the assets
  • Password safe – encrypts all passwords
  • Don’t use wireless – if you do, use only wep. Very easy to crack standard encryption.
  • Use pgp or gnu privacy guard for


  • Don’t keep it if you don’t need
  • Encrypt your data
  • Practice good password hygiene
  • Clear browser logs


Sarah Zolad, Misson Research

Link to other links:

Some organizations that may be useful, (not vetted recently):