5 Email Design Mistakes to Avoid this Holiday Season

“To help you get noticed and stand out from the crowd this holiday season,” Ryan Pinkham of Constant Contact writes, “here are five design mistakes all nonprofits (including political campaigns) need to avoid” in their holiday and end-of-year fundraising emails…

1. Overwhelming readers with holiday cheer
2. Forgetting to use your photo album
3. Dragging on and on
4. Making it impossible to read on-the-go
5. Burying your call to action

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The Right Way to Deal with a Public Disaster

Political strategist extraordinaire Joe Gaylord is fond of saying, “The only law not broken in a campaign is Murphy’s Law.”

Indeed, while minor things will go wrong in every campaign, every now and then a campaign is faced with a real doozy!  A DUI.  Getting caught in an extra-marital affair.  Bankruptcy.  Slip of the tongue/major verbal gaffe.

But the campaign disaster need not sink your campaign.  In fact, it’s often not the disaster that kills you, but your campaign’s response to the disaster.

On October 1, 2013 at around 8:00 a.m., a brand new Tesla – the electric car billed as “the safest car in America” – hit a piece of debris in the road and burst into flames.  A video of the burning car hit the ‘net and went viral.  Subsequently, Tesla’s stock dropped like a rock.

Now read how Tesla’s founder, chairman and CEO, Elon Musk, handled this PR disaster and turned it into an advantage.  And while reading about it, think about the principles that were applied as they relate to how you should handle your own public disaster if, God forbid, your campaign hits a piece of debris on the campaign trail and bursts into flames.

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Go Big or Stay Home

When it comes to campaign promises, keep the following in mind…

1.)  Big, specific promises are far better than small general promises.

If you promise “to fight hard every day to keep taxes low” you’ll get far less enthusiasm for your campaign than if you sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge promising the voters of your district that you will “oppose and vote against any all efforts to increase taxes.”

Many candidates are afraid to make such big, specific campaign promises because they’re afraid they’ll disappoint the voters if they fail to keep them.  Here’s how to handle that problem:

Keep your promises!

Granted, keeping a big promise is much harder than keeping a lot of little insignificant promises.  But while making a lot of little, insignificant promises is easier, it doesn’t exactly set you apart from everyone else…or excite the electorate.

2.)  If your promises are TOO big, you’ll lose credibility and trust.  And if you lose credibility and trust, you lose, period.  No one will vote for you.  No one will contribute to your campaign.  No one will volunteer their time.

Don’t make promises you can’t (or won’t) keep.

How Much is a $25 Donor Worth?

“Miss Josephine Conrad loved animals,” writes fundraising bloggers Richard Perry and Jeff Schreifels.  “One day, Josephine received a letter in the mail from an animal rescue shelter.  Because it was a local shelter and she herself rescued animals, she gave a $25 gift and mailed it in.  Within a week, she received a very nice thank-you letter.

“This continued to happen again and again.  Over a period of 10 years, her gifts became larger and larger.  Then, something happened.  She gave her first gift of $1,000 to the shelter and she never heard from them again.  Well, she got the standard thank-you letter she always received, but that was it.

“Several years ago, Josephine died.  In her will, Josephine, having had no family, left her $50 million dollar fortune to care for her 4 cats, 2 dogs and 3 rabbits.”

The next time you decide it’s just not worth the time, trouble, aggravation and expense to send a thank you to a $25 donor – let alone something significantly more substantial if/when such a donor gives you a large contribution – think about Josephine Conrad.

5 Rules for Being an Unforgettable Gift Giver

Author, speaker and consultant Tom Searcy (Note: “author,” “speaker” and “consultant” are the top three ways to boost your credibility as an authority on the campaign trail) bills himself as “the foremost expert in large account sales.”

Searcy recently interviewed John Ruhlin, a speaker and best-selling author (again, credibility/authority) “who is considered to be the foremost expert on developing relationships with key executives.”  And here are Ruhlin’s “5 Rules for Being an Unforgettable Gift Giver.”

1.  If it’s not personalized, don’t bother
2.  Woo the spouse
3.  Avoid the noise
4.  Follow the frequency
5.  The best gift is a purple cow

Read the full details of these 5 rules by clicking here

And in case you didn’t make the connection, these rules apply to candidates and non-profit organizations as they relate to treating your own major donors well.