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NonProfit List Collecting Practices Part 1

CTCT Employee

NonProfit List Collecting Practices Part 1

Hello there.  My name is Alec Stern, Vice President Strategic Market Development and I’m one of Constant Contact’s Founding Team Members.  I focus on Nonprofit and Association market development.  I’m also very active in the Nonprofit community and have worked with many on their efforts to advance their mission and cause through online marketing tools, techniques and strategy.


I’m often asked questions about how to build an email list of donors, supporters and members to communicate to.  While you may put together the best looking and most compelling email campaigns ever, without a permission-based list of people to receive them, your messages can go unseen. Fortunately, there are a number of simple ways to build and maintain your email contact list so you can reach the people your organization covets the most: your loyal donors, supporters and members.


Ask in person      


When your donors or members come into your nonprofit or attend one of your events, are you asking for their email address? Letting them walk out the door without asking is equivalent to losing a valuable asset. Why not ask?

You'll be surprised at how willing supporters are to give you their address. In fact, over 50% will provide their email address to you on the spot. You just have to ask for it. 


There are multiple ways to do so. One way is to give your staff an incentive to ask. I recommend creating a contest to see how many email addresses your organization can collect over a given time period. Everyone likes to win, so make a game of collecting email addresses and get your entire organization involved.
You should also advertise the availability of your newsletter at events.  At your event, ask people when they check-in or register if they would like to be added to your email list. (Constant Contact offers an easy way to order signup books, display placards, and signup cards for your business or organization. Find out more here.)


Ask online                                                                          


Asking online might be a little easier for some, since it removes the human fear of rejection. And there are multiple touch points where you can ask your supporters for their email address on the Web.  Here are a few to consider:

Add a Join My Mailing List (JMML) box: Make the Join My Mailing List box a key feature on your website so that it appears prominently on just about every page.  Through search engine queries, you never know where people may land on your site.  Adding the JMML box to every page ensures that no matter how a visitor finds you, he or she will have an opportunity to join your list.


And for those who have a Constant Contact account and a Facebook account, we provide an easy way to put a Join My Mailing List tab on your Facebook Fan Page. Link to more information or see resources at the end of this article.


  • Are you currently collecting email addresses?
  • How is it working for you?
  • Share your thoughts on your successful list building techniques.