#GivingTuesday: How Watsi & DoSomething Influence Donors to Take Action

by Shayla Price

Today isn’t just any ordinary Tuesday.

With Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday kicking off the holiday shopping season, nonprofits around the world unite to mark the beginning of the charitable season. This global movement dubbed #GivingTuesday encourages individuals to donate their time, money, and talent to their favorite causes.

While charitable giving did uptick to $390 billion in 2016 (a 2.7% increase from the previous year), nonprofits still struggle to maintain fundraising engagement and drive volunteer participation to their organizations.

Similar to their for-profit counterparts, nonprofit teams thrive when they tell compelling stories to their audiences. Network for Good reports that 55% of nonprofits experienced a positive impact in fundraising because of great storytelling.

Nonprofits like Watsi and DoSomething are taking storytelling to the next level. Through personalized messaging, these organizations boost audience involvement — and we’re proud to help make that happen in Customer.io. Let’s take a look at their journeys…

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The Formula for Driving Action in Your Emails

When it comes to putting together email campaigns, we’re usually laser-focused on trying to say the right things and design the right buttons to increase clicks. But in getting so caught up in the old-school email marketing metrics of success like...

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How to Write Emails that Pave the Way Towards Action

What does it take for an idea to register? The challenge is that information alone isn’t enough to convince or teach. The way you deliver information matters.

When Melissa Studzinski joined General Mills as a brand manager for the product Hamburger Helper, she got binders of data, market research and surveys, and briefs to help do her job. These “death binders,” as she called them, overwhelmed her with information in the abstract. What clicked for Melissa and her team was when they started visiting moms cooking in their kitchens. She says,

“I’ll never forget one woman, who had a toddler on her hip while she was mixing up dinner on the stove. We know that ‘convenience’ is an important attribute of our product, but it’s a different thing to see the need for convenience firsthand.”

Chip and Dan Heath tell this story in Made to Stick to illustrate the power of concreteness, how decision-making can be easier when guided by specific experiences. For Melissa, actually seeing moms in their homes delivered insights into the value of predictability and convenience for mothers and the kids they were feeding, over the extensive variety the company had been pushing. After simplifying the product line and adapting the ads, sales of Hamburger Helper increased by 11%.

"Information alone isn't enough to convince or teach. How you deliver information matters."

In email marketing, it’s easy to deliver death by confusing abstractions or to take haphazard stabs at what we think will motivate. Instead we can educate, nurture, and convince much more effectively by using concreteness.

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The Persuasion Playbook for Email Marketers

If you turn your Econ 101 textbook to the first page, you’ll find a definition of homo economicus: the economic man. It’s an old-school way to understand why people make the choices they do. This character is rational, self-interested, and thinks purely in terms of maximizing his utility. Nothing will persuade him except his own economic gain.

And as any marketer knows, that’s a totally unrealistic model.

Sure, we all value utility and economic gain, but we also chase rainbows, windmills, waterfalls, and that last cookie in the jar. Assuming that we’re 100% rational and self-interested is a myopic view of what actually motivates people. If your email marketing campaign is governed by this principle, you’re operating from an expired field guide.

how to email real people

You need to bring more to the table than a good product or a good deal. You need to persuade people to come and stay at your table in the first place.

What follows is our collection of 5 motivational principles to help make you a powerful communicator, no matter what message you’re trying to get across. We’ll dive into why these principles are effective and explore lots of ways you can apply them in your emails.

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The One Power Word to Persuade Them All

“Because you’re worth it.”

This famous slogan by the cosmetic company L’Oréal’s uses one of the most powerful words in persuasive copywriting — “because.”

Humans crave reasons and resolutions. Ever since you are a small child, you want to know “why...

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