Harnessing your email list for change: great advice from Movements.org

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More than 580 union leaders, campaigners and organisers subscribe to my email newsletter.

Susannah Vila (@susannahvila) from Movement.org has some fantastic advice on how to gain success in using email to for social good. The advice is written for progressive organisations of all kinds – and unions can certainly use the guidelines from Vila.

Collecting email addresses and using them to mobilize your supporters is one of the simplest but most important tactics for online organizing.

As Ricken Patel, founder of Avaaz, told us, “Someone operating out of their bedroom can do this better than a multimillion-dollar organization with a huge staff.”

Before you get started, though, look over these tips for how best to turn a list of e-mails into a powerful tool for activism.

The most important pieces of advice from Vila (and areas that unions need to work most to improve) are:

  • Follow through: “If someone signs up for your e-mail list, it means they are at least somewhat interested in your work. If someone takes the action asked of them in the e-mail, it means they are more interested—don’t waste that opportunity. Ask them immediately to help with something else.”
  • Give context: “When you receive new e-mail signups, don’t just dump them into the regular list. Send them a welcome e-mail describing the campaign/organization and what to expect.”

Too often, I’ve seen no follow-through from unions after sending out an email-blast. Similarly, I’ve seen emails be sent to new subscribers with little context as to what to expect. I’ve even been guilty of these errors.

Read the entire article. I thoroughly recommend it – especially in the context of my Introduction to Email Campaigning for Unions e-book.