Nonprofit Digital Communications

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For those doing digital strategy work, including written or multimedia content for nonprofit websites, social media, and e-newsletters. This group is for those digital communications folks who create written or multimedia content for websites, social media, and e-newsletters for nonprofits. Members will discuss topics such as social media trends, digital analytics, developing content, storytelling, planning and resources, content strategy, and more.

Advantage of integrated email + advocacy platforms?

  • 1.  Advantage of integrated email + advocacy platforms?

    Posted Jul 11, 2018 18:27
    Hello all,

    I'm new to the forum!  Thanks in advance for any thoughts!

    My org wants to start setting up advocacy pages (email your legislator, petition, etc.) but our current email service provider doesn't offer these tools.

    The new platform we're looking at has integrated email list management and advocacy modules - which makes sense for gathering metrics and executing list management tasks - but I've been asked whether it's really necessary to switch to the new email module.  "Can't we just send the emails using the old system and then see how many people complete the form in the new thing?"  (I think the migration feels like a big project...)

    I made some points about being able to better isolate messaging factors that work and keeping all the data in one place, but maybe I'm too dug in...

    Anyone have experience using separate platforms vs. integrated ones?  I've spent plenty of time importing/exporting lists between various systems over the years and know that the more steps you add, the less likely any kind of useful/regular analysis will happen when resources are scant. Anything I'm missing on either side of this (outside of direct costs)?  Thanks again for any thoughts!

    Sam Streed

  • 2.  RE: Advantage of integrated email + advocacy platforms?

    Posted Jul 12, 2018 11:16
    If you don't connect these tools you will regret it. Any time you want to use information from your advocacy too to create segments to communicate with, you'll have a data import/export project. As a result you'll do fewer of them, you'll communicate with your constituents less frequently and in a less targeted manner and your outcomes will be not as good as they could be.

    Isaac Shalev
    Stamford CT

  • 3.  RE: Advantage of integrated email + advocacy platforms?

    Posted Jul 12, 2018 11:25
    A couple years ago we started using Action Network, an advocacy platform that also includes email and fundraising. Prior to that we were using MailChimp for email (and various things for fundraising), but quickly moved to using Action Network for everything.

    The only downside to doing emails through Action Network is that it is not as easy to create pretty emails as it was with MailChimp. I'm getting better at it and that may not be an issue for the platforms you're comparing.

    The biggest benefit is not having to manually transfer supporters who took actions or made donations on one platform to our email list. That was a real time suck. I also like getting to see all the ways individual supporters interact with us (or not): reading emails, signing actions, donating, etc. I could do that in a custom database, but again, time-consuming. There are a bunch of other benefits that I haven't taken advantage of, such as easily targeting emails to supporters who took specific actions, donated, etc. We're a pretty small organization with a fairly small list (just under 10,000); I can't imagine having separate email and action platforms for a large organization.

    Melissa Amarello
    Advocates for Snake Preservation
    Silver City, NM, United States

  • 4.  RE: Advantage of integrated email + advocacy platforms?

    Posted Jul 13, 2018 13:37
    Thanks Melissa and Isaac!  That's very helpful.  We're looking at SalsaLabs, for what it's worth.  I've used it extensively but not in a few years. I know they have a completely new interface now (that some people here don't care for), but I always thought the functionality was just fine for my needs.

    Anyway, on whether to migrate to an integrate system, I think the data/list management workflow presents most compelling case, even if we're not doing highly targeted emailings.  With separate platforms, sending an email tomorrow to a list that includes the people who completed an action today would entail an inefficient export->import process.

    Sam Streed