I expected an email fundraising deluge on December 30-31 and I got it. The 179 messages I received in the final 48 hours of 2023 are consistent with a pattern that has emerged in recent years: Organizations are sending more and more emails to compensate for declining income per email. The resulting race to the bottom may or may not work in the short run, but will eventually falter as donors become weary of the avalanche.

The worst offender in my in-box, an organization I have never supported, sent me 41 emails in two days – nearly one per hour. By all accounts it’s a worthy organization doing important work. It’s hard to believe they didn’t drive away more gifts than they attracted.

A friend at another organization, a large and successful charity, described their digital year-end results as ‘terrible.’  They sent 15 emails in the final two days.

It’s entirely possible you sent loads of emails on December 30-31st and did just fine. My question is, is it sustainable?


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