When you’re collecting email addresses, you need to focus on both donors and non-donors. Don’t neglect one group in favor of the other. It’s critical to get the email addresses of your donors so that you can keep them informed of news and information that relates to their membership status with your organization. Also make an effort to collect the email addresses of donors that joined in past years, which you can do at membership renewal time. Non-donors are a large group of individuals that have an interest in your programs or activities, but for various reasons haven’t had the time or financial freedom to become contributing members. We like to call these future donors! Non-donors should be asked to “stay in touch” by providing their email addresses. Always remember the golden rule:Get permission to use an email address.Anywhere you solicit an email address, include a brief explanation of what you will do with it, such as “We’ll use your email address to send you occasional email updates. We won’t share your email address with anyone, and you can ‘unsubscribe’ at any time.” Purchased lists simply do not work and should not be used. You will be regarded as spam and be almost universally deleted before anybody sees your messages, all the while building a bad reputation. A smaller list of people who are known to be interested in your organization and cause is much more effective than a huge list of unknown and uninterested recipients.So you may be wondering, well how do I go about building a large email database? Don’t worry – there are plenty of opportunities to ask for email addresses:On your site. Get email addresses from your site visitors by making it really easy to get on your e-news list. Place the subscription form prominently on the home page and other high-trafficked pages – and give visitors a good reason to leave their name by telling them they’ll get something they want in your e-newsletter such as tips, important information or reminders of scheduled events. In the ideal setup, the user inputs their email address on your home page, clicks submit, and is then taken to another page where they can optionally provide additional information, such as first name/last name, zip code, and interests so you can personalize and target messages.With printed materials: All of your print materials should ask for email addresses and provide easy ways to sign up for the e-newsletter. You can invite people to send a blank email to an email address that you set up through your email messaging system; just by sending the email they will be subscribed. You can tell them to go to your home page and sign up there. Or you can tell them to mail or fax back the ad or form with their email address scribbled on it and you will enter it into the database.At events: If you’re running a kiosk or a booth at an event, ask people face-to-face for their email address, and explain why you’re doing it. Or you can set up a laptop and let people enter their email addresses and other information. You can announce a raffle or a contest, asking people to write their email addresses on the raffle stub to enter. If you’re at a business event, you can ask people to leave their business cards.On the phone: At the end of a call, when a donor has either pledged or declined, the caller can ask: “Please give me your email addresses so we can stay in contact. Email saves us money, and let’s us contact you when there’s breaking news.” It’s an opportunity for the person on the phone to be in the loop, not an intrusion.In person: This won’t grow your list fast, but it shouldn’t be overlooked. In a busy day, you might meet a dozen new people. Ask them for their cards or email addresses, and then make sure their email addresses are entered onto the e-newsletter list. When you or others representing your organization give a speech or make a presentation, invite listeners at the end to give you their cards if they’d like to get your e-news.Mailings: Mailings are good opportunities to ask for email addresses, because there’s often a response mechanism built into the mailing. Make sure there’s a line for email addresses – and possibly a premium or some other incentive. Double postcards are also good for collecting email, since people can tear off the reply postcard and mail it back to RSVP or sign up for something.Premiums, contests and raffles: Any kind of donor contact that has a reward is a good opportunity to ask for email addresses. In the case of a membership premium, the donor is already excited about receiving a gift in exchange for a donation, so obtaining their email is usually easy. Contests and raffles are other good times, since the expectation of winning requires someone to do something, and giving their email address is easy and free.
This article was originally posted on TheCityFix.com.With rising air pollution to costly traffic congestion and increasingly burdened public finances, cities need to transition onto a sustainable path towards healthy, productive and equitable urban communities. To thrive in the coming urban century, cities will need to innovate how they deliver sustainable urban services to meet people’s needs.While there is no unique recipe for delivering sustainable urban services, many of the successful solutions around the world share common characteristics. An ongoing project between World Resources Institute (WRI), the Citi Foundation and C40 is working to identify global examples of sustainable urban innovation and draw out commonalities across them. The partnership helps develop locally-customized business models that can accelerate the implementation of sustainable solutions around the world. Through a global scan of urban innovations, the partnership has distilled four key elements that are critical ingredients to thriving, sustainable cities.Rethinking How We Meet People’s NeedsTraditional thinking about services focused on simply expanding the supply of infrastructure, like roads, highways, bus rapid transit (BRT), and metro in and between cities. The idea was that more infrastructure would give more people access to mobility options.The problem with simply expanding infrastructure, is that it misses how people will use it. Exclusively increasing road space without giving people alternatives to use public transit leaves people no choice but to rely on private vehicles. This in turn leads to a vicious cycle of more congestion. The costs of this business as usual approach are staggering: in Mexico City thousands of people spend hours stuck in congestion every day, costing the local economy 2.6 percent of GDP every year.Innovative service solutions are reversing the traditional thinking that has led to congestion, sprawl, and inefficiency by taking into account how people actually use infrastructure to meet their needs. For example, transit-oriented development (TOD) brings people into compact neighborhoods where they need fewer—or don’t need any—roads and highways to access amenities and jobs in the city. TOD makes efficient use of infrastructure, reducing the distance between people and their destinations and connecting them with efficient transport options like mass transit and bike share.Shifting Traditional Roles in Service ProvisionUrban services are typically considered the responsibility of the public sector. But growing urban populations and constrained public finance mean that the public sector cannot deliver successful services entirely on its own. Many urban innovations are the result of shifting roles and responsibilities between public, private, and civil society actors, including people.New service operators are emerging to deliver non-traditional infrastructure services, such as efficient street lighting and building efficiency. In Bhubaneswar, India (as in many other places) an energy service company is taking on the task of upgrading and maintaining public lighting, in exchange for a share of the savings generated through more energy efficient infrastructure. Even service users are taking on more active roles by opting for residential solar rooftops, enabling them to generate their own power or lease out their roof space to third party companies who operate the infrastructure.Unlocking New Sources of FundingOne persistent challenge for many sustainable services has been a lack of funding – viable revenue streams or transfers that support services through the cycle of planning, construction, operation, and maintenance. In Mexico City, for example, internal budgeting barriers and legal constraints are holding the city back from investing in retrofits of public buildings.Many urban innovations are succeeding by unlocking previously untapped willingness-to-pay. In the “sharing economy” of shared cars, bikes, and rides, new service providers have succeeded in turning end users’ desire for point-to-point, no hassle mobility into a viable stream of income for their business. Rather than paying for ownership of the infrastructure, users are paying a fee for mobility services from providers like Uber, Lift, and a range of bike share operatorsFinding value in unexpected places is also possible in large-scale urban developments. Rio de Janeiro is capturing the value of land by auctioning additional development rights in Porto Maravilha ahead of the 2016 Olympics. These tradeable securities, so-called “CEPACs”, effectively put a price on every square meter of vertical development above a certain threshold and are used to fund much-needed public infrastructure and mixed-use urban revitalization.Evolving the Financial ToolkitWhile new sources of funding are critical, urban innovators often face the financial challenge of mobilizing sufficient capital to make the upfront investment. The reason for this is that many sustainable solutions can appear too risky to be attractive for financiers looking to make a return on their investment. This perceived riskiness can result in limited access to the upfront capital that many urban innovations so desperately need.While commercial banks may not be willing to lend to a start-up, there are new financial products and approaches that are bypassing traditional lending institutions. In the Philippines, the GETCAPITAL crowd-microfinance approach has proven critical in supporting independent owners of new electric buses. Thanks to this financing strategy, new buses are replacing outdated, dangerous and inefficient “Jeepneys”—the traditional mode of transport—in Manila. Investors are guaranteed a 6 percent return on their investment, which is paid back by shares in the fare and advertising revenues.Financial innovations also include those that put a twist on traditional debt products—such as loans and bonds. For instance, in the case of “on-bill financing” for building efficiency, a utility or third party will put up the upfront costs (often financed through a fairly standard low-interest loan), while the customer repays the investment through a charge or tariff on the utility bill.The Urban Century of InnovationDisruptive changes are needed in order to achieve global climate commitments, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and improve cities for people. New business models that combine sustainable service solutions with creative approaches to funding, financing, and delivery are already reshaping cities today. They offer a glimpse at the future of urban innovation.