Winner: Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central New York
With the goals of increasing year-round awareness, driving donations, keeping the community informed of its activities and to lift traffic to its website and Facebook page, in spring 2011 the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central New York launched a monthly email newsletter.
Using a customized e-newsletter template that gives the publication a consistent and branded look, the organization created email lists for targeted audiences such as event attendees, board members, volunteers and donors. A widget was added to the organization's homepage so people could sign up to receive the e-newsletters and be directly added to the email subscriber list. Each month, the e-newsletter features a lead story with several secondary stories. Lead content in 2012 focused on the new, larger handicap accessible home under construction, with other stories about families staying at the House or a specific volunteer effort.
Since the launch, nearly $1 million in additional funding has been raised for the new House project, in part driven by the newsletter. Since November 2011, about 13% of the total website traffic was driven from the e-newsletters. Out of 20,000 unique visits, more than 2,700 unique visits resulted from the publication. The average open rate for e-mails sent from the first e-newsletter in April 2011 to date is 28.3%., with the nonprofit industry average at 21.7%. —Scott Van Camp