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Luminate Online Wisdom For A #GivingTuesday Ninja Warrior

Our classic advice for big volume email days is to schedule your emails in advance. This will ensure that your emails send as close to the time you schedule them as possible. Our team also uses these pre-scheduled emails to gauge email volume in advance. 

And... classic advice is sometimes meant to be broken. Especially when very good reasons also exist for sending your emails "on the fly". If you plan to send a series of emails in one day, and want to exclude people who have already donated from getting subsequent emails, you'll want to read this piece. Below, Nicole Tucker from Cathexis Partners breaks it down, explaining why sending emails on the fly is a good idea based on how Luminate Online lists get refreshed – and how you can use this knowledge to optimize your campaigns for the big giving days ahead: 
 
GivingTuesday reminds me a lot of the show American Ninja Warrior that I watch with my aspiring ninja kids: We watch with anticipation at the culmination of years of planning, training, determination and perseverance – and the chance that one little mistake will keep the ninja warriors from reaching their goal.

There are so many considerations when preparing for GivingTuesday, but I’ll focus on audience configuration and scheduling in Luminate Online.

Let me start with a quick example: You go into GivingTuesday fully prepared. You have a query suppression group configured to keep donors from getting emailed again that day. You test and test, and schedule your emails to go out a day ahead of time, but you notice something going wrong as the messages are rolling out. You have a great response, and the donations are coming in, but several donors are opting out of emails. The suppression group isn’t updating, even though it was set to rebuild on delivery. The people that donated are continuing to receive emails asking them to donate again. Not good.

Here are a couple of important things to know about groups and emails in Luminate Online to ensure you set up your Giving Tuesday email campaigns like the email ninja warrior that you are:
  
  • If you schedule an email to go out tomorrow, the target audience is finalized and generated sometime between 12:00 am – 1:00 am CST the day of delivery. This is true for all groups except query groups, which have their own unique behavior described below. Your audience will not rebuild at send. This may not be an issue for your first email, but if you have four more scheduled throughout the day, you want the audience to refresh – specifically the group of people who have donated to that particular campaign so that they don’t keep getting appeals throughout the day. 
  • If you schedule emails to go out on the same day that you are working on the message, the target audience is finalized the moment you send your message to the delivery queue. It doesn’t refresh again at the actual time of delivery.
  • Query groups will not rebuild on send if the group has already been rebuilt within the last 20 – 24 hours. Even if you check the box to rebuild it, it won’t.
  • To ensure that your query group rebuilds right around delivery time, you have to manually do it in Constituent360 > Groups first, and then send your email on the fly.
My recommendation is to always send your emails on the fly (vs. scheduling them) when you're sending a series of emails as part of a campaign, to ensure you have the most up-to-date audiences. Here are a few tips:
  
  • If you’re using query groups, manually rebuild your query groups in Constituent360 just prior to setting up your email delivery to make sure the groups are updated.
  • Exclude your donors. This doesn’t have to be through a query group. You can also set up a unique donation campaign and form for GivingTuesday, configure it to add donors to a group, and direct all of your traffic to that form. Then you can use that group as your suppression group. By doing this, you don’t have to rebuild a query group in Constituent 360 prior to sending your email.
  • Don’t schedule your emails in advance if you’re sending more than one email. Plan to schedule the first one, then configure subsequent emails and send immediately to ensure your groups are updated to the minute.
  • Calculate audience recipients in the audience configuration right before you send your message to confirm the numbers are updating.
The Blackbaud team will be working round the clock on Giving Tuesday to monitor system performance and respond to situations like the ninja warriors that they are. Our first job is to help you do your job! 

Check the Cathexis blog for more tips on technology strategy and fundraising success. 
Posted by Kathryn Hall on Nov 13, 2018 10:50 AM America/New_York

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