Friday, February 29, 2008

*&%$#@* Your Email Got Trashed

With a little imagination and a bit of a potty mouth, it shouldn't be too hard to think of what the "Seven Dirty Words" might be in George Carlin's infamous 197s stand-up comedy routine.

SubscriberMail offers up a different set of words, not ones that the Federal Communications Commission might have an issue with, but rather those that email junk filters might flag and not deliver to inboxes. The Lisle, Ill.-based email marketing services and technology company issued a white paper, titled "The Seven Dirty Words you can't say in subject lines; plus 100 others."

Among the words that make the black list were pretty obvious ones that you likely have seen in your own junk folder:

  • Eliminate dept
  • Free, or FREE, or maybe Free access, free gift, free info and free instant
  • Any words having to do with sex, pornography, cures or medication; and more specifically, Cialis (though nonprofits probably don't have to worry about putting that last one in an email subject line)

Other words might not be as obvious, or they might be more frequently used by nonprofits:

  • Undisclosed recipient
  • Text that has gaps, or numerical digits at the end
  • Multi level marketing

For a complete list of the dirty words to avoid in subject lines, visit:
-Mark Hrywna

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Web tools that can make your life easier

Although getting the maximum use out of online tools can be complicated at first, even daunting to smaller organizations, there are avenues that can be helpful.

Rick Christ, managing partner of in Warrenton, Va., an online marketing consulting firm, suggests several resources that can be helpful to any nonprofit. They are:
  • If you're looking for free Web page hosting, with blog tools, room for photos, email and newsletter service, get one that comes with about 100 million other users who are online 24 hours a day.
  • Paypal. It is free to set up. It costs about as much per transaction as most donation processing services (and less than many), ant it is a tool of choice for 67 million people whose sole purpose in having it is to transfer money online.
  • Text messaging. When the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) failed to provide street lamps and the forms necessary to run search operations in post-hurricane New Orleans, relief workers used text messaging to stay in touch with each other and constituents were able to ask questions and provide updates.
  • IM (instant messaging). It is another free way to be "open" for business.
    ThePetitionSite. Com. This is a site for online advocacy, a place to post a petition and drive advocacy.
  • Yahoo! Groups. This provides file sharing, group email, calendars and other features.

Online...Who's bidding at your auctions?

Who takes part in online auctions? According to a bidder study by Cambridge, Mass.-based cMarket 2006, the following can be said about the people competing for items at online auctons:
  • 71 percent of online auction bidders are female.
  • 92 percent go to the Internet once a day or more.
  • They spend 49 minutes each time they log on.
  • 79 percent typically access the Internet from home for personal use.
  • They visit online auctions about four or five times a year.
  • They spend an average of 17 minutes each time they visit an online auction.
    51 percent prefer to support their favorite nonprofit/charitable cause through online auctions.
  • The top reasons for participating in online charitable auctions include lending support, purchasing products and services, and ease of use.
  • 95 percent agree somewhat or completely with the statement: Online charitable auctions provide a unique way to purchase items of interest while giving to a worthy cause.
  • Two-thirds indicate, "charity for which the auction is being given is a cause I believe in" as the most important reason they participate in the first place.
  • The three categories bid on most recently by those who visited an auction are travel (16 percent), food/dining (12 percent) and home items (9 percent).
  • Of the 34 percent who would be interested in a "pay over time" option, virtually all would be at least somewhat likely to use it.
  • 50 percent would be willing to bid at least 20 percent more on an item if a pay over time option existed.