Obama Strategist Criticizes Non-Profit E-Mail Newsletters

Thomas Gensemer, a strategist during President Obama’s online election campaign, is advising charities to stop e-mail newsletters, calling them “a waste of time,” according to Third Sector Online. Gensemer, managing partner of Blue State Digital, said short, personalized e-mail messages to supporters that offer clean instructions for participation are a more effective online strategy.

This sounds like it could have been taken slightly out of context. Discontinuing an e-mail newsletter is a bad strategic move for a non-profit organization. If your non-profit’s mission is raising money for a short-term project like winning an election, Gensemer’s strategy works. That’s not a successful long-term strategy for non-profits. They must consistently and effectively tell their story to maintain or enhance their relationship with stakeholders and to solicit donations. Gensemer does provide a teachable lesson. Making e-mail newsletters and appeals more concise and enticing is critical for success.

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