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Newsletter: #945: The “How Crowdrise Gets New Members to Take Action” Issue

[Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That! newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.]

Crowdrise is an online community that makes it easier to host and support great charitable causes. And like most charitable giving organizations, getting people to sign up is the easy part, but getting them to take action is what really matters.

And to do it, Crowdrise has a very specific activation sequence for new members of their community. Here are some lessons from their remarkable strategy, step-by-step:

1. Start with an email worth reading
2. Send them a secret
3. Help them look like a big fan
4. Bring them into the community
5. Check it out: Every Noise At Once

1. Start with an email worth reading

Typically, the first email you get when you sign up for something online is automated, doesn’t give you a ton of information, and is called something like “Confirmation Email” — pretty boring. But when you join Crowdrise, their welcome email gives you a reason to take notice. The subject line is “Crowdrise Email You Should Probably Read,” and they tell you stuff you actually want to know, like how your donation will appear on your bank statement. The email also gives their members a taste of their humor with unusual sender names and links to stuff like a baby picture of one of their employees.

The lesson: Crowdrise knows that every interaction matters — and it shows when they refuse to waste even a simple confirmation note.

2. Send them a secret

In the “Crowdrise Email You Should Probably Read,” they ask new customers to reply with a secret code so they can be entered into a contest to win a Crowdrise hoodie. The secret code? “Okra Chair.” It’s weird, but it’s much more memorable than some scrambled letters and numbers, and it’s quirky enough that people will talk about it. Even better, it’s just fun. Some other fun stuff they do: award weird status symbols, share awkward employee stories in their company history, and host odd weekly contests.

The lesson: How are you making it easy and fun for your customers to talk back to your company?

3. Help them look like a big fan

If you reply to the first email with “Okra Chair,” you can expect an email back, asking for even more interaction. This time, if you send them your address, they’ll mail you a sticker. (Spoiler alert: Crowdrise actually mails you much more swag than just a sticker, like temporary tattoos, a Crowdrise flag, and a handwritten note.) They arm even first-time customers with enough branded stuff to make them look like long-time fans, right away.

The lesson: How are you helping your new fans feel like your biggest fans?

4. Bring them into the community

If you’ve taken the time to reply to the confirmation email with “Okra Chair” and requested a sticker by sending them your address, Crowdrise assumes you’re pretty interested in them. So in this third email, they ask something back from you: Send in a photo of the swag they sent you, and they’ll post it on their Crowdrise Pics page and add 1,000 points to your account. It’s great because it brings together a scrapbook of Crowdrise fans for the world to see. But more importantly, it makes new fans feel like a part of a community they can actually see, even if it’s an online community.

The lesson: Creating a sense of community and belonging is sometimes as simple as asking members to get a little involved.

5. Check it out: Every Noise At Once

Using an algorithm, this text cloud of musical genres creates loose connections between anything from blue-eyed jazz to death metal. Click on the genre names to hear an example. Click the arrow to see a text cloud of artists and bands within the genre.

Check it out: Every Noise At Once

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  1. Courtney July 11, 2013 at 12:49 pm #

    These are really great tips on how to engage properly. Thanks for the great article. Sharing this with a couple of great charities I know that can use a helping hand!

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