I want it all: what to do when things are happening fast

I want it all: what to do when things are happening fast

We’ve all had the temptation to send an email asking people to do 10 different things. And if we succumb, we have probably all had the experience of people doing none of our asks.

I received an email recently from a list I belong to with subject line “3 easy asks.” Guess how many of them I did? And this is for an organization that I support, but the asks were not particularly related. So what’s a fast-moving organization to do?

1) Prioritize your wants. Instead of sending a Frankenstein email with multiple pieces bolted on, do some pre-planning. If people were going to only do one of your 10 asks, which one would you want it to be? What is the most important?

Sometimes you have different people at the campaign or organization pressing their different priorities on you at the same time – and you’ll need to play traffic cop, rather than saying yes to everyone. Make sure they all know what your schedule looks like, perhaps you need to get all the players in a room together and hash out what gets priority,

2) See if there is a logical sequence of asks. Can you do a follow up email just to people to who signed the action?

3) Assess timeliness. What is the most urgent of the asks? Can one wait until you have addressed the one with an upcoming deadline.

4) Don’t be afraid to send multiple emails, as long as each one has a clear ask. What’s the worst that would happen if you send out multiple emails? Are your unsubscribe rates from each email particularly high? If so, you might have other problems.

5) Divvy it up. Is there a way you can divide up your list, either by interest or randomly? This will allow you to assess multiple asks head to head.

In our client Environmental Action’s recent experience we were facing the need for a reportback, an upcoming call-in day, a possible fundraising ask, a Thunderclap, an end of a public comment period, and yet another delivery event. Rather than send one email asking people to do four different things, we divvied it up as follows:

Day 1: Blog post about our delivery event, emailed to people who signed that petition on fracking censorship at the EPA.

Day 2: “Kick” of the Public Comment on Fracking in public land, with a “lift note” mentioning the breaking news on the EPA Fracking censorship.

Day 3: Promotion of the Thunderclap, promoting the call-in day.

Day 4: Reminding people of the call-in day going on, plugging a live stream for tomorrow, and a ps link for them to donate!

Whew, ok this last one might count as multiple asks. But at a certain point, you can have too many emails, and we find a donation PS is sometimes a good way to split the difference.

Need help sorting out between competing priorities for your organization? Contact PowerThru!