"No Supporter Left Behind": Increase Your Signup Confirmations

Imagine the people who are currently browsing your nonprofit website to learn who you are and what you stand for, and who are finally being convinced that they should support your mission. Think of how much time and effort you’ve put into achieving this.

Then picture all of this going to waste because your confirmation email gets marked as spam. Or because they get distracted with other emails when trying to find yours, or perhaps because they think to themselves, “I’ll verify it later,” and then quietly and unceremoniously forget to do so. 

How many confirmation emails have sat, forever unread, in your own inbox?

The Ups and Downs of Double Opt-in

Double opt-in is when new supporters need to confirm their email address before their information can be saved and they can officially become part of your community. Double opt-in is often necessary and completely justified; it helps ensure that your nonprofit newsletter reaches supporters and that your efforts, campaigns, calls for volunteers, and donation requests are not lost to the wind.   

Double opt-in also makes it much easier to comply with privacy regulations. While it’s technically possible to comply with the likes of GDPR and CPPA without employing double opt-in, it’s much harder to do so, and therefore double opt-in is considered a best practice that organizations should adopt.

The downside is that it undoubtedly adds extra steps that make it harder for people to join your community. 

Make no mistake; it's not just one step. Users first have to open a new tab, then go to their email provider to pray that the confirmation email wasn’t filtered out of their primary inbox, and if it was, check their other inboxes, and if they still can’t find it, resort to searching for your organization’s name, until when all else has failed, they remember to check their spam folder. 

According to one estimate, 26% of new accounts are never verified. To fix this, the question you should be asking yourself is, "What can I do to reduce how many steps it takes new supporters to confirm their email address?"

Big Impact from a SmartURL

The solution is surprisingly simple in principle. Instead of asking supporters to search for a confirmation email themselves, you can help them find it by creating a smartURL (also called a smartlink) that automatically opens their email account with the precise search parameters they need to locate, and accept, your organization's confirmation email.

Let’s do a simple test run. The next link opens Gmail in a new tab and shows you every email you’ve ever received from Microsoft; click here to try it.

Here’s how it works: 

  • Search parameters are part of the URL: https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#search/from%3A%40microsoft.com+in%3Aanywhere
  • Everything after /#search/ specifies what emails we’re looking for, with the plus sign adding additional parameters. 
  • So, from%3A%40microsoft.com translates into "search for all emails from @microsoft.com". 
  • And in%3Aanywhere means that we’re also searching inside your spam folder (just in case).

If you replace microsoft.com in our example URL with the address of your organization, that simple link will take care of all the steps your Gmail users have to go through to confirm their email address. You can do the same with other email providers; you just need to dynamically generate a link based on the user’s email address. 

Support Nonprofit Email Marketing

Think of how key your conversion rate is. All your campaign efforts revolve around it. Any extra percentage point you can get has a dramatic impact on your ability to advocate for your cause, raise donations, and increase awareness. 

The incredible thing about smartlinks is that by dramatically decreasing the number of unconfirmed emails, they increase how many supporters respond to your nonprofit email marketing. With one little improvement to your website, suddenly your nonprofit newsletter, solicitation emails, and event invites are all more effective at advancing your mission. 

And yet, implementing a smartlink is quick and simple. Yes, you need to make sure links change based on the user’s email provider, but that really doesn’t require that much work. To prove this, and to show how much we believe in empowering nonprofits, here’s an example of a piece of code to use as the basis for implementing this yourself:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<body>

<p>Your email address:</p>

<input id="address">

<button type="button" onclick="GenerateLink()">Submit</button>

<script>
function GenerateLink() {
  var email, link, a, linkText;

  // Reads the email
  email = document.getElementById("address").value;

  // Checks if your supporter uses Gmail
  if (email.toLowerCase().indexOf("gmail.com") >= 0) {
    link = "https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#search/from%3A%40microsoft.com+in%3Aanywhere";

// Adds custom link  
    a = document.createElement('a');
    linkText = document.createTextNode("Verify Email");
    a.appendChild(linkText);
    a.title = "Verify Email";
    a.href = link;
    document.body.appendChild(a);
  }
 
  // Checks if your supporter uses Yahoo
  else if (email.toLowerCase().indexOf("yahoo.com") >= 0) {
    link = "https://mail.yahoo.com/d/search/keyword=from%253A%2540microsoft.com";
   
// Adds custom link  
    a = document.createElement('a');
    linkText = document.createTextNode("Verify Email");
    a.appendChild(linkText);
    a.title = "Verify Email";
    a.href = link;
    document.body.appendChild(a);
  }
 
  //In case the email provider is not Gmail or Yahoo
  else {
   
  // Adds a simple string of text without a link
    a = document.createElement('a');
    linkText = document.createTextNode("Verify Email");
    a.appendChild(linkText);
    a.title = "Verify Email";
    document.body.appendChild(a);
  }
 
}
</script>

</body>
</html> 

 

This quick example differentiates between Gmail and Yahoo email accounts, and it is a great place to start. You should be able to easily add more email providers and adapt it to your own website. This should also help you prove to stakeholders that this is a worthwhile endeavor.  Improving your global conversion rates in exchange for just a few lines of code is pretty much unbeatable! 

As it’s generally the case, investing in your user experience is one of the best ways to drive more people to support your mission. Even little things can make a big difference. At Elevation we’re always looking for new ways, both small and big, to help nonprofits achieve their goals.