One of the challenges to building a successful email program is frequent and attentive list hygiene. At NextGen, we focus on several key areas to revitalize dormant programs:  


When identifying contacts who have not been responsive to your communications, you will want to be realistic in establishing a time span: many organizations have cyclical value to their audiences, and their followers may ebb and flow in interest.   

Once you have a rule in place, craft a reactivation campaign that prioritizes:

  • Personalization or one-on-one tone  
  • Curiosity or targeted polls or surveys to better understand their interests  
  • Excitement or an opportunity to engage with the organization in a new way  
  • Transparency or the option to easily unsubscribe if that is their intention 

Again, it’s important to be realistic: prepare for high levels of unsubscribes and low levels of response. Consider an “exit survey” for anyone unsubscribing as a last touchpoint to (respectfully) understand their motivations.  


Once you have identified lapsed and inactive contacts, create a suppression rule.  

Continually messaging these contacts will result in a lower engagement and damage your sending reputation—and your emails may be filtered as spam. A clean list of active subscribers is a service to both your organization and your supporters.  


Once you’ve taken steps to clean your list, it’s important to stop the churn.  

A critical first step is segmenting your list to ensure the right audience is getting the right email. Timely and relevant updates will improve engagement as will highly “clickable” content with multiple calls-to-action.  

  • Providing value to your email list through free resources, gated content, or special events or webinars strengthens the relationship with your organization 
  • Creating a conversational tone with surveys, polls, petitions, and quizzes helps cultivate a sense of appreciation for your audience  
  • Maintaining a calendar that includes regularly scheduled updates establishes a rhythm and predictability for your audiences (while also demonstrating value and supporter impact!) 

Stewardship and cultivation strategies like these increase the value of your email communications. They also help ensure that your list will be primed to respond to fundraising campaigns, urgent deadlines, or breaking news. Testing response to stewardship themes also informs content and approach to organic acquisition.  


Organic and paid acquisition provide a balanced approach to list building. Key to both is first-party consent: failure to include transparent opt-in language can lead to both an alienated user experience as well as violation of GDPR, CCPA, and CASL rules—which, in turn, could result in blacklisting your organization.  

Never buy or rent lists. Proven alternatives include social media lead generation campaigns or volume-driven strategies like Care2 to acquire high-quality leads.  

Paid acquisition should always be supplemented with organic acquisition, and that effort is grounded at home: specifically on your homepage.  

  • Run an audit to ensure a prominent call-to-action button or form on your website 
  • Consider layering in pop-ups for newsletters or other content 
  • Link to compelling landing pages that funnel visitors to a single action sign-up 
  • Highlight offers for premium experiences, virtual events, or other mission-specific content.

Critical to both organic and paid acquisition is a timely and relevant welcome series. A welcome series ensures new contacts feel recognized, validated, and confident they made the right choice in joining your organization, and it makes them more likely to engage and convert to supporters. 

Let NextGen Help 

Want to learn more about acquisition and retention? Connect with NextGen today to learn more and get started.