Your Camp Should NEVER Buy an Email List

Have you ever been tempted to buy an email list? Nonprofits, in search of new donors, sometimes look for a quick fix – a list of people with just the right demographics they can invite to partner with them in supporting their cause. 

Tempting, right?

So, should you invest in an email list?

No. Just no.

This blog post from Future Fundraising Now provides 5 reasons why nonprofits shouldn’t buy an email list, including negative impacts on both your brand image and email performance.

But, for camps, it is even more clear. Your camp already knows who its most likely donors are: alumni, camper families, board members, other volunteers, and donors, all who have a strong connection to your camp. 

So instead of buying an email list, invest in:
  1. Great stewardship of your current donors.
  2. Prioritizing your donor database. This includes staff to collect and update alumni data in your database and implementing data standards to keep your database of alumni, parents, grandparents, staff, etc. clean and up to date; this will help you stay connected with your most likely donors.
  3. Staff to engage your audience all year long via communications and events.
If you invest in these 3 things you will be able to invite your  audience to partner with you in your next campaign to ensure camp continues to offer the “magic of camp” now and in the future.

Written by Kevin Martone. Kevin is the Technology Program Manager with JCamp 180. His focus area is in applying technology (database management, communications) to support fundraising and outreach efforts. Kevin leads JTEC (JCamp 180 Training in Effective Communications) and co-leads Data2Donors, a program to help camps prioritize their database for improved Alumni outreach and fundraising.

Who we are: JCamp 180 is a program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation (HGF). Our goal is to significantly enhance the long-term effectiveness of nonprofit Jewish camps in North America. To meet this goal, we provide affiliated Jewish camps with consulting services, annual conferences, shared resources, professional development, and matching grant opportunities. Find more at