Hats off, yet again, to Michael Moore. I found an email from him in my in-box this morning, titled "Send me your health care horror stories–An appeal from Michael Moore." He couldn’t have done more to pique my attention.
When I opened this titillating tidbit, I found a request for tales of my worst health care experiences. Moore wrote the email as if we’re best friends (no, I don’t know him although I respect his work), and that personal tone does a lot for mass email.
But back to the email content itself. Moore continued on to reveal the context of his note, telling me (OK, and thousands of other recipients too, but it sounds like writing to me alone) about "Sicko," the documentary on the health care industry that he’s making. He goes on to explain his technique to communicate during his movie-making process (heavy use of the web, no broadcast interviews or ads), gives a few scenario of the kind of experiences he’s looking for (a great help in getting the type of response you’re looking for) and ends with a heartfelt thanks.
Take a moment now to read Moore’s email here.
I was actually moved by this email. And started to think about how a similar email could be used by some of my nonprofit clients. Moore succeeds in:
- Pre-launching his film, establishing a "countdown till film" framework
- Building interest and loyalty among those who are interested in his work
- Creates a sense of community among these folks
- Provides fans with an "easy-to-pass-on" viral message, so that they can spread the word
- Gets the powerful stories that will lie at the core of his film.
He also may succeed in spurring controversy (which is just what he wants) with this email, among health care industry defenders, and those who abhor the current system. Most importantly, he makes his audience (ask me, I’m hooked) part of the story.
Steal this technique for your e-news or other bulk emails. Build interest in a forthcoming service, program or new leader ahead of time, so that excitement grows over time. Involve your audiences as completely as possible in your work, and the stories you tell about it.
My bet is that Michael Moore is going to get some strong stories to tell out of this email campaign. The possibilities for your nonprofit are endless. Dive in.
P.S. I received Moore’s email because I signed up for his e-list. What a great way to use your email list, beyond the usual e-news or fundraising appeal.