The Journey

My life up until now.

How Did You Get Started In Email Marketing: Erika Roe's story

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Erika Roe is the Matching Gift Manager at NC State University. If you like Erika's story, pass it on to your network and help her win the Only Influencers contest.

In 2006, I started at my current job as Matching Gift Manager at NC State University. I work in Advancement Services which is a department in the university's division of University Advancement. We provide services to University Development (the fundraising area of the university) which includes maintaining the alumni & donor database, updating biographical information, processing gifts, administering the matching gifts program, and the other areas in Advancement Services manage prospects, uploading new student/parent/alumni information, preparing reports, conduct individual, corporation, and foundation prospect research for the entire university. My responsibilities also include managing matching gifts for our athletic association gifts, but I don't currently do any email marketing for them since they do their own receipts and have their own database.

When I started in 2006 at my current job, I was a recent graduate with a degree in Communications and experience with non-profits. I had experience doing direct mail for non-profits so catching on to email marketing wasn't so far fetched. I also enjoyed data and research. Few matching gift programs used email for reminding their donors of the matching gift opportunities, but now a lot of the major institutions use email. Matching gifts and email marketing are like a perfect marriage because so many companies have online matching gift programs and we know most of the links to those sites. My supervisor knew someone at Bronto and got us an account there and our email marketing was really just reminding donors of their matching gift opportunity and sending them a thank you for their matching gift. In 2008, I redesigned my department's website and through word of mouth, other colleagues in University Advancement heard that we were doing email. Around 2009, I started working with the Chancellor's office for their annual holiday card to help save the university money (we weren't using all of our allotted emails). In 2007-2008, I also worked with University Planning & Analysis to send out the post-graduate survey (survey they send recent graduates to capture information on where they're going and what they think about NC State), and we sent out that email 2-3 times to get more to respond to the survey. Around 2008, I also did an email for Industrial Engineering (a department in our College of Engineering) to engage alumni and capture any new biographical data. A few months ago, I also helped our donor relations using email to inform universities in the southeastern area about a donor relations conference our Donor Relations department is organizing. Email marketing really captures my skills and my passion, I really enjoying getting up in the morning and checking the stats. In January, I got to attend the Marketing Sherpa Email Summit. Now I really have the training I need and can recommend strategies to colleges and departments that ask for my advice.

Next month I will graduate with my MBA and will be looking to move on to a new position.

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Guest Saturday, 20 December 2014