Believe it or not, some campaigns and organizations are still sending unsolicited spam emails to people who didn’t sign up to get them.

In case you’ve ever considered that, or have come under pressure from a colleague to do so, here are five reasons why sending unsolicited bulk emails is a terrible idea for any campaign or nonprofit.

  1. Violation of terms: It is very likely a violation of the terms of service or acceptable use policy of the technology you use to send emails, whether that’s Action Network, EveryAction, NGP, Mail Chimp or any other reputable platform. Getting kicked off your email platform for being a spammer is the last thing any campaign or nonprofit organization needs.

  2. Unresponsive: If they didn’t sign up for your list, they probably don’t want to receive your emails. That means they’re less likely to do all of the things you want them to do, from easy things like opening, clicking and signing petitions, to harder things like voting, volunteering or donating.

  3. Deliverability problems: If people don’t expect or want to receive your emails, it also means they’re more likely to ignore them or report your emails as spam, which can hurt your deliverability and put your entire email program at risk.

  4. People will hate you: There are few things the average person hates more than getting unsolicited spam email from a campaign or organization they didn’t sign up to hear from. In other words, don’t be a spammer unless you want people to hate your organization or candidate.

  5. Poisoning the ecosystem: Thousands of Democratic political campaigns and progressive groups rely on opt-in email programs to reach supporters, solicit donations and give people ways to take action. I’ve been doing it for 15 years and have seen just how powerful opt-in email communities can be. When other campaigns and organizations send large volumes of unsolicited spam, it pushes potential supporters and donors away, diminishing the efficacy of the channel as a whole.

For the reasons above and others, Civic Shout operates exclusively on an opt-in basis. We believe that individuals should be able to decide for themselves which campaigns and organizations they hear from. And we believe it’s better for Civic Shout partners as well.