Activist/political orgs: stop using stupid email subjects

By Christopher Allan Webber on Sat 06 December 2014

I love nonprofits and activist orgs, and I think political campaigns should send emails to their base asking for support.

That said, for the last few years, I've gotten angry at nearly every email subject I've gotten from activist organizations. You've probably gotten the same, but I've collected some samples:

  • re: The site crashed!
  • Um...
  • re: Un-freaking-believable
  • Argh!
  • Please please please
  • Forward this!
  • Forward this →
  • This is dangerous:
  • Holy moly!!!
  • re: Corrupt?
  • re: Comcast (like a thousand of these)
  • Pancakes and syrup (yes, a real subject sent for non-breakfast-invitation reasons)

And the list goes on, and on. My "Political Campaigns" folder is a joke.

Apparently this started in Obama's re-election campaign and was found to be successful in terms of getting both eyeballs and dollars.

Is it still successful? If it was a novel trick, it isn't anymore. What's worse, these subject lines are awfully similar to two groups of emails I hate to get: the classic and loathed "ha ha forward this to friends" email from relatives, and spam. Which means many of these I automatically mark as read or accidentally misfile as spam.

But I'm tired of getting these emails. If you're an activist org, and you send an email to me like this, I'm unsubscribing. And as immature as it might be to say, I'm unlikely to donate to your campaign again, assuming I ever did.

Political/activist orgs: don't treat me like an idiot. Prove my brain energy is worth your time.