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Exercising Fundraising Sensitivity – Fort McMurray Tragedy

The ongoing tragedy at Fort McMurray should give pause for thought to fundraisers who may be thinking of mailing or emailing donors from that region.  Imagine how you would feel getting a pitch for a donation when you aren’t even sure if your home is still standing. 

Our suggestion would be to consider suppressing donors who reside in and around the area for a period of time.  We are currently developing the suppression criteria now with the help of some of our Alberta-based clients.  This will allow us to identify area donors and avoid inappropriate fundraising outreach.  

For emailers, this offers a special challenge – but not an impossible one.  Emailers don’t usually import city names or postal codes into their email programs like Constant Contact or Mail Chimp.  There are strategies for suppressing names in an email list and we suggest calling your programs customer service to walk you through it.  Importantly, you don’t want to import a suppression file and Unsubscribe your donors permanently.  This is a a REAL HEADACHE.  You only want to create a Temporary Suppression list that allows you to reactivate recipients once the region has had time to recover. 

You can create a Temporary Hold or Suppression List by turning back to your donor CRM and pulling a list that includes email address, city and postal code.  Then you can pick through the city and postal codes to choose just the ones you want to suppress.  Save as a CSV file and import into your email program as the temporary suppression file.

Canada Post has offered to refund the Mail Forwarding charge normally associated with re-directing your mail.  Displaced residents will be able to forward their mail to their new location immediately and at no cost.  More information is available for Fort McMurray, Anzac and Fort MacKay residents regarding this offer at this Canada Post advisory.

In the meantime, if, you wish to have free access to our suppression file, please send an email to and we will share what we have developed.

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