Is it OK for our campaign to donate a list to an allied or friendly group?
Just the other day, I got this email from a former client:
How would I procure a list of all the email addresses/names we sent newsletters to for the campaign. I want to give [friendly organization] their contact info and don't know the best way to do it.
The short answer is - That's a very bad idea. Even if your campaign is defunct, your candidate lost, and it's all over. (And definitely a terrible idea if your cause or candidate is still active.)
For starters, you've gotta keep your promises - whatever expectations you set with your subscribers. Usually, campaigns say things like "we won't give away, sell, rent, or trade your email address." Don't break that promise.
Next, even if you never made an explicit promise, you gotta ask: Is there an implied one? Would people be angry if the candidate gave their personal contact info to some organization they've never heard of? Probably...
After all, the friendly organization doesn't have an opt-in from those folks. When they email them, that's spam. And you'll be the one that made it happen.
The most important thing is to maintain that sense of trust and personal connection that she's built. The best way to do that, and still be helpful to your friends, is to send an email from the candidate to the audience - with a personal endorsement of the organization... and suggest that people sign up there.
Sure, they'll get less names - but they'll be opt-in; and because the candidate they love suggested it, they'll be happier with both the candidate - and the new organization they've just joined.
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