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How to Write the Perfect Fundraising Email

February 26th, 2015 Posted in Email, Fundraising
 Writing the Perfect Email

The perfect fundraising email is a little bit science, a little bit creativity, and a lot personality and spark. As you craft your email, think about the kind of email that would pique your curiosity enough to open and read it all the way to the end.

Essential Email Elements

Subject Lines

Don’t forget about the power of subject lines. Choose carefully which words you use in your subject line, ensuring they encourage your reader to click. Scratch any that aren’t obviously helping, as they can instead hurt your open rate. You can test these by either using A/B testing or playing around with a few email campaigns and seeing which subject lines inspired more email opens than others. Here some subject lines do’s and don’ts:

DO:

Express urgency.

Spark your reader’s curiosity.

Start a message or story that’s completed in the email.

DON’T:

Use words that immediately suggest you’ll be asking for money. (“Donate,” “fundraiser,” “charity”)

Waste words

Try to say too much

Framing Your Message

Your subject line should lead into a compelling story that illustrates your message and why your organization’s work is so important.

Ideally, your story ties into why making a donation now is critical to your success and meeting your goal. In a campaign, focus on stories that build on each other or expand on each other, and eventually lead into your final push for donations.

Remember that your email strategy can tie into your social media strategy, so if you’ve been sharing photos or videos of a current or past project, use an email as an opportunity to provide even more insight into the story and what you contribute.

INSIDER TIP: Use as little text as possible and more photos.

How to Say It

A personal, compelling tone and voice are what will speak to donors. Use a voice  that matches your organization, but still feels like a personal ask from you. We want to convey your story and message in a way that doesn’t feel like email marketing.

Other ways to reach your donors personally:

Use an email system that allows you to include the recipient’s first name at the top of your email.

Be sure to thank them personally after donating, too.Mobile Optimized Email

The Ask

Make your call to action obvious at the end of your story, and tell donors that the best way to support your campaign right now is to make a donation. Be sure to offer an easy, large, obvious donation button that links to your Greater Giving Online Donation page, and if this email is part of an ongoing campaign, send follow-ups showing what great things that donation is accomplishing (and hopefully earn another one). Use a radio button for the donation link.

Provide additional asks in your sign-off at the bottom of your email, with links to the donation page.

News bonus

If you can, tie your email into breaking news or current events, to lend ‘contributing now’ a sense of urgency.

Sign-off and P.S.

Include a personal, scanned signature at the bottom of your email.

Consider using a cute P.S., too, from you or an important figure at your organization with a personal salutation or anecdote.

P.S. See awesomely effective examples here.

Dean Vella
Greater Giving blog

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