Email marketing is one of the most important fundraising tools that social impact organizations use.It’s an inexpensive way to reach many people at a moment’s notice. It’s also an easy way to send out mass appeals. And with the click of a button, you can guide supporters directly to your donation page.The trouble is, while email is a powerful communication channel it’s also very crowded and transient.Just as quickly as a donor might arrive at your donation page, they could lose interest or delete the message. Nonprofits must craft smart, engaging emails that their supporters open, read, and act on.
In this post, we’ll walk through the mechanics and anatomy of a successful fundraising email — from the attention grabbing subject line to the call to action that inspires a next step.
Make your emails count by incorporating these email marketing best practices.
Subject lines that stick
Your fundraising email cannot be successful if the recipient never opens it. The subject line is your one chance to convince supporters to read your message, so its importance can’t be overstated.
The two qualities you should aim for in writing subject lines are accuracy and intrigue.
A subject line should pertain to and be informed by the content of your email. The purpose of a subject line is to tell people what the email is about. If your subject line is completely unrelated to your message, the reader can feel confused or, worse yet, deceived.
The element of intrigue grabs the reader’s attention and makes them want to see more. A question or surprising statement are the primary ways organizations add intrigue to their subject lines.
Last spring, Pencils of Promise reached out to supporters with the subject line:Mother’s Day? We’ve got you covered.
The call and answer structure of the line is itself a little out of the ordinary, but the final words are what pique the reader’s interest. The reader might wonder: They’ve got me covered? What does that mean?
When they click through and see the whole email, subscribers learn that Pencils of Promise is holding a Mother’s Day fundraising campaign and donors who give $25 can send their mother an exclusive card commemorating the gift. The organization also partnered with a flower delivery service to give donors a discount. The subject line proves an accurate summary of the message.