It’s no simple task to write an effective fundraising email. There are some crucial elements that, if missed, will seriously hamper your success convincing donors. Factors many people might not even consider, such as the timing of the email and the subject line, can make a huge difference. The way your email looks; the pictures you include; the tone, scope, and focus (or lack thereof); as well as technical and format elements all play a part in the success of your fundraising efforts.
TIME IT RIGHT
Timing when to send your fundraising emails can be very important. Create a schedule for mailing to different categories of donors and non-donors. Mail all donors several times per year and more often than non-donors. Even the time of day the email is sent matters. Monday at 6:00 a.m. and mid-day both have been recommended by experts.
YOUR SUBJECT LINE
One third of email recipients decide whether they will open an email based on the subject line. It doesn’t matter how convincing your message is if it is not read because of a poor subject line. People are more likely to open your fundraising email if you keep the subject line short, ask a question, or frame the email it as urgent and important. It’s even better if you can include the word “you” in the subject line.
Your email should include photos, preferably of people, not buildings. Insert photos of clients, volunteers, and advocates associated with your organization. It’s best if the photo subjects are looking at the camera so readers can see their eyes. Donors are more likely to read captions under photos than anything else. You’re trying to tell people a story with your email, so give them some pictures to illustrate that story.
PERSONALIZE YOUR MESSAGE
You want your email to be personal, both in the sense that it’s personalized for the recipient and also that it tells a story using personal language. Adapt the desired frequency of emails, program interests, demographics, and donor status (donor, prospective donor, or lapsed donor).
Use a personal tone as much as possible and avoid using generic words, such as “services.” You want to emphasize the human story here.
“Share an inspiring story of someone your organization has helped; it can have a real impact on the reader. You want your donors to experience emotion reading your email. People give based on their emotions, though they may rationalize their donations with logic later,” explains Victoria Veasey, a Communication manager at Bigassignments.
FOCUS YOUR MESSAGE
Have your email address one concern. You’re on a mission, so don’t weigh down your message with other things like recruiting volunteers and making social media connections. You can address those matters in other messages. Place your request at the start of a paragraph so it is front and center, impossible to miss. Frame your request as critical and something important that requires the recipient’s help. Once you’ve made your case, try not to drone on. Keep your message concise and to the point.
PROOFREADING AND FORMATTING EMAILS
You’re asking people for money, so they will definitely want to know they’re giving their hard-earned money to capable people. It’s extremely important to make sure your email is proofread and looks professional. You also want your email to be pleasing to the eyes and easy to read.
Break up your message with bold headings and have plenty of white space. Use short sentences and plenty of action verbs. It’s also key to format your email so it’s optimized for mobile by resizing your images for mobile devices and using a single-column format. Here are some tools to get you started:
- Writingpopulist and Paperfellows help you write catchy subject lines.
- Studydemic provides guidance with email formatting, copywriting tools, and writing assistance.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
You’ve got all the tools to write a fundraising email that will stand out. Remember, when you send out your message is important. Don’t forget to write a convincing and short subject line. Include photos, but more importantly, include the right photos. Personalize your message so the recipient can connect to your mission through a person’s story. Focus your message so it doesn’t get buried under other less important requests. Keep it short. Use the suggested writing, proofreading, and formatting resources to ensure your fundraising email looks perfect and worthy of someone’s hard-earned money.