By Becky Fitzpatrick, Digital Marketing Associate

There’s a lot more to email fundraising than meets the eye. It’s no longer black and white letters with all text sent out blindly to a list of subscribers. Emails should include a theme, a strong message, and a persuasion technique, and be geared toward a specific audience.

The content

These emails are being sent for one reason, and one reason only – to raise money. Don’t combine them with your end-of-year report or monthly newsletter. Focus on what your donors want to accomplish through your organization and make it clear that you are asking for support. Break down your donations to make it clear where the money goes and what it will accomplish.

The jargon

Whether you write your own emails or you hire a communications agency, make sure to use the right jargon. Powerful wording and a strong message are key for any email campaign. Don’t use the same, stale wording that was put together when your organization was first created. Spice it up! Explain how donors can actually make a difference, call people out, and show how you’ve made great strides in the past. Gail Perry from Fired Up Fundraising calls this the “fire-in-the-belly messaging”.

Once you create a campaign slogan or appeal message, use it over and over. Keep it consistent on all of your fundraising platforms to uniform your appeal and really gain traction.

The layout

Keep in mind who your target audience is. If you’re aiming for the Boomer generation, the tone and style of your email will be significantly different than if you are writing for Millenials. For Boomers: raise the font size to 14 and keep the font style plain. No fancy colors, swirls, or distracting emoticons. For Millenials: switch out the black and white color scheme and add some multimedia. They’re less likely to read a lengthy history on your non-profit, but some captivating photos and short quotes can really catch their attention, and their emotions. A more modern font and clean design can reel in new donors in this age group, while classic style and easy to read emails can attract those Boomers.

The audience

Speaking about your audience, make sure your emails aren’t being sent out blindly to a list of subscribers. Separate the lists by categories: millenials vs boomers, donors vs. non-donors, high-end donors vs. small-ask donors, subscribers you enlisted at an event vs. subscribers who signed up online… All of these factors can play an important role in how you word your emails. In the early stages of your end-of-year fundraising, make sure to reel in your past donors who haven’t been active in a while. A large end-of-year gift could make up for their lack of donations all year.

For active donors, make sure to send a strong thank you message before asking for another donation. Show them what their money has accomplished with a story, and explain how a large end-of-year donation can further help your charity accomplish great things in the upcoming new year.

At the same time, look for ways to pull in new donors. These emails will have a strong call-to-action and emotional appeal to capture their attention. Ask them to invest in your non-profit to make great changes in the community you work with. Setting a deadline may also help reel in new donors. When supporters see you are close to reaching your goal, it creates a sense of urgency to ‘act now’ and donate before it’s too late.

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