Craft Effective Fundraising Emails for Your Nonprofit

by Danielle Bloom

4 min read

Organizations that do great things in the world are mainly fueled by creative ideas, dedicated people, and a steady stream of donated money. Despite the ease of sending out dozens of fundraising emails with the click of a button, there’s no guarantee of getting a favorable response. That’s why you might want to use these easy-to-follow email marketing tips for your next online fundraising campaign.

Define Your Main Mission

You may know exactly why your organization needs money, but potential donors are not aware of everything you do. It’s your job to explain to people what your main mission is and why this mission is important enough for them to give money in support of your cause. Your mission is the core of your message; you want to thoroughly understand it so you can clearly explain it to others.

Set a Fundraising Goal

The purpose of your email is to raise a specific amount of money, and to do that, you want to set a fundraising goal before diving into composing your email. Take a moment to consider how much money your organization needs to carry out its mission, and write it down. Keep this monetary goal in mind as you craft your message.

Use Branding Effectively

Give your email message instant credibility by using branding. Your organization should have a strong professional brand that includes a logo, specific colours, and maybe even a catchy marketing tagline that is easy to remember. Branding is easy to do, and branded emails come across as professional and trustworthy. Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation has a logo that incorporates a cute stuffed teddy bear and child-like font, which syncs with its mission to help kids with medical needs.

Format for Readability

You may not give email fonts much thought, but you probably should because some fonts are easier to read than others. Refrain from getting cutesy with your font choice. Making your email easy to read is a priority, which is why you should stick with either Georgia or Verdana. These fonts have letter shapes and spacing that look great in email.

Share Powerful Images

Try to include at least one eye-catching image in your email. Two is even better. These images should be closely connected to your main fundraising mission. Images featuring people or animals are the most powerful. Imagine a picture of a smiling child, a homeless person huddled under a blanket, volunteers building a village well, or rubble created by an earthquake. Images have strong visual impact, and make your message more appealing.

Grab Attention With a Strong Subject Heading

Creating a good email subject heading can be a hair-pulling experience, but it’s worth the effort. Consider how many emails the people on your list receive on a given day, and remember yours must compete for their attention. A great subject line is blunt, honest, creates curiosity, and has a touch of intrigue.Which email would you open?

  • This Homeless Dog Made Us Cry Tears of Joy
  • Our Shelter Needs Your Support

The first subject line creates curiosity. The second one is common and uninteresting.

Make Your Pitch Short and Direct

You may have a lot to say, but leave the chatty filler out of your message unless you want it to be ignored. Fundraising emails should be short and to the point. Most people scan email messages and won’t take the time to read long copy. Be clear and direct for best results.

Tell a Story

Storytelling is one of your most potent weapons when it comes to composing powerful email messages. Most likely your organization has lots of great stories to tell, and all you need is one. Think about those special people or animals that make a big impression with staff and volunteers. These are the stories you talk about around the water cooler. Share a story that tugs at the heart to maximize the impact of your message.Homeboy Industries does a good job of sharing life-changing stories with supporters.

Create Urgency With a Call to Action

After going through all the trouble of creating a strong message, you don’t want to give the impression that donations can wait until another day. You want to motivate people to give right now, and you do this by including an urgent call to action in your pitch. Be direct and use brightly coloured donation buttons, graphics, and large and small font sizes. Include one or more monetary amounts to prompt specific levels of donations. Words such as help, make, give, join, donate, gift, and today politely prompt immediate giving.

Repeatedly Ask for Donations

Normally, repetition is redundant, but repetition is a good thing when it comes to fundraising email messaging. Remember, people are going to be scanning your message, so ask for a donation several times throughout the content. You can change the wording to give each request more uniqueness, using a mixture of text links and buttons for visual appeal. Make sure all donation links go directly to your website donor page, and both should match seamlessly to avoid confusion.Crafting fundraising emails that include an attention-getting subject heading, branding, strong images, and urgent calls to action are essential for meeting fundraising goals.

References & Resources

Related Articles

What’s Changed in the New QuickBooks

The new QuickBooks Online bookkeeping software has gone through quite a few changes. As…

Read more

Checklist Before Leaving Your Job to Become Your Own Boss

So you’re thinking of quitting your job to become your own boss. In other…

Read more

How to Start a Consulting Business

If you’ve worked in a specific industry or field for any length of…

Read more