5 steps to a great email fundraising campaign

June 13, 2013       The NonProfit Times      

While social networks grab all the headlines for how they are changing the game for nonprofits in terms of fundraising, e-mail shouldn’t be forgotten. Do you even know anyone who doesn’t have an e-mail address? It’s this ubiquity that makes e-mail an important tool for fundraising campaigns.

In the book “Nonprofit Management 101,” Katya Andersen and Rebecca Ruby Higman wrote that the best way to approach an e-mail fundraising program is to think of your campaigns “from the outside in.” That is, you should plan an overall strategy, determine your message, develop amazing content, make that content easy to read, and determine how often you want to contact your subscribers.

Andersen and Higman laid out further explained these steps:

  • Plan an overall strategy: When you’re first getting started, consider how much time and effort you’re willing to commit to your e-mail outreach. What will you try to accomplish? What sort of content will you be sharing?
  • Make your micro-content catchy: Micro-content refers to the little bit of content your readers see before opening your message. Be familiar (use a person’s name that people will recognize in the “from” line), persuasive (leave some mystery in your subject line), and accessible (monitor the e-mail address where all the replies go).
  • Develop stellar content. Be sure to share stories, updates, and content of interest to your supporters. Keep the content easy to relate to and full of hopeful messages and ways to get involved.
  • Don’t get hung up on design. The most important design advice you can take is that your messages must be readable.
  • Figure out frequency: Set a goal of at least one email per month to ensure your cause stays top-of-mind with supporters.
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