Product Update

How To Create A Successful Fundraising Campaign Launch Email

You’ve planned out your campaign, set it all up, and now are just about ready to launch it!

When you go to launch a campaign, the way you communicate the launch to your community is really important, since this will be used kick off your campaign and create the momentum you need to keep your campaign going through your end date.

Starting off with a big email announcement that introduces your campaign to your audience sparks the initial boost in donations your campaign needs to get off the ground.

But how do you effectively write a campaign announcement email?

In this template, we’ll take a look at how a few successful campaigns’ email announcement was structured and explore how you can structure your own successful campaign launch email using best practices.

Soft Launch Campaign Email

Before you send out the campaign announcement email to your email list, you’ll want to send a personal email to your strongest supporters to get them to make the first round of donations up to a week before your official campaign launch.

Known as a ‘soft launch’ this helps you to engage your strongest supporters in your campaign before the rest of your audience, giving them the feeling that you’re including them in a sneak preview (and affirm your relationship with these supporters) and giving you the opportunity to raise some funds before the official campaign launch.

You’ll want to send this email to:

  • Board Members
  • Major Donors
  • Recurring Donors
  • Longtime Donors
  • Volunteers
  • Members (if applicable)

The key is really to target people who are already giving and ask them to give specifically to the campaign. There are many benefits to engaging these donor groups ahead of time, including:

  • Strengthens donor relationships by letting them in on your campaign ahead of time.
  • It gives you the opportunity to test out your email messaging and change it for the larger release, if needed. Additionally, if you hear of any feedback about your campaign site as well, you’re able to make changes ahead of time.
  • When you do send out your main email announcement, there will already be funds raised and a filled recent donors listing. This helps the social proof of your campaign by showing that there’s already campaign activity, which in turn sparks more campaign activity.
  • It gives your strongest supporters time to set up their fundraising page (if applicable) so they’re able to promote their completed page on the date of official launch.
  • On the day of official launch, any of your strongest supporters that haven’t donated during the soft launch are reminded to give, which also helps get some larger donations rolling in throughout the first day of your campaign.

Here’s a look Playwrights Guild of Canada’s soft launch email announcement:

pgc soft launch email

:pgc soft launch email 2

In the Playwrights Guild of Canada’s particular email announcement, they did a few key things that should be noted:

  • The content is addressed to and is specifically written for their closest supporters.
  • They positioned the email as a “secret” they were letting their supporters in on- which helps them feel included and intrigued in the content.
  • They introduced what their new initiative is, why they’re doing it, and explained how their crowdfunding campaign fits into it.
  • They told them exactly when the campaign was launching and how long it was running for.
  • They had one specific call to action that engaged their supporters.
  • They offered an incentive (that wasn’t a physical perk) for their involvement in the campaign.
  • They provided a direct person to contact that email recipients to address their questions regarding their fundraising campaign to.

While a lot of soft launch emails’ call to action is to donate, instead the Playwrights Guild of Canada actually used their soft launch to invite their supporters to write a short piece of content that would help generate promotional materials for the overall launch of the campaign.

So, while they didn’t actually raise funds with their soft launch, they still used it as a tool to both inform and engage their community and generate social proof in a creative way. This kind of content driven soft launch email meets a lot of the same goals as a donation based soft launch email.

Campaign Announcement Email

Now that you’ve seen a good soft launch email, we’ll explore what you should include in your official campaign announcement email. While the soft launch is particularly aimed at close supporters, your campaign announcement email is directed to your entire email list on the day you want your campaign to officially begin.

With your entire audience in mind, you’ll want to direct this email to even your newest followers that may not be too familiar with your organization.

 Here’s a few things you’ll want to be sure you include in your campaign announcement email:

  • An eye catching subject line that introduces the campaign
  • An Image depicting an example of who your campaign is helping (or your video)
  • Header text that encourages action
  • A brief introduction to the campaign
  • An introduction to your campaign’s central story
  • An explanation about what their donation does to help
  • Call to action asking them to view the campaign site

By having these essential elements in your campaign announcement email, you’re bound to capture attention and get people to view and donate on your site.

Campaign Announcement Email Best Practices

Let’s take a look at how 3 different successful campaigns announced their campaign and explore best practices learned from each.

1) Playwrights Guild Of Canada

pgc campaign launch email

pgc campaign launch email 2

 In the Playwright’s Guild Of Canada’s campaign launch announcement, you’ll see there’s some big differences in the soft launch email and this one. Here’s a look at some best practices we can glean from their email announcement:

Keep It Concise: Playwright’s Guild Of Canada’s entire email is less than 200 words. Keep your audience engaged by only putting the information they need to take the next step, they don’t need all the campaign specifics- that’s what your campaign site is for! A good trick to help you keep your emails short is to use active voice throughout the email.

Include A Video: One of the ways the Playwright’s Guild Of Canada was able to keep their email so concise is that they included their campaign video in the email. This allowed interested viewers to easily hear more about the campaign. This engages viewers further by telling the campaign’s story in a easy-to-digest medium while also communicating more about the impact of the campaign. A video really is worth 1000 words!

Relate Your Cause To A Current Event: Playwright’s Guild Of Canada’s email immediately started off by introducing their campaign on Valentine’s day. Even closing their email with something as simple as “Don’t forget to show PGC some love this Valentine’s Day,” roots their campaign in the broader culture, answering the question- Why now?

Similarly, it can be helpful to officially launch your campaign on a holiday, awareness day, anniversary, Giving day, or even just a current event. This answers the question “Why is your organization fundraising now?” and can help your audience quickly see the importance and get them on board quickly.

Give Your Audience A Point Of Contact: Playwright’s Guild Of Canada’s email listed a particular person that anyone with a question can contact. This is helpful to help establish that this campaign is run by real people, assures the potential donor that they can contact can get in touch with someone if the need to, and helps keep things organized (instead of a donor needing to search for the person they need to address their question to.)

2) Centro Comunitario (CEUS)

ceus campaign launch email

Use An Engaging Heading: CEUS’ email begins with two headings “Support Central American Refugee Children” and the subheading reads “Meet Martha Hernandez.” Right from the beginning of the email, the potential donor knows what the campaign is all about, is asked to support, and is introduced to the campaign’s central character. Make use of headings to introduce the purpose of your email, call the audience to action, introduce your campaign’s story, and more.

Tell Your Campaign’s Story: As opposed to the other examples, CEUS’ campaign announcement email takes the approach of telling the story behind the campaign. The reader is immediately engaged in the story, and a quote directly from the story’s character is inserted in the middle in bold, which also draws the reader in.

 CEUS effectively uses the story to leads up to the reason they’re fundraising and shows how the donor can make an impact. This gets donor’s emotionally invested in the campaign and sets up the call to action really well.

 Include A Clear Call To Action: While you may think your email appeal speaks for itself, it’s essential to include a strong call to action asking them to donate, and including a large, bright donate button in the email that links directly to your CauseVox campaign site. This will ensure your donors are clear about how they can contribute!

3) Schoolyard Farms

schoolyard farms campaign launch emailschoolyard farms campaign launch email 2

Use An Image: Schoolyard Farms used an image of students that they’re currently working with to give the audience a clear depiction of who these funds will be used to help. Showing your nonprofit in action in your campaign launch email not only breaks up the text to make it easier to read, it shows your impact in a clear way and makes your email readers more likely to remember the content of the email.

Create Urgency: Schoolyard Farms did a few things that helped to increase the sense of urgency around their campaign such as:

  • Making their campaign part of GivingTuesday, which automatically made donors more likely to give on that day (but you can do this with any giving day or anniversary).
  • They explained why the first day of a campaign is important to create momentum.
  • They communicated that the program was at risk, and donations were needed now more than ever.
  • They communicated their campaign’s end date to put donors on a deadline.
  • They added an incentive to donate that day, in case they already weren’t convinced.

Using your email to create a sense of urgency around your campaign will go far to get your donors to make their donation, and make it quickly.

 Use Large, Clean Fonts And Spaces: Schoolyard Farm’s email is easy to read. Nothing deters a reader more than a large block of small text. Don’t go crazy on the font style, something that’s easy to read and is size 14-16 is best. Additionally, breaking up your content into new paragraphs every few sentences can really make the content easy to read and digest.

Your campaign announcement email is your first opportunity to really engage your community in your fundraising campaign and get the first initial spark you need to keep the campaign going through your end date.

Using these best practices can help you create an email that not only sticks out in the mind of your donors and increases your initial contributions, but helps engage your audience so they’re invested in your entire campaign.

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