5 Tips To Writing Fundraising Email Appeals That Inspire Action

Kat Boogaard
Kat Boogaard

After hearing all of the ranting and raving, you finally decided to implement email marketing as part of your fundraising strategy. So, you whipped together a quick email message, sent it off to your entire list, and assumed that the donations would just start piling up.

But, a few days later, you’re surprised to see that there’s nothing but crickets. “What on earth happened?” you think to yourself as you frantically reread your message for any offensive lines or glaring typos, “Everybody said I had to use email, but so far I’m not impressed.”

Don’t worry, you aren’t the first to feel this way. Email can definitely be an incredibly powerful tool for garnering more donations. But, that doesn’t mean you can blanket your entire email list with random messages willy nilly and expect impressive results.

No, crafting fundraising email appeals requires some thought, consideration, and planning. So, here are five tips to help you author fundraising email appeals that inspire your subscribers to take action—right now!

1. Use An Enticing Subject Line

In order for your email to be effective at bringing in donations, you need people to actually read it. And, what’s the first step to reading an email? Opening it.

Fundraising Email Appeals Subject Line
Your subject line is your message’s first impression—and, ultimately, what subscribers use to determine whether or not your email is worth reading or instead is destined to head straight to the trash bin. Needless to say, it needs to be strong.

When crafting a subject line for your fundraising email appeals, remember to:

Keep It Short: Briefer is better. Try to keep your subject line under 50 characters for the highest engagement.

Be Clear: It can be tempting to pull together a clever and creative subject line. But, in the end, you’re better off being blunt and showing your subscribers exactly what they can expect from your message.

Ask a Question: Using this tactic in your subject line is a great strategy for drawing in more subscribers and increasing your open-rate.

2. Incorporate Personalization

Yes, you might be sending this very same message to the hundreds of people on your email list. But, that doesn’t mean you want your subscribers to feel that way—you want your message to feel as personal as possible.

Incorporating personalization is a great way to create more of a connection with your email recipients. Most email marketing tools make it easy for you to pull in things like a subscriber’s first name or even their city. So, use that power to your advantage!

It’s well worth it. In fact, 74% of marketers say that targeted personalization significantly increases customer engagement.

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3. Emphasize Value

While you want to keep your email messages somewhat concise, that doesn’t mean you want to totally skip over all of the important information that would actually inspire your subscribers to donate.

It’s important that you emphasize the impact that donations have in your fundraising email appeals. What exactly will their $20, $50, or even $500 achieve?

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Remind your supporters of their role in the entire process to foster that sense of community and encourage them to donate and be part of something bigger than themselves. Rather than feeling like their money is just leaving their wallet, they’ll be able to attribute that donation to something tangible.

4. Choose One Call to Action

In an ideal world, you could get your subscribers and supporters to do all sorts of things. They’d follow your blog, “like” your Facebook page, and donate to your latest campaign. But, including all of these conflicting calls to action in your fundraising email appeals will only be confusing.

Fundraising email appeals Call to Action

Instead, choose one specific and drive that point home throughout your email message. It’ll make it clear to your supporters what you want them to act on.

Remember, just because you selected one call to action doesn’t mean you can only say it once. You’re free to drive them to that same action multiple different places in your email (such as a big “Donate” button and a link at the bottom of your email signature)—just make sure the request is focused and consistent in all places.

5. Utilize Powerful Language

Your email should be polished and professional. But, that doesn’t mean that the language needs to be particularly stiff, formal, or ambiguous. Instead, you want to make your subscribers feel like you’re talking directly to them in a way that’s both friendly and direct.

Make sure to use powerful verbs like “support”, “donate”, or “help” to make it clear that you expect your supporters to take action. Tacking on critical words like “now” or “today” will instill a sense of urgency in your subscribers—which is important if you want them to click through immediately.

Email can be an undoubtedly powerful tool for fundraising—but only if you plan can you use it effectively. Instead of cranking out half-hearted messages that won’t resonate or inspire, use these five tips to write fundraising email appeals that are sure to encourage action!

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