11 Fundraising Email Subject Lines To Improve Your Nonprofit’s Open Rates

Did you know that your fundraising email subject line could be limiting your email open rate? In fact, a whopping 33% of email recipients open an email based on the subject line alone, so it’s really important to get it right!

Your email could be filled with well-crafted and informative content, but if your audience doesn’t even open the email, then all that work was in vain. There are many ways to beef up your subject lines, you just have to be creative and pique your reader’s interest.

Best Practices For Fundraising Email Subject Lines

  • Keep It Short: A 2012 study by Mailer Mailer found that emails had higher open rates with subject lines under 15 characters. While that’s certainly limiting, it’s a good reminder that less is sometimes more.
  • Use The Right Words: Choose your words wisely and avoid those that could potentially decrease your open rate. A study by MailChimp found that some words often used in fundraising email subject lines can negatively impact an open rate. While it’s almost impossible to avoid all of these when sending out a fundraising email, keep in mind that words like “helping” and “fundraising” are received more positively than “donate.”
Fundraising email subject lines words
  • Pose a Question: When email recipients see a question in the subject line, they are forced to pause and think about the answer, naturally increasing the open rate.
  • If Possible, Personalize: Many email services allow you to customize the subject line with a recipient’s first name, and this can also help your open rate.
  • Note Timeliness: With fundraising, time is generally of the essence. Fortunately, open rates increase when you express urgency in the subject line. Some words that you can use in your next email to highlight the importance of your email’s contents include “urgent”, “breaking”, “now”, “important”, and “tomorrow”.
  • Do A Test Run: Don’t just assume that a fundraising email subject line is working- test it out! Send out the same email with two different subject lines to a portion of your audience and analyze open rates to learn which one is more appealing to your recipients. Then, send out the favorable subject line to all your email recipients.

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11 Fundraising Email Subject Lines To Improve Your Open Rate

Now that you have an idea of what your fundraising email subject line should look like, here are 11 samples that you can use or modify for your next fundraising email.

1) “5 ways you can help”

Readers want to learn something new, and when a subject line hints that you’re about to teach them something, they are much more likely to open the email.

2) “Can I ask you a question?”

This prompts your audience to open the email because it poses a question and encourages a reply. Plus, it’s short and sweet.

3) “Hello (First Name), I’d like to introduce myself”

A personalized introduction is important, especially for prospective donors, and it sets the stage for working together in the future.

4) “Nothing’s gonna stop us now”

When in doubt, get a little cheeky. A well-placed song lyric, quote, or phrase can work to your advantage in hooking your audience into opening that email. Here’s a fun list of some song lyrics that may work well in your next fundraising email subject line.

5) “X reasons we need your help now”

This fundraising email subject line adds a bit of intrigue and uses a word that performs well statistically for fundraisers.

6) “You make change happen”

While this subject line isn’t personalized, it feels so because it directly refers to that person with “you”. Also, you can never go wrong when you use positive, inspiring subject.

7) “Celebrate Thanksgiving by giving to those in need”

Fundraising emails that mention a holiday open at higher rates, so take advantage of this fact if you’re running an email campaign on or around a holiday.

8) “Can we count on your support today?”

This subject line poses a question and then cuts to the chase with a timeframe that doesn’t feel overly aggressive.

9) “Did you find what you needed?”

This is a great fundraising email subject line to send out to those that visited your website and provided their email address in exchange for something such as exclusive content.

The email, of course, would build on that question by asking the prospect to consider a financial contribution if they felt that the information they received was valuable.

10) “One last thing…”

When you send out your last fundraising email, make it known upfront that it’s the last chance to give.

11) “Today is the last day”

Use an urgent tone to get your point across, especially near the end of an email campaign.

We all know just how easy it is to skip over emails we simply aren’t interested in. Make your email recipients want to read your emails by writing intriguing fundraising email subject lines. Let us know what subject lines you like to use in the comments below!

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