July 21, 2023

How to Write the Perfect Nonprofit Fundraising Email?

How to Write the Perfect Nonprofit Fundraising Email?

Fundraising isn’t easy. Try convincing a potential donor about your cause and why they should donate to it. You’ll know the effort it takes. Now imagine doing this through an email! How are you going to convince recipients to donate to your nonprofit? Well, as impossible as it may seem, your duty is to try to write a convincing email. Along with social media shares, personal visits, phone calls, networking, events, peer-to-peer fundraising, and others, a nonprofit fundraising email strategy is also a technique to raise funds for charity. 

There are certain advantages to nonprofit fundraising email strategies, though.

It is a cost-effective fundraising technique. For every $1 spent on email marketing, the average ROI is $36.

And potential donors prefer to receive emails rather than in-person visits or phone calls. About 70% prefer to receive communication from nonprofits through emails.

And if you think that email isn’t the best way to communicate with potential donors, wait for it - The average online gift via email is higher compared to other channels. Yes, the average online donation received through social media is $72, and online advertising is $52, whereas it is $77 through emails. 

So, if you are convinced to give it a try, start building your strategy today. 

To help you with it, we have ten tips on how to write the perfect nonprofit fundraising email. Let’s go ahead and see some of our expert recommendations.         

1. Segmenting your email subscriber list

The first step in writing a perfect nonprofit fundraising email is to segment the audience list. Doing this helps you send personalized messages to different donor groups, making the email more relevant. 

You can try creating segments based on past donations, age, interests, and engagement levels. 

Once you have a donor segment ready, you can customize the content and information to where donors are on their journey, ensuring your communications are relevant and valuable to them.

2. Focus on the subject line

The first piece of content a nonprofit email subscriber sees before opening the email is the subject line. Based on its effectiveness, the recipient may then decide if the email is worth opening or not. 

Here are a few tips for writing a great subject line that helps you increase your fundraising email open rates-

  • Keep it concise and compelling.
  • Create a sense of urgency or exclusivity (e.g., "Last Chance to Double Your Impact!").
  • Use the recipient's name for personalization.
  • Avoid using spammy language like “Help”, “Reminder”, “Donate”, or excessive punctuation.

Let’s see some good fundraising email subject line examples here for inspiration.

  • "John, Your Gift Can Save Lives Today!"
  • "Your Generosity Transforms Lives - Act Now!"
  • "Exclusive Invitation: Be a Hero for Children in Need"
  • "Join us in Making a Difference, Sarah!"

Remember, a good subject line is going to make your email stand out in the recipient’s inbox. So, ensure your subject line makes them open the email to read it.

3. Prepare an email format

The content inside is what will get you the funds. But pay attention to your email format. In a world of short attention spans and mobile users, a well-formatted fundraising email is crucial for engagement. 

While there are fundraising email templates available online, it is necessary to establish a format or pattern to make a lasting impression and encourage donors to take action. Here are a few tips to achieve it-

  • Limit your email to one or two paragraphs.
  • Use a clean layout with clear headings and sections.
  • Make it easy to read by using bullet points and short paragraphs.
  • Use descriptive headlines to grab attention and encourage the recipient to read the content.
  • Avoid overcrowding by adding space between content sections.
  • Stick to a consistent design by using one typeface, limiting yourself to three colors, and keeping the background light.
  • Incorporate big and bold visuals like images and videos to captivate recipients.
  • Include your nonprofit's logo in the header and contact information in the footer.

Formatting your email content makes it optimized and easy to read for your email subscribers. 

4. Personalize the messages

We have already mentioned adding nonprofit email subscriber names in the subject line. If that is not possible, you can use their names in the greeting. Personalizing the messages makes them feel valued and appreciated. Additionally, you can refer to their past contributions or actions to show that their contribution means a lot and that you recognize the impact it had on the cause. 

For example, “Dear Sarah, Thanks to supporters like you, we've made significant strides in protecting the environment." Starting the email content with a greeting like this builds trust and encourages them to read more. 

5. Tell a compelling story

Narratives play a crucial role in communication, offering context, meaning, and purpose to our nonprofit's mission. By sharing stories in the email, we can foster empathy and connection, compelling more donors to be a part of our journey. 

Begin your story with a captivating opening that piques the reader's curiosity or emotions. Grab their attention right from the start with a strong hook. For instance, you can introduce a relatable character or beneficiary who has been positively affected by your nonprofit’s work. 

Some of the tips for crafting a compelling story are-

  • Emphasize the transformative journey of the beneficiary.
  • Appeal to readers' emotions by highlighting the struggles, triumphs, and joys and keeping them invested in the story.
  • Use real-life stories whenever possible, as they are more relatable and authentic.
  • Showcase the tangible impact of your organization's work through specific examples and statistics to quantify the results.
  • While a compelling story is essential, remember to keep the email content to the point. 

A story may seem strange as a part of your nonprofit fundraising email marketing strategy, but it helps donors see the challenges your beneficiaries face. It also helps them understand the context in which your nonprofit operates. 

6. Focus on the reader

Avoid making the email solely about “YOU” and your organization; instead, emphasize the donor's role in creating change. Tailor your email to focus on the donor and how their support can make a difference. 

So, how do you show the importance of donor support in your fundraising email? Here are some tips-

  • Clearly demonstrate how the donor's past contributions have made a difference by sharing specific examples and success stories that highlight the positive outcomes achieved through their support.
  • Connect with the reader by emphasizing shared values and beliefs and showcasing how your organization's mission aligns with the donor's philanthropic goals.
  • Express sincere gratitude for the donor's past support by letting them know that their contributions have had a meaningful impact and are genuinely appreciated. 
  • Present various ways the donor can continue to be involved beyond monetary contributions, and this could include volunteering, attending events, or advocating for the cause on social media.
  • Be open by clearly communicating how funds will be allocated to specific projects or programs, ensuring the donor knows where their support is going. 
  • Reinforce the impact of donations by including testimonials from other donors or beneficiaries, sharing how their support has made a difference.
  • Anticipate any potential questions or concerns the donor might have, and address them in a transparent and reassuring manner.
  • End the email with a clear call to action, inviting the reader to take the next step, such as making a donation, signing up for a newsletter, or attending an event.

Emphasize the donor’s crucial role in creating positive change by focusing on them and their contribution. When this happens, it deepens their connection to your cause and inspires them to continue their support. 

7. Use impactful visuals

Images & Videos- Never underestimate their importance. Visuals in your fundraising email are a powerful way to engage the audience, showcase your nonprofit’s work, and build a stronger connection to the cause. 

Let’s share some tips regarding using visuals in your nonprofit fundraising email-

  • Capture genuine emotions like a smiling child who benefited from your nonprofit’s cause. This can convey gratitude and the real impact of your work.
  • Include a testimonial video from a grateful beneficiary. This approach can deeply resonate with your audience.
  • Use before-and-after images or side-by-side comparisons to demonstrate the progress made on a specific project or initiative.
  • Use powerful captions and context for the visuals to help viewers understand the significance of what they are seeing. 

And of course, it goes without saying that you need to use high-quality images and well-produced videos. Leverage the power of captivating visuals to get across your point. As they say, a single image is worth a thousand words.

8. Use a powerful Call to Action (CTA)

The main purpose of your email is to compel the readers to take the desired action. A Call to Action (CTA) button on the nonprofit fundraising email will help you achieve it. 

But there are certain rules you need to follow if you want readers to click through the CTA. Let’s have a look at it here-

  • Clearly state what action you want the reader to take, whether it's donating, volunteering, signing up for a newsletter, or any other relevant action.
  • Encourage immediate action by incorporating a sense of urgency. Use phrases like "Act Today", “Donate Now”, or "Limited Time Offer" to instill a sense of importance and timeliness.
  • Tap into the reader’s emotions, compassion, empathy, or desire to make a difference by using persuasive and emotive language.
  • Ensure the CTA stands out visually in the email by using contrasting colors, bold fonts, or buttons to draw attention to the call to action.
  • Position the CTA where it's easily noticeable and logically placed within the email's flow. 
  • Direct the reader to a dedicated landing page or nonprofit donation page that aligns with the CTA's action. 

Another point that we want to highlight here is to showcase the impact and benefit of their action. For instance, instead of just “Donate Now”, use the content beside the CTA as “Your $1000 Contribution can Feed 1 Hungry Mouth For A Month”, or “Your $500 Contribution Can Help Us Provide a Hearing Aid To 1 Needy Person”. This way, you let the reader know how their contribution will make a difference or how they'll be part of positive change. This style of CTA encourages them to donate to your cause. 

9. Make it easy to give

Okay, your email content is amazing. But have you simplified the giving process? Any potential donor wouldn’t want the hassle of filling out a long donation form or a link that takes forever to load. So, how do you ensure that you make it simple and convenient for donors to give?

We’ll guide you on this-

  • As we have mentioned above, use a prominent CTA that stands out in the email.
  • Link the button to a donation page or form. Use the custom fundraising software GivingX to create a nonprofit donation page or form.
  • When asking potential donors to fill out the donation form, only ask for essential information, such as name, email, and payment details. 
  • Offer various payment methods. GivingX has 250+ payment methods that you can offer to your potential donors, making it easy for them to complete the transaction.
  • Include a recurring donation option to support your cause regularly. For instance, GivingX’s monthly giving program makes it easy for you and the donors to manage regular contributions. 
  • Display trust badges or security seals to clearly communicate that the donation process is secure. 
  • After a successful donation, display a thank-you message to express gratitude. 

Simplifying the donation process makes it easy for donors to give. You create a positive donation experience, increasing the likelihood of recurring support and fostering long-lasting relationships with your supporters. 

10. Track and evaluate your emails

All said and done, your efforts go down the drain if you don’t constantly monitor your email metrics. This gives you an opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of your fundraising email campaign. Let us give you some tips to maximize its success. 

  • A/B testing

Create A/B variations of your email and test for different elements such as subject lines, CTAs, or content. Compare the performance of these variations to determine which works out the best.

  • Segmentation assessment

Assess how different segments of your audience respond to your emails. Evaluate whether certain segments have higher engagement rates or conversion rates, and tailor your content accordingly. 

  • Email metrics

Keep a close eye on key email metrics, such as open rates, click-through rates (CTR), and conversion rates. These metrics provide valuable insights into how engaging and effective your emails are at driving action.

  • Evaluation 

Use the data-driven insights gained from tracking and evaluation to continually refine your email strategy. Implement changes based on what has proven to be effective and experiment with new ideas. 

A successful fundraising email strategy is one in which you learn from successes and failures. Analyze your emails that have performed very well and identify patterns that have contributed to their success. Similarly, dissect the emails that haven’t performed well to avoid repeating mistakes. 

11. Additional tips to write the perfect nonprofit fundraising email

There’s more to nonprofit fundraising emails. These may seem insignificant, but, believe us, when properly implemented, they can give you effective results. Here they are-

  • Before sending each email campaign, determine what action you want your recipients to take and tailor your content to align with those goals.
  • Test your emails across all screen types to ensure they are device-responsive.
  • Add social media sharing buttons to the emails and encourage recipients to share the email with their networks to broaden your nonprofit’s reach.
  • Sign off the email with warm and appreciative gratitude to your donors and reiterate the impact their support will have on the cause.
  • Create an online donation page on the custom fundraising software GivingX and link your email CTA to this page so that all the donations get routed to one easily manageable fundraising software. 
  • Look beyond surface-level metrics and analyze the engagement levels of your donors by tracking how often they open emails, click on links, or convert to donors. 
  • Make an effort to integrate your email efforts with your overall fundraising strategy. 

Wrapping Up

A nonprofit fundraising email is definitely the best strategy to drive donations and foster long-term donor relationships. With the right strategies, your email campaigns can be a valuable addition to your fundraising program. So, why not write a perfect nonprofit fundraising email that helps you achieve your fundraising goals and helps potential donors make a positive impact on the world?