7 Email fundraising musts

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Email marketing is still an essential part of the fundraising for most non-profits and missionaries. Even in the social media age email is still an essential tool in the mix.  By having a list of essential partners, you can get the word out not only to the world, but to the people and organization that believe deeply in what you do.  So how can you get email to work best for your community?   

Vet your list

Many people have made the mistake of letter bombing their entire list of contacts, many of which may have only met you once or not even at all.  If you are looking for support from friends, focus on creating a small list of people who will likely care about the effort. The email itself is an ask. Time permitting, a personal email to each fundraiser makes a big difference.

If you are a nonprofit, you will want a list that is opt in optimized. There are great solutions from companies like aweber and mail chimp to develop email lists of customized, qualified parties who will opt-in to information from you. Never purchase a list of potential donors, always put in the time and energy to talk to people and sell them on you first and then get their information and add them to your list.  Lists built on a relationship produce more over time.

Create a Sticky Headline

Creating a headline that captivates, engages and points in a direction is the only way to go when sending out the emails.  According to Backbaud only 15% of emails are even opened.  When mailing to 250 people that means that only 37 people will open your email.  We are seeing with our clients that with a great headline you can average 30% or higher.  So write a sticky headline today!!!

Lead with the Best

In todays culture, you will be very lucky if people read your full email message.  So lead with your best work and tell the whole story.  Get to the point!!! This is no different than any other letter or company memo.  Lay it all out there and make a call to action for the reader up front.

Keep it Short

Short paragraphs work best.  Generally, long emails are had to read and very seldom generate a great response.  Be considerate of your audience and ask yourself if this is as meaningful to the action you want them to take as you first thought.  Also, consider the layout of the backgrounds and page to make it pleasing to the eyes so they are comfortable to finnish the document.  

Tell a story

Every experienced fundraiser will tell you that stories sell.  This is a great place to include some of those stories.  Give the reader a buy in for where their dollar will be going and try to put a face on that contribution.  Example:  $5 buys 1 child (name/photo) 3 meals  With this example we now have given them something to equate their donation with.  What story will you be telling next month?


We are talking fundraising here so we all know that there has to be an ask in here somewhere.  As in the above example, the ask could say Example: How many meals can you provide for (name/photo) today?  Be specific and direct always help them understand the reason for acting TODAY!!

Link It Up

In todays society and the ability to connect things online, always provide contact links to your blog or website as well as other content that might relate and be helpful for your readers. Always give them the permission to forward it on to everyone they know and so the links become a highly needed asset for you to tell your story each letter to new people.