Increase the effectiveness of your charity’s emails

5th June 2015

by Redina Kolaneci

Despite the growth of social media and video email communications remain a widely used tool by many charities to communicate with their supporters and to raise funds for their causes.

More and more donors are choosing email as their prefer communications channel with the charities they support. So, if you want to increase the effectiveness of your email communications here are some ideas you might find useful:

  1. Use the Institute of Fundraising Code of Practice for Fundraising through Electronic Media. Go to the Institute of Fundraising website and download their guideline for Fundraising through Electronic Media and their very helpful checklist to make sure that you are doing email communications in the right way.
  2. Personalise your emails. The times of ‘Dear Friend/ Ministry Partner/ Dear all’ emails are gone. If you are using such opening salutations your emails run the risk of looking like junk mail and are likely to be discarded.It is a known fact that when you address people by their name they are more receptive to your messages. And, with the wide range of email software that makes it so easy to insert your supporter’s names into email messages you have no excuses for not doing so.
  3. Create catchy and interesting subject lines. When preparing email templates for clients I spend time crafting the subject line the same way I spend time in crafting the opening lines of a fundraising appeal.I tend to include the name of the charity in the subject line so supporters can see quickly who is sending them this message. What’s more, I tend to avoid boring general statements like ‘Y Ministry’s monthly update’ or hyped-up ones like ‘Open this email now to receive a free gift.’
  4. Use the principles of good direct mail. Like a good fundraising appeal or a newsletter an email should contain a heart-moving story or a case study, a compelling case for giving and a few action points that you want the reader to take. If you are using emails as part of your fundraising campaign you need to create a campaign landing page or update your giving page. So, when the donor gets to that page to make a donation he or she can see the same fundraising ask as the email they received.
  5. Use email creatively to WOW your supporters. Emails are a cost effective tool that you can use to cultivate relationships with supporters by sharing stories. You can use them to show appreciation, to say thank you or to give supporters interesting insights on your work.The fact of the matter is that donors receive many emails from a number of charities, most of which are dry, business like and boring. So, you can stand out from the crowd if you make your emails fun, interesting and relevant to the supporters’ interest and aspirations.
  6. Incorporate good images and embed videos into your emails. Many charities tend to post their videos on YouTube, in their websites or facebook pages and they actually forget to share them with their supporters via email even when they have thousands of email addresses.
  7. Be committed. Many charities start sending emails but they fail to send them out at regular intervals. There are many reasons why you should commit to email communications for the long haul. Emails are very cost-effective. They can be great relationship building tools and fundraising tools too when used to reinforce your charity’s asks and get people to give online.