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Nonprofit Fundraising: 5 Email Tips for Year-End Campaigns

The following tips and tricks will help you improve your emails to get the attention you need for your year-end campaign.
Email tips to improve year-end campaigns for nonprofit organizations. Fundraising strategies for effective results. Better fundraising for nonprofits. Links to blog - 3 links to Snowball Fundraising, 3 links to GC

 

It’s hard to believe, but the year-end will be here before we know it. 2022 has so far been a great year for nonprofit organizations. From really making use of virtual fundraising strategies to promoting tools such as text-to-give all year long, nonprofits are truly evolving and expanding. That being said, year-end fundraising is the most exciting and demanding time of the year. In fact, nearly one third (31%) of annual giving occurs in December. The ideal time to run your year-end campaign is now.  Do you have a plan in place to be able to tap into end-of-year giving?

When Should You Start Planning?

#GivingTuesday is an ideal kickstarter for your year-end giving campaign. The big day of giving falls on November 29 this year. That may sound like plenty of time, but it’s important to start preparing now. And the best way to prepare is to create a strategic communications plan — and stick to it! 

When you build your outreach plan, frequency is key. End-of-year is a busy time and many organizations are reaching out, too — so make sure you communicate frequently to stay top-of-mind for your supporters. Just be mindful of creating a cadence that keeps your organization top of mind without being intrusive. 

With that in mind, we recommend that you: 

  • Target 6-7 emails during the month of December. 
  • Segment your emails so that the supporters who have already donated don’t get appeal emails over and over again.
  • Send holiday greetings and best wishes that aren’t focused on giving so your donors don’t feel like they’re just being used for donations. 

Planning early can help you maintain a schedule of frequent communications and make the most of the holiday season. 

Tips and Tricks

Writing effective emails can often be more difficult than it seems. You have a very small window for capturing your supporter’s attention before they scroll past your email or delete it without opening it. While it’s not easy, it’s also not impossible. The following tips and tricks will help you improve your emails to get the attention you need for your year-end campaign. 

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1. Focus on the Subject Line


As an organization that wants maximum support and donations, i your email has to have a catchy and intriguing subject line. Note that
33% of email recipients open their emails based solely on the subject line. A good subject line doesn’t have to be long; it’s even better when it’s short and crisp. 

 

Your donors are important, as they have an undeniably huge role in the running and success of your campaign. Don’t hesitate to let your donors know that! You can start by creating personalized subject lines that grab their attention and create a connection with them personally: 

 

  • “Be our hero today, (First Name)”
  • “(First Name), your one yes is all we need”
  • “Issues cannot be solved without you, (First Name)”

 

In case you want to go for a more general subject line, include an element of oneness and team spirit. Make your audience feel as included as possible. 

  • “We’re all in this together”
  • “Let’s go save the world”
  • “It’s you and us for them”

 

Finding the right balance between attention-grabbing and informative can take some time. We recommend implementing some A/B testing in order to see what works best for your audience. Before you launch your giving campaign, send out emails with a few different styles of subject lines and track the engagement rates. Use what you learn from this to inform your year-end email strategy. 

 

When you treat an email like a conversation, you open up a whole new path to possibilities of support.

2. Think Conversation

When you treat an email like a conversation, you open up a whole new path to possibilities of support. Do not send cookie-cutter emails; try to strike up conversations. Like we mentioned in the previous point, your appeal should be more focused on your audience than on you. Treat it like a relationship where you’re always thoughtful about the other person.  A good relationship requires consideration of the other person’s perspective, feelings and emotions; this is also what you need to portray in your emails. Don’t just list a course of actions and how it will help your organization. Rather, work your audience into your story. The word “you” should be used more often in the content of your emails than the word “I,” “we,” or “us.” 

3. Make Use of Visuals

Visual storytelling is a form of communication that works great for nonprofit organizationsVisual storytelling is a form of communication that works great for nonprofit organizations. Nonprofits are about causes and good deeds, stories that inspire kind acts and generate love and affection. And what better way to tell those stories than the use of compelling images and videos? Here are some effective visual elements that you can highlight in your communication via email: 

  • Show images of the people or even animals that your nonprofit is working to help. Showcase their journey in the form of visuals, and describe how the help from your donors is going to have an impact in the lives of many. Testimonials and images of the people that you have helped can also make for a powerful visual. 
  • You can also use visuals to demonstrate the donation process, in order to make it easier for your donors. 
  • In the case of videos, you can include links to videos about how donations to your organization are really helping to make the difference!

The point here is to really touch on the emotional side of your audience. Make them feel connected to your cause by using powerful visuals.

4. Clear Calls to Action

After you’ve stated the importance of the role of your donors and connected them to your emotionally impactful story, it’s time to  get down to business. IInclude what your donors need to do next in a simple, understandable manner. Don’t just take up inbox space — ensure your outreach has a clear and actionable motive. 

 

Since you’re going to send out multiple emails during the campaign, some of your  emails for year-end fundraising are going to have an “ask” content, while others won’t. Sometimes, your Call to Action (CTA) will lead to your website, where your supporters can get more information on your cause and the impact that you’ve been successful in creating. Then there are emails with CTAs for direct donation. Provide simple and clear CTAs for your audience — such as including a single CTA button for each email — in order to avoid any kind of confusion. CTAs such as “Learn more” or “Donate Now” are quick and easy examples.

 

Emails might seem simples. But technical issues are always a possibility on each email platform.

5. Remember Your Test Runs

Emails might seem simples. But technical issues are always a possibility on each email platform. That’s why we recommend conducting test runs before you actually hit that send button. An effective email marketing campaign has to be designed for all devices; so make sure that your audience can view and read your emails on their desktop computers, mobile phones and tablets. 

 

  • Conduct a test by sending the email to your colleagues.
  • Have a technical team ready to tend to any kind of issue.
  • Put yourself in your reader’s shoes and see to it that all fonts and visuals are easy to see and read.

 

Once you’ve implemented all of these tips and tricks and run a few tests to see how they work for your audience, you’ll be on the right track for a successful email campaign to drive donations to your year-end fundraiser. 

In all of your communication emails, be specific about the giving methods that you are open to as an organization. From online and mobile giving to crowdfunding, let your audience know the different ways your nonprofit accepts donations. In case of a CTA that leads to a donation page on your website, keep a constant check on the load time of the page and its entire functioning. Boosting your fundraising efforts requires strategic planning, and year-end fundraising is no exception. And remember to thank your donors and audience whether or not they donate this time.

Patrick J. Coleman

President of GiveCentral and Coleman Group Consulting.

As a CEO to two enterprises, he is on a mission to help reduce costs and increase fundraising for all charities through ways such as mobile giving. With a diverse educational background and over 25 years of experience in operations leadership and strategic planning, he has developed a proprietary methodology that focuses on the art and science of negotiation to deliver measurable, implementable, and sustainable results. Mr. Coleman has served as Board President for Elk Grove United Way of Suburban Chicago, and as a board member of both Talkline/Kidsline and Public Action to Deliver Shelter (PADS).

Patrick J. Coleman is the President of GiveCentral and Coleman Group Consulting.

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Schedule a demo with one of our fundraising consultants. We’ll show you how the Snowball platform has benefited other nonprofit organizations, and how it can help you.

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