Good ePhilanthropy Practices: Email Fundraising

An important non profit technique for ePhilanthropy is email fundraising. The first step you need to take when considering email fundraising is to find an Email Service Provider (ESP). Pathmaker Marketing LLC can help you find an appropriate ESP for your ePhilanthropy efforts. We also can help you develop and implement appropriate strategies. 

There are some basic tips I want to share that will help you evaluate the effectiveness of your non profit email fundraising and newsletters.

Good ePhilanthropy Emails

  • Speak to the reader rather than yourself. You know you’re speaking to readers when you identify the benefits of your offer to them and use the word “you” more often than the words “we” or “our.”
  • Can be skimmed. Your direct mail letters may be many pages long, but your emails need to be just a few paragraphs. Your reader needs to be able to scan the email in a few seconds and see in headlines, subheads, bold text, link text and graphics what you want them to do and why they should do it.
  • Are focused. Don’t send the reader off in too many directions. You want readers to take a specific action, so keep your email to that one ask. And give them several opportunities to click to take that action. Words like “go here” and “learn more” are better than “click here,” since “click here” could get your email sent directly to spam jail. You can use “click here” in images though.

Non-So-Good ePhilanthropy Emails

  • Are too formal. People buy from people they know, trust and like. Your readers may not know you, but you want your emails to sound like they do. You want to write your fundraising emails as if you were speaking to the reader in person. Use informal language, short sentences, and—I can’t emphasize it enough—the word YOU.
  • Bury the action step. If your readers have to read the whole email—and scroll and scroll and scroll—to know what you want from them, you’ve missed the mark and need to consider a rewrite.
  • Are confusing. And that means you’ve covered too many topics, written too long of paragraphs, or offered too many action steps. You need to stick to one topic and one action step.
  • Aren’t well designed. Don’t use the same generic templates your reader could find in their own word processing software. Invest a few bucks into a design that compliments your non profit branding materials.
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