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Neglecting your email audience could mean neglecting dollars

Production Solutions

As we approach the year-end giving season and begin to think about budgeting for 2016, it’s important to consider all your communication channels. Direct Mail, Social Media pages and your website are all critical communications and fundraising tools, but do not neglect email communication. Email continues to be the channel with the best ROI.

According to a recent Salesforce Pardot report, 69.7% of US internet users prefer email as their method of communicating with businesses. Whether you’re raising awareness or funds, email is a critical tool.

We all focus on telling compelling stories in our content to ensure donors make the connection to click through and make a gift, but there are many more factors that affect whether donors are even reading your email. Our PS Digital Producer Van Do shares his Top Five Email Tips to help get you started.

  1. Mobile First.
    40 to 60% of your audience will be looking at your email first on a mobile device. Being “mobile aware” means thinking about your end user and the desired action you would like them to take. Understanding that they are first – and often only – consuming your content on a mobile device (like a tablet or phone) enables you to create a design that scrolls easily and properly displays in mobile formats. Check out this blog from for more tips on being “Mobile Aware”.
  2. Copy is key.
    With the limited real estate, ensure your subject line and copy are short and to the point. Deliver a clear call to action expressing how important the donor is in reaching an important goal. Also remember to use a larger format text, keep in mind donors will ideally be clicking links within your text to act on your call to action. You want to make it as easy for them as possible. Highlight links with colored text, underlines or call out boxes to convey emphasis where and how you want your donor to act.
  3. Hyper-personalization.
    Your audience is used to getting marketing and political emails geared to their specific taste and preference. Your fundraising messages have to do the same to compete and be read. Hyper-personalization could mean including your donors name throughout the email, for example: “Van, your donation will put us over the halfway mark!” Hyper-personalization also includes tailoring the ask based on your specific donor. Segment out your distribution lists by giving level and speak specifically to their capacity to give. By varying – or personalizing – your communications you will build a stronger rapport with your donor pool.
  4. Keep your list clean.
    A clean list is one of a fundraiser’s best assets. The more information you can store in your online CRM platform, the easier it will be to segment your list and target your communication. According to the 2015 Nonprofit Email Deliverability survey released by EveryAction, an average of 12.9% of email being sent by nonprofits ended up in spam folders. By keeping your email lists clean and segmenting your audience you can effectively share your message with people who are more likely to open, click and respond to your call to action. If your audience isn’t engaging online, don’t depress your stats and keep emailing to them, engage them another way.
  5. Don’t treat your email list like an ATM.
    Make sure your supporters are engaged in all facets of your mission and communicate with them even when you’re not asking for money. Nothing is worse to a donor than only hearing from you when the situation is critical. Share updates, successes and new developments with your donors to help them stay engaged and feel connected to your mission. These individuals are more likely to donate again, increase their original donation and tell their friends, all because they feel like part of the solution your organization is creating.