You have done the difficult job of setting up a fundraising drive on your website or a crowdfunding platform. In addition, you have collected a list of email addresses of previous and potential donors, and your fundraising email campaign is ready to go. All that is left to do is to send the email, and wait for the funds to start flowing in.
Before you send that fundraising email, check whether you have committed any of these fatal errors. There are three bad practices in fundraising emails that organizations routinely engage in. Your organization might be guilty of one, or all of these bad practices. But after reading this article, you will know what to avoid, and hopefully, it will make it much easier to get your fundraising emails right.
The pitfalls noted here are not the more obvious formatting and stylistic errors, such as using ALL CAPS, or using a lot of creative fonts and colors. I hope by now, you have read the FundsforNGOs guide to writing effective emails, and know how to avoid these pitfalls. Our three bad practices here relate to the content of your fundraising email.
Bad Practice #1: Failing to Prominently Feature Ways to Donate
Your fundraising email has one overarching purpose, drive donations to your NGO. The email must have a prominent link to the platform where you are collecting donations. No matter how compelling your “call to action” is, if you fail to include this link, all your hard work will have been for nothing. Many people spend so much time on the copy of their email that they are exhausted when it comes time to double-check the details. This is a really obvious one, but easy to overlook if you are not double-checking your work before sending.
Also, keep the email short. You should ensure that the link people should click appears without having to scroll through the body of the email. It might seem counter-intuitive, but it is also better to include fewer options in terms of ways to donate. Paradoxically, more choice leads to less action.
Bad Practice #2: Not Adding a Sense of Urgency
This is where it is really a good idea to borrow from time-tested sales tactics from the private sector. A sense of urgency spurs people into action. If your subject line has an element of time-sensitivity, it is more likely to get people to click and donate. Below are a number of ways you can add urgency:
- Set a goal for a certain amount to be collected over the weekend
- Ask for contributions towards a certain shipment of goods for an emergency that is supposed to go out by the end of the week.
- Arrange with a certain donor to provide matching funds for anything donated within a certain timeframe: say the next week.
- Think up some creative perks you can provide to the first few donors.
Bad Practice #3: Not Providing Easy Ways for Donors to “Share” Your Email
If your donors are converted to your cause and make a donation, it is likely that they know a few like-minded people who would be motivated to donate to your cause too. Providing an option for your new donor to share your email or your donation page (or both) with their friends is an easy way to make your fundraising drive go viral. If you do not include this, you are missing out on a serious pool of potential supporters!
Fix these simple things, and your fundraising campaign could be the next thing to go viral. Good luck!